At a dinner that is part of my dear friend Marika Vida-Arnold’s Phenomenal Femmes series at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park, I tasted a slew of great wines from one of my favorite Champagne houses Ruinart, presented by their lovely chef de caves Amélie Chattin. An absolute favorite was the 2002 Dom Ruinart Rosé, for its rich, exotic profile. So I thought I’d write about it in this week’s column for Departures.com.
A visit to the French region of Champagne, visiting houses and growers, caves and restaurants, offers a little glimpse into the places that make these very specific wines. With their somber countenance and chic looks, the Champenois embody the seriousness with which Champagne is produced and marketed. No region in world is known so much for such internationally acclaimed brands, whose producers seek to create the same quality and style of wine year in and year out. They painstakingly blend grapes and vintages for the perfect base wine, and then they wait. The patience that is required to make these wines, letting some age for up to ten years, is the ultimate expression of refinement. Continue reading
There’s something inherently special about a glass of sparkling wine, and all the more so if it’s toasting a romantic evening. But the magic isn’t just in the sipping: these wines almost always have an interesting story to tell about their creation, too, especially when the grapes in question aren’t white. I’ve always been especially curious about the treatment of the red grapes of Champagne—pinot noir and pinot meunier—whether quickly pressed and made into white wine or left on the skins, their pink juices mixed in later on. Although many common sparkling wines are white, I’ve been seeing more and more bottles that use red grapes, from the more traditional red pinots to indigenous varieties like grolleau. Here are some of the more interesting (and delicious!) sparkling reds and rosés I’ve come across recently, just in time for the iconic colors of Valentine’s Day. Continue reading
Possibly one of my favorite New Year’s Eve memories is a house party in Brooklyn with dear friends, fancy outfits, even fancier food, and Champagne — in fact, a bottle of Champagne, not Prosecco or Cava or any other sparkler, was your ticket in. What started as a tasting exercise (and way to obliterate the memory of the lobster that just would not die) turned into a raucous good time in the early hours of 2010. Continue reading