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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Annual Champagne Tasting at Christie's New York


On Monday (August 31st), I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Champagne Tasting at Christie's New York. What a great experience it was!
Organized by the Institute of Masters of wine (of which I’m a 2nd year student), it had the perfect combination for a tasting: great people and outstanding wines.


The total of Champagnes served was 126 and I have to admit that I miserably failed to taste all of them… In my defense, however, I was given only 2 hours, important conversations happened, and notes had to be taken in the process. But for all of you who are disappointed with my performance, I promise that next year I’ll try harder to be more prolific.

The wines were divided into several categories: Extra Brut (6), Blanc de Blancs (21), Non-Vintage (40), Rosé (31), Vintage (21), and Dosé (7). They were placed in ice buckets on several tables and each guest had the opportunity to taste the wines at their own pace.


I was asked a few times which one was my favorite of the day and each and every time I had to give the same cliché type of answer: “there are too many great Champagnes here to pick only one”. Cliché or not, it was true! But that doesn’t mean that I could not pick a few favorites to share my tasting notes here (three that I remember that I didn’t spit):

Krug ‘Grande Cuvée’ NV – Layers of toasty and nutty flavors with lots of spiciness and notes of ripe apple on this great wine. Big and intense mid-palate. Very, very long finish. Classic Krug.

Alfred Gratien ‘Blanc des Blancs’ NV: Pale green-gold. This glorious wine is vinified in oak (lots of spices and coconut), but shows also a lot of the Chardonnay fruit in the mouth (lemon and minerality) with toasty notes reverberating in the mouth. Extremely long finish.

Charles Heidsieck ‘Blanc des Millenaires’ 1995: The oldest vintage of the tasting. This wonderful wine (which was poured from a decanter) had a very nice autolytic character, with notes of citrus and apple. Incredible intensity on the palate and a very, very long and pleasant finish.

Well, if you have a chance to go next year… don’t miss it!
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