Friday, December 28, 2012

Choosing CHAMPAGNE for New Year's by Philip S. Kampe

Choosing Champagne for New Year’s  by Philip S. Kampe

What a better way to usher in the New Year than to open a bottle of the real stuff, which, we all know is Champagne.
Yes, I love Prosecco, Cava and Cremant, but the thrill of pouring a real bottle of Champagne on this special occasion seems like the only thing to do.
Especially this year.
We all have had a tough 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. We need to relax for a night and  enjoy the crisp, lively, bubbly flavor of Champagne.
Few categories of wine, and few products in general, have a more prestigious reputation than Champagne. As a true lover of the ‘bubbly’, I have found one company that consistently, in all price categories, stands above the rest.
That company is Nicolas Feuillatte, one of France’s newest and best vineyards.
Nicolas Feuillatte was established in 1972 with the acquisition of a 25 acre vineyard in Bouleuse, located in the Ardre Valley in Champagne.
The company history is new compared to the century’s old Champagne houses that exist near Reims. But, the quality and finesse of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne is equal to or often surpasses its rivals.
In 1976 Nicolas Feuillatte created ‘Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte’. Since its inception, today’s portfolio has grown to 17 Champagne varieties that are sold in the market, both vintage and non-vintage (NV). 
David Henault has been the chief winemaker since 2011. He follows the successful winemaker, Jean-Pierre Vincent, who was Nicolas Feuillatte’s winemaker from the first vintage in 1976 to 2011.
David Henault worked with Jean-Pierre Vincent for seven years before taking the position.
I was fortunate enough to attend a tasting led by David Henault and realize why he would be an obvious choice. He has vision, clarity and knowledge that is rare a for a young winemaker at such a large Champagne house.
Nicolas Feuillatte created the Champagne brand.
Nicolas said, ‘ Champagne is a modern wine with a touch of soul tied to its history’. Many critics proclaim, including myself, that Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne is ‘Wine with Bubbles’.
Several years ago I hosted a New Years Day Party and poured six Nicolas Feuillatte Champagnes at a blind tasting for our guests. The guests included numerous wine shop owners, buyers and friends that certainly know more than I know about Champagne.
They have been in the business for many years and their palate was in tune.
The result was expected.
None of the guests guessed correctly that what they were tasting was Nicolas Feuillatte. When I announced what they were drinking, they were in shock—I call it denial.
They did not realize that a business that began with a first vintage in 1976 can taste as good as the old-Champagne houses in Reims.
Nicolas Feuillatte does.
My recommendations for New Years and other times follow those of the company.

The MUST HAVES are suited for every palate and every occasion:
Brut, Brut Grande Reserve, Brut Reserve, Brut Rose and Demi-Sec.

The REFINED are for the discerning palate in search of purity, authenticity and excellence.
Brut Vintage, Brut Chardonnay Vintage, Brut Extrem and Cuvee Speciale Vintage/

PALMES d’OR is the ‘Diva of Champagne’. Aged six years and wonderful.
Palmes d’Or Brut Vintage 1999 and Palmes ‘Or Rose Vintage 2005

LIMITED EDITION are bottles that are dedicated to the city and represent the materials of today and the bygone age. Each bottle is unique visually.
City Spirit 2012 (Concrete décor on bottle) and City Spirit 2012 (Brick décor on bottle)

The Champagnes of Nicolas Feuillatte are exciting and a good value in today’s market.

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