They made a delicious accompaniment to the Bouchard Champagne. Made from 100% Pinot Noir this is an insanely delicious wine. It is a champagne that needs to be drunk from a large Burgundy or Claret glass to appreciate its complexity and vibrancy. Like any great wine, it evolves in the glass so that each sip is a new and breathtaking experience. This young maverick of a wine maker does not follow the usual convention of blending different grapes from different vineyards as well as the juice from different vintages to make champagne. Instead his champagnes are made from a single varietal (Pinot Noir or Chardonnay), from a single vineyard, and single vintage cuveés. To quote importer Polaner’s web site “Each wine is made only from juice from the first pressing, fermented only with indigenous yeast and handled meticulously in the cellar to guarantee the finest wines possible”. Treat yourself to a bottle. About $65 at Amanti Vino, Montclair, NJ; Chambers Street Wines, NYC, and 56º Wine, Bearnardsville, NJ.
As our glasses emptied and I had not yet prepared the Shrimp with Herbs appetizer, I uncorked a 2002 Huet Petillant Reserve ( a great year for Hute wines) for our guests to enjoy while I got busy in the kitchen. This sparkling wine, one of two made by Huet, was brilliant and stood up well to the Bouchard. The wine was rich and displayed great focus and a vibrant acidity. We did not finish the bottle, so I put the cork in and put it in the refrigerator and promptly forgot it was there. I noticed it 7 days layer and decided to try it. Upon removing the cork it had a slight pop and when I poured it into the glass, it was loaded tiny effervescing bubbles. I tasted it...wow! It was still vibrant and wonderful. Considering the quality of Huet wines and how well they age, I was not surprised. I selfishly finished the bottle.
Winemaker, Noel Pinguet, makes two Champagne style wines with the Chenin Blanc grape. There is a Mousseux bottling made in the méthode traditionelle, i.e. a bottling made à la Champagne, a vin clair bottled with yeast and sugar for the second fermentation. In the other method, methode ancestrale, the wine is bottled before the primary fermentation is finished, the result being a lower pressure sparkling wine - the pétillant style - because only a portion of the fermentation occurs within the bottle. Although it is not strictly necessary to add anything when bottling, winemaker Noel Pinguet favors the addition of yeast to ensure the fermentation progresses smoothly. This wine should age for decades. The 2002 should be available and will cost you about $40. The 2007 vintage (normal, not the reserve) can be found at Wine Legend, Livingston, NJ for under $30 a bottle.
With our appetizer I opened my only bottle of 1959 Le Huet Lieu Vouvray Demi Sec and immediately wished I had more bottles. It possessed a gorgeous translucent yellow hue and absolutely soared from the glass. It was pristine and pure on the palate with a long elegant finish. At 53 years of age, this wine still has many years in front of it. It will be very hard to find and on the expensive side. However 56º Wine, Bearnardsville has the 2002 and 2009 at about $40 a bottle.
|Weeds & Sausage|
Just last week the Soldera wine cellar was vandalized and 6 vintages (2007 thru 2012) were completely drained from their large Slovanian oak barrels. While the wine was insured, the wine world has been deprived of these vintages. I would imagine that current vintages, already expensive, will soar in value.
For dessert there was a delicious homemade (not mine) Zuppa Inglese (English Trifle), which we enjoyed with 2006 Chateau Dereszla Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos. This wine from Hungry is one of the great dessert wines of the world. The primary grape variety used in a Tokaji blend is Furmint, which account for around two-thirds of the Tokaj region’s total vineyard area. It is a high-quality grape, with plenty of natural acidity, which helps ensure the longevity of Tokaji wines. It is also very susceptible to the all-important botrytis rot that is responsible for producing Aszu (dried grapes) for use in the prized sweet wines of the region. A round and delicious dessert wine that exhibited a terrific light golden hue, was full-bodied with wonderful complexity. At $60 a bottle, it would make a great addition to anyone’s cellar.