Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Debate a Bubble - Blanc de Blancs Champagne - The Greatest Aperitif in The World?

Debate a Bubble - Blanc de Blancs Champagne - The Greatest Aperitif in The World?

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

Blanc de Blancs Champagne - The Greatest Aperitif in The World?

Posted: 07 Apr 2010 02:13 AM PDT

Tasting at Corbon If you're reading this article the chances are that you're already a champagne lover and that for you the best way to start a special evening is with a glass of champagne. Well, normally I'd agree with you 110% but what if you could go one better?

The perfect aperitif could just be Blanc de Blancs champagne.

If you've never tried Blanc de Blancs then you're in for a real treat and below you'll find out why.

For those of you who already love this particular type of champagne then as you read on you'll find a few things that will give you even more enjoyment.

First, what is Blanc de Blancs Champagne?

Well champagne can be made with 3 grape varieties: two are black grapes – Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The other one is a white grape: Chardonnay. Usually the 3 varieties are blended together to produce a 'classic' style champagne with both a full, round flavour and also a hint of acidity to provide balance.

On the other hand, a Blanc de Blancs champagne is made just with Chardonnay grapes. Those of you who remember your French will know that this means white from white (i.e. white wine from white grapes).

Chardonnay from the Champagne region is everything that you'd expect from a white grape grown so far north. Believe it or not, Champagne is on the same latitude as much of the US-Canada border. It's fresh and minerally with a lovely, lively zing that is often reminiscent of citrus fruit, green apple or watermelon.

 For a comparison think of Chablis which is also made with Chardonnay and is not too far from the Champagne region.

So why does that makes Blanc de Blancs such a great aperitif?

Well, Blanc de Blancs is almost always dry and the light style plus the slight edge of acidity means that your taste buds really get a wake-up call and if you're going to have a meal later then a Blanc de Blancs champagne is ideal to put you really in the mood for food.

Blanc de Blancs can sometimes be recognised by its colour: just a touch paler than champagne with black grapes in it, but despite this youthful appearance Chardonnay needs a good few years to reach its best; in my view at least 3 years and preferably 5 or more.

By that time it will have taken on all the lovely yeasty, bready aromas that are the marks of great champagnes, plus hints of honey and hazelnuts.That's why Blanc de Blancs is more versatile than just an aperitif.

Older Blanc de Blancs are  a wonderful accompaniment to a whole range of fish and poultry dishes and because of their relatively high acidity, they go perfectly with quite rich dishes that need a wine that can cut through a high fat content and still retain its delicate flavours.

Many people in Champagne say that Blanc de Blancs is the 'real' champagne but whether you agree or disagree you owe it to yourself to try it sometime.

Few of the big-name brands make a Blanc de Blancs, Krug Clos du Mesnil and Salon being two notable exceptions, but you'll find many first class champagnes amongst the smaller producers.

Côte des Blancs

Some of the best come from the area known as La Côte des Blancs just south of the town of Epernay.

Here are just  six that are worth looking out for

Franck Bonville, Agrapart, De Sousa, Corbon, Pascal Doquet, Leclaire

There are lots more to discover, so happy hunting!

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