Category Archives: Champagne

NV Pierre Paillard Les Maillerettes Bouzy Blanc de Noirs

NV Pierre Paillard Les Maillerettes Bouzy Blanc de Noirs

colonelgrape: 92. It’s no secret that I’ve done a complete 180 on Champagne from earlier this year. I’m now a huge fan and love banc de noir….this bottle is no exception. Doing some research it’s the first and second press of a 0.8 acre section of Pierre Paillard’s Grand Cru vineyard so a limited edition wine. I tried to squeeze the glass into the photo so you can appreciate the golden color, it’s darker and fuller looking than other Champagnes. The visual translates to the nose and palate. Citrus, bread, apples, and chalk. I really enjoyed the balance betwen minerality, acidity, and fruit. The finish was incredibly long and smooth. More body than a blanc de blancs. If you aren’t sure of the difference between a classic blanc de noir and blanc de blanc Champagne taste this side by side with a blanc de blancs and compare them. I probably would have rated this higher if we opened it with a better food pairing.

MobyGrape: 85. Unless it’s complete crap, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that I’m going to give champagne a good review.  Lucky for me, the Colonel doesn’t buy crap, that’s really my domain.  I’m learning I’m a big fan of these blanc de noirs, they tend to not be overly tart or apple juice tasting (since I seem to think a lot of champagnes taste like that).  We had it with buttery delicious scallops because we couldn’t find another white in the house (real tough problem to have, I know) and it worked just fine.  Score another one for champagne!

NV Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve

NV Bereche & Fils Brut Reserve



We decided to celebrate the end of Breaking Bad with an episode of Champagne Meets Sushi. We decided to go with a decent bottle from our most recent trip to Wine Library and had a great evening. Recently we’ve cleared out space for 4-5 bottles in our fridge to have some pre-chilled white options at all times. I’d really recommend doing this even if you don’t drink white regularly…it’s much easier than trying to speed chill in the freezer or a bucket.

colonelgrape: 85. This is a classic blend but the color is more of a blanc de noir, more of a dark gold/amber. Nice carbonation and pleasing to the eye, nose full of apples, citrus and vanilla. Brisk, zesty, and full bodied on the palate. Crisp, refreshing, and elegant finish. Very well structured wine with fruit, earth and body from nose to finish. To me the only flaw was the slighly overpowering apple flavor, I would have liked a little more balance with the fruits.

MobyGrape: 86. Applesauce colored, a little apple tasting, I don’t know why I tend to get that from some champagnes but I do.  It wasn’t offensively bubbly, paired well with sushi (shocker), and it certainly made facing the end of Breaking Bad a little easier.  Much like the ending itself, it didn’t totally blow me away, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but at the end of the day I was ok with it.

2008 Marc Hebrart “Special Club” Brut


Not much to recap in June as we stuck with some old favorites. However we recently filmed another episode of Champagne Meets Sushi and our guest star was “Special Club” bottle of 2008 Marc Hebrart. We tried a new Japanese restaurant in Sudbury called Fugakyu and were impressed with the sushi quality and prices.

The Club Tresors de Champagne is a group of Champagne growers that orgainzed in 1971 in order to present their best offerings in a unique way. All the producers grow their own grapes and the wines are all put into the same bottle with each wine maker putting their own label on the bottle. These wines are generally fantastic with subtle differences due to the terrior, village location, and grape blends. More information can be found at their website:

colonelgrape: 95. I thought this was an outstanding bottle of Champagne. It was bursting with flavor and you could really taste the Pinot Noir. On the nose it almost had a little brett smell to it but that didn’t translate to the palate. It had some interesting fruit notes, apple being the most prominent, but also hints of red fruit. These Special Club wines are all about terrior and you could really taste it in this bottle. The minerality was perfect, almost like a nice Loire Valley white.  I really like Champagnes that have a good percentage of Pinot Noir, it gives them better body and longer finishes than 100% Chardonnay examples. The fruit and acidity from the Chardonnay balances out the wine. I prefer wines in the 50-80% Pinot Noir range.

MobyGrape: 93:  I thought this tasted like apple juice.  It wasn’t juicy sweet at all, but it definitely had an apple flavor to it.  And it wasn’t bad, like when people substitute applesauce for oil in brownies and whatnot.  I don’t care what your granola friends say, it does not taste the same, you most definitely can tell the difference, and it sucks.  Stop ruining junk food.  I don’t know if a few grapes were swapped out with Granny Smiths but whatever happened in this champagne was a good thing.  Not what I expected, but a most pleasant surprise

flag eagle

Happy 4th of July!

Dinner Grape Style Part II

The gang was back together again at Aunt and UncleGrape’s house on Saturday night for another spectacular dinner. We were joined by CousinGrapette, BoyfriendGrape, as well as SisterGrape who took a trip from school to join us. Fresh off our trips to Union Square, Eataly, and of course the Wine Library we got to work on dinner. Here was our menu:

Appetizers: Smoked duck breast, wild boar salami, goat cheese with rosemary olive sourdough bread, daikon radish with hummus or spicy brown mustard and Hawaiin volcano sea salt.

Main Course: Roasted boneless leg of lamb infused with garlic and rubbed with spicy brown mustard.

Dessert: Italian cookies with pistachio cream spread and assorted chocolates.

NV Guy Larmandier Champagne2011 Gilbert Picq Chablis

With the appetizers we decided to go with French whites. We started with the NV Guy Larmandier 1er Cru Champagne which was crisp, light, refreshing and had just the right amount of bubbles. That was followed by the 2011 Gilbert Picq Chablis which was similar to the Champagne w/o the carbonation. I probably favored the Champagne over the Chablis and Moby did for sure. I learned that Vielles Vignes means old vines after I butchered trying to say it in front of UncleGrape who speaks fluent French. While the duck  and boar probably could have stood up to a light red the whites went well with everything. The duck was tender with just the right amount of smoke and the boar had an interesting sweetness to go along with good texture. The goat cheese paired well with the bread for a creamy mouthful of food. The daikon was very interesting…to me it tasted like a crunch wafer made of mushrooms and onion but it worked well with the smooth hummus and red volcano salt. All the appetizers were promptly destroyed and it was time to move onto the main course.

April 2013 NJ CdP

Since I got my hands on some 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel recently I brought a bottle and we decided to go a horizontal tasting of 1995 Chateauneuf du Pape.

1. 1995 Domaine de Beaurenard Boisrenard

2. 1995 Chateau de Beaucastel

3. 1995 Domaine de la Janasse

We started the meal a little bit later than anticipated because we didn’t realize the lamb was still partially frozen in the center. Not a problem for the Grape family as we had plenty of wine to keep us busy. We started with the Boisrenard which was surprisingly still tight. UncleGrape explained that 1995’s were historically tight but while it still had solid fruit coming through a bunch of us thought this was a bit too tight still. I’d love to try it again in 5-10 years.

We then moved on to the Beaucastel which had a very distinct old bandaid smell to it. Sounds appetizing right? It was delicious! UncleGrape filled us in on the smell…it’s called “brett”. Brett is a type of yeast called Brettanomyces that can be found on the skin of fruit and therefore in wine. Small amounts of brett are generally regarded as good for the flavor of the wine however large amounts can cause problems. That being said the Beaucastel was very bretty. AuntGrape is notorious for loving bretty wines so it’s no surprise she loved it the most. We enjoyed it too and it was an educational experience.

Lastly we had the Janasse. Our last trip we had the 2000 which was good but not the best of the night however I’d argue for the 95 taking the show this time. I thought it had the most balance but not everyone agreed with me.

We couldn’t come to a consensus on the Chateauneuf like we did last time with the 2000 Charvin stealing the show. Here’s how we ranked them:

colonelgrape: 3-2-1

MobyGrape: 3-1-2

UncleGrape: 1-2-3

AuntGrape (brett lover): 2-3-1

Since Moby and I write the blog we’re going to declare the Janasse the winner but it was a split decision for sure. The one thing we all agreed on though is that the 1989 Parusso Bussia Barolo was the wine of the weekend. The Chateauneuf was great but the Barolo outclassed them all.

Cocchi Barolo Chinato

Last but not least AuntGrape treated us all to a very rare (and previously illegal in the United States) Italian digestif…Cocchi Barolo Chinato. Having never heard of it Moby and I were all in. We learned that Barolo Chinato is a standard barolo infused with spices and most importantly quinine which why it was illegal in the United States as that’s a drug found in prescription medications! The spices and quinine give it a gin like, piney taste to go along with some sweetness. On it’s own we weren’t huge fans but when paired with dark chocolate it was spectacular. Something about the combination worked wonders. We  also had the Italian cookies and pistachio cream spread which was crazy good. The spread was a honey like consistency but had a sweetness to go along with the strong pistachio taste. We liked the wine much better with the chocolate than the cookies and spread but we both would have eaten the spread right out of the jar it was that good.

We concluded our trip next morning by making breakfast with the duck, turkey, and pheasant eggs which was great. The duck was probably the most different having a huge yolk and slightly different texture, the others tasted similar to a chicken egg just different sizes. We learned about brett and Barolo Chinato, had great food, great wine, and spent time with family so all in all it was a great trip. Keep an eye out for that 1989 Parusso!!!

Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs Brut NV


In this episode of Champagne meets Sushi our guest star is a non-vintage Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs Brut. Blanc de Blancs meaning this is made from 100% white wine grapes unlike the Baron featured last time. Last time we went to the restaurant and brought the wine however this time we brought the sushi home and honestly it was just as good. The ambiance is nice at the restaurant and it’s fun to watch it made but the $20 corkage fee isn’t fun…and most places won’t even allow you to BYOB. We had spicy tuna/salmon and crispy rice salad (amazing) along with our standard fare: Sake, Maguro, Toro, Hamachi, a few specialty rolls, and some spicy salmon hand rolls. All of it was excellent…onto the wine:

colonelgrape: 81. Another bottle from Wine Library…I didn’t like this one as much as the Baron d’Auvergne. I think what I’m learning is that I prefer Brut de Noir over Brut de Blancs…it just has more depth to it. That being said this was still delicious with the sushi. Nothing goes with sushi like champagne…except maybe a well made mai tai or top shelf sake. This bottle was around $35 and a decent value but I think $50 for the Baron was better. On the palate it was very light and fruit forward with pears, apples, and floral notes. I was surprised how light it was, much lighter than the Baron. I think it would earn higher marks if I were more into Blanc de Blancs.

MobyGrape: 83.  As a belated Valentine’s day dinner (i.e. an excuse to have nice wine and food), champagne and sushi to the rescue!  I may need to start monitoring my mercury levels because I can’t get enough.  I’m now totally convinced sushi is the yin to champagne’s yang.  Although it was delicious with the meal, as hard as I try I’m just not a brut gal.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t say no to a glass (or 3/4 bottle) of it, this was certainly fizzy and refreshingly tart, but deep down, I love me some sweeter bubbly.

I have 3 more bottles of Champagne on their way so stay tuned for the next episode of Champagne meets Sushi.