WBW 25: Champagne

by Tim Elliott on September 13, 2006

It’s a new month and a Wednesday, so that means it’s time for another edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, our monthly virtual wine tasting. This month it’s serial WBW host Sam from Becks & Posh who picked perhaps the world’s most festive and celebrated sparkling wine, Champagne. That’s right, with a capital “C”; the real stuff from Northern France’s Champagne region, not Andre from Modesto. I have to admit I don’t drink a lot of sparkling wine, particularly in the middle of the week, but when I do it is almost always Champagne. There is something about the balance of flavor, minerality and, yes, mystique that surrounds this wine. I’ve had excellent sparking wine made in California but nothing seems to equal Champagne from a price/value relationship. So I thought it would be interesting to see how many true Champagne could be had for under $40 USD a bottle, as well as trying to get some of Sam’s “Extra Brownie Points” by staying away from the big houses. A bit of online research turned up a list of over 10 wines that appeared to meet this criteria and I was off to the wine store.

The first store I went to had a reasonable selection of Champagne including one on my shopping list, the Comte Audoin de Dampierre, Brut “Cuvee des Ambassadeurs“. I’m not sure if Comte Audoin de Dampierre would qualify as a small producer, as they export to almost 30 countries, but it is a family owned house with a 700 year tradition in winemaking. According the the history on their website, they have been making sparkling wine since the late 19th century. This wine is a 50/50 blend of chardonnay from the grand cru villages of Avize, Cramant, and Mesnil-sur-Oger and Pinot Noir from Bouzy, Ambonnay, and Cumières. It gets it’s special designation from the fact that it is served at many French embassies worldwide and the Elysée Palace (home to the French President) so it has the makings of a decent value.

Tasting Notes:

Comte Audoin de Dampierre, Brut, “Cuvee des Ambassadeurs”, Premier Cru, NV ($35) – Pale straw-green in color with vigorous and fine bubbles. Very pronounced grapefruit, fresh bread and almond aromas proceed nicely balanced and elegant citrus, yeast and mineral flavors finishing with lively acidity. A textbook Champagne, perhaps a bit dryer than most Brut, with enough flavor to match with a light entrée or enjoy with hors d’oeuvres. It’s also a great value.

12% ABV
Natural cork closure (very difficult to remove)
Score: 90
Buy this wine online

Thanks again to Sam for a festive theme this month and bringing mucho celebration into my midweek (thanks, I needed some of that). I’ll be searching for a couple more value priced Champagne for a podcast later in the fall.

  • http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/ sam

    Thanks for your entry Tim. I hope the round up, which I am just finishing off in the next couple of hours, will help spark some ideas for your planned podcast.

    Sam

  • http://winecast.net Tim

    Thanks again for hosting, Sam, and you have found the reason I will not be posting podcasts timed with WBW in the future… the group makes some great choices that will make my tasting notes ever so much better on the podcast.

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