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Farrah 1976 There is no more awkward age than 7th grade.  The though of it still makes me squirm a little, more than 30 years later. I was that age in 1976 when Farrah was the pinnacle of pop culture.  Every boy in my class had the iconic Farrah pin-up poster and most of the girls had some sort of...

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Susan Simon Spring Wine Dinner…

Posted by admin | Posted in Culture, currentVintage, Food, Nantucket, Wine | Posted on 23-05-2012

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currentVintage was featured in two articles in Nantucket’s Inquirer & Mirror this week (05/17/12 Nantucket Wine Festival issue). Under the heading “Celebrating the Fruit of the Vine”,  one article was an interview by Assistant Editor Josh Balling on how to host a stellar wine tasting at home.  The second was an article by food & lifestyle writer Susan Simon that included recipes for an Italy-flavored spring wine dinner and suggested wine pairings by currentVintage.  Here is the Susan Simon menu…if you would like the recipes, stop by cV or pick the I&M.  Saluté!

Gorgonzola with Fennel Seeds on Toast:
cV Suggested Pairing:

Bella Vista Franciacorta NV (Lombardy) – a top champagne-quality sparkling wine from the Italian Alps.  Its toasty complexity with a touch of salinity would be perfect with the gorgonzola. $50

Roasted Asparagus with Mustard-Chive Vinaigrette, Radishes
cV Suggested Pairing:

Terlano Sauvingon “Winkl” 2010 (Alto Adige) – über sharp, crisp and minerally and ever so slightly herbal which should complement the tricky asparagus and vinaigrette. $28

Stewed Loin of Pork with Wine and Grappa
Parsley and Parmesan Rice

cV Suggested Pairing:

Caven “Messere” Sforzato di Valtellina  2003 (100% Nebbiolo, Lombardy) – a velvety yet structured wine made from hand-selected grapes that are dried for several weeks before pressing making it a voluptuous match to the sweet and savory flavors of the pork, and rice. $56

Strawberries Poached in Orange Juice with Cardamom,  Simple Sugar Cookies
Elvio Tintero Moscato d’Asti 2011 (Piedmont) – light and effervescent with lovely, crisp fruit.  An ideal companion to the strawberries. $15

For the entire article, click here

For the Inquirer & Mirror piece “Simple tips for hosting a stellar in home wine tasting”, click here

Check out Susan’s wonderful food & lifestyle blog:  SusanSimonSays.com

Champagne Odyssey: Veuve Clicquot

Posted by admin | Posted in Culture, currentVintage, Food, Nantucket, travel, Wine | Posted on 14-05-2012

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White glove courtesy at Veuve Clicquot

White glove courtesy at Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Cliquot has over 400 still wines in reserve to use in the intricate composition of its flagship Yellow label champagne

Veuve Cliquot has over 400 still wines in reserve to use in the intricate composition of its flagship Yellow label champagne

In October 2011, I was invited to Champagne by Veuve Clicquot, along with 3 champagne-o-phile friends from Nantucket.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we did not waste a minute from the moment our chauffered car arrived…Day 1 was sightseeing and tastings with grower champagnes Pierre Peters and Rene Geoffroy;  Day 2 was a lavish luncheon at Veuve Clicquot & a tasting + dinner with Ruinart;  Day 3 was Piper-Heidsieck & lunch in Reims before our happy, bubbly-filled bellies departed for Beaune.

The VCP hospitality was most grande pour les dames!  Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of my 2+ week trip to France was our time spent with Dominique Demarville, Cellar Master of Veuve Clicquot.   It’s hard to say which was more interesting–the tasting of still wines with Dominique in the lab or the magnificent luncheon in our honor at Clicquot’s newly renovated Hotel du Marc.  We started with La Grande Dame 2004 and hors d’oeuvres in the study and, mon Dieu, it was “pinch me” at every course.  The wines, the food, the company, the sumptuous surroundings, the engaging conversation–it was an epic occasion.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words…

A tasting of still wines including the 2011 vintage of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and numerous others, including a remarkably vibrant 1988 Cramant Grand Cru

A tasting of still wines including the 2011 vintage of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and numerous others, including a remarkably vibrant 1988 Cramant Grand Cru

Grafitti covered bottles of La Grand Dame

Grafitti covered bottles of La Grand Dame

Hôtel du Marc luncheon with Dominique Demarville

Hôtel du Marc luncheon with Dominique Demarville

VCP luncheon at Hotel du Marc

VCP luncheon at Hotel du Marc

Decanting (!) into Baccarat

Decanting (!) into Baccarat

1980!!

1980!!

Susan Handy, proprietor of The Chanticleer, Nantucket

Susan Handy, proprietor of The Chanticleer, Nantucket

Foosball at Veuve Clicquot

Foosball at Veuve Clicquot

Epic luncheon at Veuve Clicquot

Epic luncheon at Veuve Clicquot

La Grande Dame 2004 with Dominique Demarville

La Grande Dame 2004 with Dominique Demarville

Veuve Clicquot's Hotel du Marc

Veuve Clicquot's Hotel du Marc

Menu of an epic luncheon...

Menu of an epic luncheon...

Crayeres of Veuve Clicquot

Crayeres of Veuve Clicquot

Vintage champagne crates at Veuve Clicquot

Vintage champagne crates at Veuve Clicquot

Fun at Veuve Clicquot:)

Fun at Veuve Clicquot:)

Time for a cold bottle at Veuve Clicquot

Time for a cold bottle at Veuve Clicquot

Amazing graphics at Veuve Clicquot

Amazing graphics at Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot stairway of vintages

Veuve Clicquot stairway of vintages

Champagne Odyssey: Grower Champagnes

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Nantucket, travel, Wine | Posted on 10-05-2012

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Champagne Crossing

Champagne Crossing

In October, I flew overnight to France, where I met up with 3 champagne-savvy friends from Nantucket and off we sped to the city of Reims for an epic Champagne adventure…We dropped our bags at Hotel du la Paix and Carlos, our driver, delivered us to La Banque in Epernay, for a bit of sustenance for our impending journey.

Le déjeuner

Le déjeuner

It was only 6am Eastern Time and I was deliriously tired, but, when in Rome…we had champagne with lunch.  Fortified in more ways than one, we were ready for our first appointment in the Valle de la Marne, with Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy of Champagne House RENE GEOFFROY, a grower-producer in in Ay.

Nantucket girls with Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy

Nantucket girls with Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy

The Geoffroy family established their champagne house in the 17th century, yet even with such a legacy of tradition, Jean-Baptiste is an innovator.  J-B showed us the rather un-embellished facility, which included a cool old-school wooden press and a fully automated bottling line, and then the important work of champagne tasting through the seven cuvées began…including two stellar and distinctly different Rosés–different from each other and from most other champagnes!  Neither is a blend, as is traditional in Champagne;  one is a rosé de saignée, made from bleeding off the juice during the maceration of pinot noir grapes.

Geoffroy Blanc de Rose

Geoffroy Blanc de Rose

The other, “Blanc de Rose”, is a one of a kind–a maceration of pinot noir and chardonnay, together in the same tank. The marriage of the chardonnay and pinot noir juices in contact with the skins of the two varietals is a first of its kind in Champagne!  The former (available at currentVintage) is a serious and seductive wine, deserving of a fine food pairing;  the latter is fresher and lighter, although far from simple–a lovely summer sipper.  The other bottlings we tried were various blends of the three champagne varietals:  Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.  Making champagne, even more so than wine, is equal parts chemistry and artistry.  This “business” of tasting just doesn’t get old!

Rodolphe Peters, 4th generation winemaker

Rodolphe Peters, 4th generation winemaker

From there, Carlos ferried us down to Champagne Pierre Peters in Le Mesnil sur Oger.  There, the story is Grand Cru chardonnay.  The wines are pure and sophisticated;  they stood in equally complex but delightful contrast to the blends at Geoffroy.   Rodolphe Peters, a fourth generation winemaker (and seventh generation grower), hosted our visit.  It began routinely, with polite introductions, but soon our enthusiasm for bubbles sent him back to the cellar for bottle after bottle–including an enchanting mystery wine, which we happily puzzled over (a golden, honeyed 1990!).  The champagnes at Pierre Peters include from 14-20 vintages of still wine, however the goal is to produce a wine that speaks of the vintage, rather than a house style.  It was fascinating sampling two cuvees from the same four plots only a year apart.  One was tart, lithe & sexy, the other smoky with cinnamon spice.  The % of each vineyard varied significantly, as well as the dosage, but the side by sides were still an excellent example in what the different plots bring to the ultimate blend and the influence of Mother Nature.  The blanc des blancs at Peters were all weighty & yeasty, but not at all dense.  They had a lightness that was counter-intuitive to the first sip.  Rodolphe was full of pithy quotes and I could hardly scribble them fast enough…He said, “My best job is in the vineyard, not in the cellar”, referring to the importance of growing.  “Champagne is white wine made with red berries.  We are not looking for the same maturity as Burgundy.”–(This from a chardonnay grower).  “Behind every wine, there is a soil and a local man who makes it”.  And thus is the point of “Grower Champagnes”.  From vineyard to lab to cellar to bottle, these are hands-on, nurtured, cultivated & crafted expressions of place with a kiss of winemaker style.

Rodolphe said ‘you have to walk alone’–a path happily more and more growers seem to be following.  To be continued…!

Nantucket girls being tourists

Nantucket girls being tourists

Dom Perignon Tombstone

Dom Perignon Tombstone

Original label art by Jean-Baptiste's wife

Original label art by Jean-Baptiste's wife

Lab at Geoffroy

Lab at Geoffroy

Temps at Geoffroy

Temps at Geoffroy

Bottling in action

Bottling in action

Pierre Peters

Pierre Peters

Ready to ship to cV

Ready to ship to cV

By appt only

By appt only

Press at Rene Geoffroy

Press at Rene Geoffroy

IMG_8093

Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy

corks at Pierre Peters

corks at Pierre Peters

Champagne Pierre Peters

Champagne Pierre Peters

Cramant

Cramant

Fall in Champagne

Fall in Champagne