How can we conduct a brief survey of French wines without highlighting champagne? Champagne is an experience bathed in romance. It breathes into our minds an atmosphere of excitement before it even meets the senses. Wines can do that, but none do it so convincingly as Champagne.
No where else in the world do the elements of soil, climate and latitude combine to allow a true replica of this wine. As we find in this Veuve Clicquot Brut, Champagne is vigorous and brisk while delicate and, at times, it can also be spicy. Champagne is a wine on the move, effervescing and tickling the tongue while it dances around the palette, stimulating our gustatory cells and creating immediate emotional delight. (Wine is emotion in a glass! Remember?)
A racy attack, with verve, seeks to hide the gossamer aromas and flavors. Apple and lemon dominate in this one. A chalky texture that is not offensive but feels like it belongs to the wine confirms our expectations of Champagne’s expression of its terroir. Firm acids create a vibrant freshness. A biscuity note hangs around the edges of the flavors.
I’m enjoying this glass with oysters. Their brininess marries well with the chalkiness of the Champagne and the lemon livens and frees the richness of the oysters.
The glass is warming up now and acids have tamed somewhat, as they do with rising temperature. The evening is warm with a whispering breeze, but soon the air will chill at this high altitude and reflect the vibrancy of the champagne. The mental world Champagne creates and in which we enjoy it so much is ethereal. The real world fades and the virtual world of thoughts and feelings emerges as I sip.
Some Champagnes are full and bold, such as Bollinger, but this one expounds the meaning of delicacy, freshness and nerve.
Emotional rating: Stimulating and, at the same time, reflective.