with Amy Reiley
This time of year, I’m typically hired to write about rosé. It is THE wine of summer these days. And that’s wonderful. I love rosé. It’s made from red wine grapes removed from the skin so that the resulting wine is generally light and crisp–perfect for summer. So why should you drink Champagne in summer when the rosé is plentiful?
Champagne is also generally crisp and refreshing and, in my humble opinion, sparkling wine is the most fun wine style around. And don’t you want to have some fun this summer?
Some great reasons (excuses) to drink Champagne in summer
If you’re thinking that you can’t drink Champagne unless it’s a special occasion, think again. In fact, I challenge you to stop right now and go chill a bottle to drink today. Champagnes tend to be food-friendly wines. I will happily enjoy Champagne with everything from popcorn to Thai food to barbecue. It tends to have great acidity, part of what makes it refreshing. Another reason to drink Champagne in summer is because it’s lower in alcohol than many wines made today, which is great if you want to have a glass and accomplish anything afterward. (This is part of the reason Champagne is such a popular choice for brunch.) And don’t forget, Champagne is a powerful aphrodisiac!
Now, I should clarify that when I suggest that Champagne is perfect for summer, I include other sparkling wines like Cremant, Cava and American sparkling wine. But it happens that I’ve been doing a lot of Champagne tasting of late, so those are the wines I’m featuring in this month’s recommendation. These wines are all a little bit off the beaten path. But I think that all three are wines worth seeking out to make this summer a memorable one. (Incidentally, the wines I’m recommending in this month’s column were ones I discovered at Effervescence LA, Los Angeles first Champagne festival–and an even worth adding to your calendar for next year.)
NV Agrapart & Fils Terroirs Extra Brut
A small, environmentally conscious winery, Agrapart favors traditional techniques and old vines. The Terroirs Extra Brut is unquestionably the most interesting bottle of bubbly I’ve tried in years. A funky wine with a lot of personality, it’s a bright, almost energizing drink. It offers crisp apple flavors and a hint of salinity that makes the mouth water for more.
NV Andre Clouet Brut Nature Silver
Another small, family-run Champagne house, Andre Couet is as much remembered for its labels as for the wine. To say that their labels are spectacular simply doesn’t do them justice. But that’s not to say that the wine isn’t something worth talking about as well. The Brut Nature Silver makes an incredible impression on the tongue with its soft, almost oily caress. In contrast, it offers sharp lemon acidity and a finish that goes on and on.
NV Soutiran Signature Brut Grand Cru
Soutiran is a family-owned Champagne house in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay. The Signature Brut is, well, their signature wine. It offers beautiful brioche dough aromas. And although it is amply fruity, there’s a crispness on the palate that makes it remarkably refreshing. A lovely wine made in a drier style, it offers apple and pear fruit with orange zest on the finish.
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