Moscato for the Holidays

It’s a little late for Christmas wine recommendations, I realize. But it’s still early for New Year’s, so that’s still all right.

Especially when you suggest a wine that is as festive as it is (relatively) inexpensive, so much so that it could be pulled out for any excuse for a celebration.

The wine is moscato, or more precisely, moscato d’asti, the low-alcohol, sparkling, refreshing, fruity wine that is a specialty of Piemont, in Northern Italy. Made from that most aromatic of grapes, muscat, (more…)

Champagne expansion: sober second thought

I’ve been very skeptical about the expansion of vineyards admitted into the Champagne appellation, which has caused quite a stir in the greater Champagne region. If more vineyards are being brought in, it has to do with business opportunities, of course, since demand for Champagne has been growing steadily in recent years, and producers want to sell more. For land owners, it’s also a great financial opportunity, as the value of land can increase hugely when its status changes.

Where does quality stand in that whole process? Not too far behind (more…)

More champagne?

I just caught up with an enlightening article published in Wednesday’s New York Times, about the proposed expansion of the area where vineyards could produce wines entitled to be called Champagne. It seems that some 40 communes could see vineyards qualify and be added to the 300-or-so communes currently included in the appellation. The criteria according to which communes could or could not be added seem unclear and the so does the selection process.

Funny enough, this is happening as global demand for champagne is on the rise. Could this have more to do with financial imperatives than with an actual appraisal of quality in the vineyard? You tell me. But obviously, the sense of an appellation doesn’t seem quite as precise and unchanging in the champenois vineyards as it is, say, in Burgundy.

Published in: on December 28, 2007 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Tasting note: Champagne Pol Roger 1988

There are still some people out there who pretend that there is no point in ageing champagne. I still can’t figure what gave them that idea. I’ve had several bottles of well-aged champagne over the years, and it has always proved delicious, with an added complexity and subtlety that the bright effervescence of youth simply does not provide.

Take the 1988 “blanc de chardonnay” vintage champagne from Pol Roger, which I pulled out from my cellar the other day, to welcome some great friends of mine to a pre-Christmas dinner. The bottle had been in the cellar for (more…)

Published in: on December 24, 2007 at 3:41 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , ,