Finding affordable, true French Champagne in Eagle County
Eagle County CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” More snow, a Merry Christmas, and I feel like celebrating. What better way than Champagne? What’s that you say, New Year’s Eve is here? How fortunate, another excuse to pop open the Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne, from the region of the same name. Yes, Champagne is a region in France, and only sparkling wine from grapes grown there can legally called Champagne. At least according to the European Union, some U.S. makers of cheaper versions still use the term Champagne on the label. A good rule of thumb: if it costs under $20 and says Champagne, it is not true Champagne.
The Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut is a blend of the three allowed varietals: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. The Grand Brut has more Pinot Noir than most, giving the sparkler a richness and silkiness that sets it apart. Toasty pear and biscuit aromas show the presence of the Chardonnay, and the oak barrel aging used on the base wines. A rich and toasty body, nutty, light honey, and yeasty flavors, and a smooth, but crisp, finish show a balanced and big Champagne. Drink this on its own, of course, or be surprised by the versatility of a Champagne by trying this with salty or spicy food.
The Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut is a non-vintage Champagne, meaning the wine used is a blend from many different years. This Champagne is made every year, and winemaker Herve Deschamps must use older and newer vintages to maintain the house style every year. For the Grand Brut, Mr. Deschamps uses 12 to 14 percent of 2 to 3 year old wine, adding depth, richness and the trademark biscuit and hazelnut.
The House of Perrier-Jouet was created in 1811, after the marriage of Pierre Nicolas Perrier and Adele Jouet. The Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut normally is around $50, but this time of year, most places get the price down closer to $40, making it an affordable true Champagne.