Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cellar Selection #4: Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne

What do chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes have in common? As it turns out, they are the three grapes most commonly used to create champagne, the vintner's pride of the namesake region of France which by international treaty and law is the only appelation that can legally call its product by that term. All others should properly be called sparkling wine. (The USA has a loophole; this is a legal term derived from the Latin which loosely translates as "Our lawyers can beat up your lawyers." You think I'm kidding? Of course!) Look, rather than delve into all this folderol, why not throw a celebration instead, and what better way to celebrate than with some cellar-worthy champagne, such as the Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne?

The robe of the Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne is straw and hay gathered from the field during an ice-cold winter's dawn. (Which, of course, brings to mind the point that champange MUST be properly iced. Don't even think about serving it otherwise!) The nose is fresh, crisp apples with slight touches of truffles and gumballs. Delicious and Granny Smith apples beg for attention on the palate, also pears, and the finish is lemony apricot. Oysters and champagne are an ideal match (I'd love to try this quaff with Bijoux's East Coast Oysters, redolent of black pepper and horseradish), but any shellfish works wonders as well. Website is, where you discover that pinot noir is the prime mover behind the flavor of this signature cuvee. Do some quasi-legal investigating yourself, and remember:


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