If you’ve ever had the chance to taste really good Champagne, you are undoubtedly aware of how special, terroir-driven, historical, and complex this famous bubbly wine from Northern France can be. There are some bad Champagnes out there, true, but with a bit of research it’s remarkably easy to find extraordinary Champagnes from growers and houses alike, in the $45-55 range at a good retail store.
Two great ways to learn more about Champagne: (1) buy the wonderful new book, But First Champagne, by the Washington DC-based writer David White; he spent time in the region getting to know producers of all sorts, and the book is written in a way that’s very approachable, no matter your level of knowledge. If you like picking up a special bottle of Champagne from time to time and enjoying it with dinner–because Champagne is not just for celebrations!–then you’ll appreciate having this book at home.
(2) go to the Fête du Champagne! Generally speaking, this event (taking place in New York, various events Nov 3-6, grand tasting Nov 5 at the Metropolitan Pavilion) is mostly geared toward those who already drink quite a bit of Champagne. But there is a very cool seminar on offer with Champagne expert Peter Liem, for just $95, that will basically survey the region through six wines, which I’m sure will include some special selections.
If you do live in New York, check out the Fête, and I’ll see you at the Grand Tasting! Also, it’s a nice way to get your palate primed for RAW Wine fair, Nov 6-7–but more about that to come! Check back here next week for a profile of RAW founder Isabelle Legeron, an overview of RAW, and a listing of events (i.e. after-parties and ticketed dinners) with RAW producers. Meanwhile, I’m off to buy some liver-cleansing vitamins, to prepare.