Wine Blogging Wednesday #25: Champagne

Darcy O'Neil :: September 13, 2006 11:11 AM

Wine Blogging Wednesday ChampagneThis month Wine Blogging Wednesday is being hosted by Sam over at Becks & Posh. The topic is champagne, and only the real stuff will do, none of that generic sparkling wine from other regions. For this event I pulled out a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne that has been sitting around in my wine rack waiting for the appropriate moment to be opened. Well it seems this blogging event has given me a reason to pop the cork. After giving the champagne a thorough tasting, I’ll also give you some champagne cocktail ideas.

The great things about champagne, it is so versatile. It can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other ingredients to create a great cocktail. Also it pairs well with a great number of foods including anything that has a high fat content, like salmon, cream sauces (Salmon Alfredo) or heavy delicious desserts like cheese cake.

Champagne Tasting Notes:

The Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne has the typical straw/gold colour and produces a fine mousse when poured. The nose is characteristically yeasty with hints of earthiness and citrus. On the palate the champagne is dry with apple flavours and a good crisp acidity. The carbonation gives the champagne a nice light mouth feel, as it should, and the acidity leaves a refreshed palate. A classic champagne that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Champagne makes a great aperitif with its dry style and acidic nature. But it also is great digestif when combined with particular ingredients like port, or my favourite, ice wine.
Of course, champagne can really be enjoyed anytime since it is so versatile. But just to mix things up here are a couple of my favourite champagne cocktails.

Champagne Cocktails (Aperitif)

French 75
1 oz gin
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/8 oz simple syrup
4 oz chilled champagne

Shake gin, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Tasting Note: A very dry and citrusy cocktail which makes a great aperitif.

Champagne Cocktail
5 oz Champagne
1 Sugar Cube
4 Dashes Bitters

Place sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne glass and soak with bitters. Top with champagne.

Tasting Note: Another classic cocktail that starts off dry but slowly becomes sweeter as you head towards the bottom of the glass. The bitters add a layer of complexity to the drink.

Champagne Cocktails (Digestif)

Nelson’s Blood
4 oz Champagne
1 oz tawny port

Pour port into champagne glass and top with champagne.

Tasting Notes: A great after dinner cocktail that brings some sweetness to the cocktail. For the adventurous, decant a vintage port a few hours before your dinner and cleanse your palate with Nelson’s Blood before enjoying the vintage port on its own.

Ice Wine & Champagne

4 oz Champagne
1 oz Ice Wine

Pour icewine into champagne flute and top with champagne.

This is the ultimate expression of a champagne based cocktail. The icewine adds sweetness, earthiness and exotic fruit flavours (mango, lychee, papaya) to the champagne. The champagne takes on a demi-sec characteristic, but with much deeper flavours because of the icewine. This is a must try cocktail.

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