3-star food comas, and other delights...
What a banner day! It was ridiculously beautiful here, and I had one of my finest days ever. I arrived at Sophie Cossy’s in Jouy-lès-Reims to do the dosage trials for our Caveau Extra-Brut, and was told by Sophie that we were going to lunch at l’Assiette Champenoise, the legendary Michelin 3-star in Reims! Talk about a great surprise – I was so excited.
But first to the business at hand. We tasted the same base wine at 3,4,5 & 6 grams per liter of dosage. As always it was a fascinating study, and the increasing amounts of added sugar do not necessarily produce a wine that appears sweeter – sometimes quite the opposite. It was pretty clear to me that I preferred the version at 4 grams – it pulled all of the beautiful fruit elements together, added length on the palate, opened up the nose to show more floral notes, and brought overall harmony to the wine. Interesting that the version at 5 grams seemed tighter, had less richness, and was a touch hard on the finish.
At any rate, the decision has been made. We’ll go with 4 grams, and Sophie will be degorging the bottles as you read this. I can’t thank her enough for making a long-time dream come true. And I can’t wait for you to taste this gorgeous wine.
Then on the business of eating. At the very highest level known to mankind. OMG. I’ve eaten at a good number of Michelin 3-Stars over the years, but today’s lunch ranks among my all-time tops. No one needs 8 courses at lunch, however! It was so great you couldn’t stop eating it, but it may have put me out of commission for a while on the dining front. I’ll let a few pictures do the talking. Yes, it was as delicious as it looks, and then some. Simply stellar…
I was in a serious food coma by the time I got to Forget-Chemin for my tasting appointment with Thierry Forget. His entire range was singing today, topped by the fabulous 2009 Special Club. (There’s a new store in Reims that carries ALL of the Special Club bottlings, plus every other cuvée from all of the producers in the Club – a must to check out if you’re over here.)
I then rushed off to a tasting with a new producer that Laherte Frères had advised me to check out. I can’t mention the name yet, but if things work out we will finally have a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs producer in our arsenal, with great holdings in Le Mesnil sur Oger. Keep your fingers crossed!
Not that I needed one more bite, but I had dinner reservations to meet up with David Speer, owner of Portland’s great Champagne bar Ambonnay, who is over here on a working vacation. On the advice of Vincent Laval, we went to a small joint in Épernay called Cook’In – a franco-thailand fusion bistro that was totally excellent. I needed that meal like a hole in the head, however! Tomorrow I will try to subsist on bread and water, and detox as best I can.
I’m off to Chablis now, for a tasting and lunch at Frédéric Gueguen’s house before heading down to Volnay. Sounds like I might have to dig in to something more than bread and water. It’s a good thing I’m running in the mornings, otherwise I think I’d need to get my blood changed!
More as it happens. Stay tuned!