This 8th generation family house was originally founded in 1808 by Apolline Henriot, widow of Nicolas Henriot. They commemorated their 200th Anniversary with the release of the 2008 vintage. Henriot cultivates 87 acres of vineyards with access to Grand Cru and Premier Cru parcels, allowing them to showcase the purist expression of Chardonnay within their blends. This Champagne has a rich, brioche elements yet is finesse-driven with elements of citron and Meyer lemon. This house has mastered the term elegance with the expression of Chardonnay in their Champagne .
An independent family-run house recognized for their ultra-premium Cristal label, which was originally created for Russian Czar Alexander II. The 2012 vintage-dated Champagne is composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from the region of Montagne de Reims. It is aged on the lees for four years, showcasing a complex fuller style with hazelnut and pastry dough aromas. The fine mousse reveals a dense fruit concentration of yellow plums intermingled with chalky notes and lively freshness. It has a long and persistent finish.
Recently introduced into the U.S. market, Champagne Palmer was founded nearly 70 years ago by a group of seven growers with Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in Montagne de Reims of France. Cellar Master Xavier Berdin creates the blend using different grape varieties, cru vineyards and reserve wines. The backbone of this Blanc de Blancs is Chardonnay sourced from three cru vineyards in Montagne de Reims and the Sézanne. This crystalline Champagne is bright and energetic in the mouth. Classy and elegant and broad on the palate with an abundance of white flowers and stone fruits along with a long sleek finish. I immediately fell in love with this house from the moment I was introduced to the brand.
The famed house of Champagne Tattinger in Reims, France are the principal owners of this estate. Eileen Crane is the CEO and founding winemaker of Domaine Carneros. She was chosen in 1987 by owner Claude Taittinger to build the winery and grow the brand. Her greatest accomplishment is creating and maintaining Le Reve, the Tête de cuvée frequently named America’s Best Sparkling Wine. Le Reve, which means “the dream” in French, is the winery’s cherished Blanc de Blanc style sparkling wine produced from 100% estate fruit in Carneros. This sparkling wine has a persistent fine mousse with fresh buttered bread aromas opening to bursts of white stone fruits and lemon meringue. Enormously complex and vibrant.
Champagne Veuve Clicquot is a youthful and modernistic brand. It boasts a bright yellow-orange label that signifies joy, happiness and the sun. It remains the most recognized label in the LVMH portfolio. The most recognized label from this house. Composed of 35% reserve wine from ten vintages. Aromas of biscuit are layered around crisp Fuji apple and zesty lemon oil flavors that are nicely integrated into the core of this Champagne.
One of the recognized jewels of California is Schramsberg. Jack and Jamie Davis restored this historic 19th century estate and winery in 1965. Representing only 3% of Schramsberg’s production, this remains the flagship of the estate, sourced from the best base wines and aged for 8 months in the bottle. A number of years ago in a blind tasting of cuvée de prestige champagnes, “the best of the best” from France, the J Schram secured the number one position among the competitors. This is an opulent expression with heady brioche aromas, toasted almonds and amplified flavors of Asian pears and pastry cream. It remains very concentrated on the palate yet retains its freshness and tension throughout the finish.