Happy Holidays 2014 [and Champagne ~ Whee!!!}

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Where the heck has 2014 gone?

I hope this finds you enjoying a happy, no-stress holiday season. It is currently that crazy time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with Hanukkah celebrations swiftly approaching, creating all kinds of activities!

No matter what keeps you on the move ~ work, parties, shopping [Oh MY!], I hope that you take some time for yourself and enjoy all the best parts of the “silly season”.

In this issue, I am covering a topic near and dear to my heart: Champagne! One of my most favorite topics [and drinks of choice]: Bubbles. I love bubbles and drink them often, with a gathering of friends around the table being the only special occasion needed. I am a particular enthusiast of Growers Champagnes and when I rave about these particular bubbles, I most often get the question:

What exactly is Growers Champagne?

Quite Simply

Growers Champagnes are wines produced 100% from vineyards that are owned by the producer.

Small, Family-Owned Producers

A typical grower champagne house is a small, family-owned producer, making less than 5000 cases per year. However, while there are close to 5000 of these producers in Champagne, there are fewer than 150 of them available in the US! Boo.

But. This makes them, in my opinion, even more special.

Fun Fact about more “well-known” champagnes

Most champagnes that you might recognize more readily ~ Veuve Clicquot, Moët et Chandon, Mumm ~ these wines are made with up to hundreds of different growers grapes from across the champagne region. These wines are known as Negociant Champagnes.

Recommendations for your holiday celebrations [or just decompressing while watching "Love Actually"]

Pierre Peters

One grower champagne that I am a HUGE fan of, and is more readily available and found in US retail is Pierre Peters. Enjoying a bottle of Pierre Peters, with a dear friend, several years ago, was one of my first forays into grower champagne territory and it got me hooked. These wines are consistently rich, subtle and elegantly beautiful and I have never been disappointed when enjoying a bottle.

The Pierre Peters estate has been the family home for six generations and is located in the heart of the Côte de Blancs region, producing Champagne Blanc de Blanc, Grand Cru, since 1919.

I just saw Pierre Peters at Whole Foods in Portland, Oregon for a very decent price. This bottle will typically set you back $60 – but it is well worth it. Take a look at your finer grocers markets and wine shops.

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Perrot-Batteux et Filles cuvée Hélixe

Another growers champagne I’ve recently enjoyed [and cannot wait to pop my one remaining bottle!] is Perrot-Batteux et Filles cuvée Hélixe Blanc de Blancs. Yum & YES.

This is a tiny producer also located in the Côte de Blancs region. As the name “et Filles” indicates, a daughter runs the house. A total of 3 people do all the work for producing these wines and their attention to detail shines through when these tiny bubbles are tasted. Grown in soil of pure chalk, you can taste it in the wine but not overwhelmingly so. Pretty, light and easy to drink, this bottle is an excellent way to start your evening (or even enjoy over a long, lovely lunch).

Perrot-Batteux et Filles also make an absolute stunner Rosé Premier Cru (everyone who knows me, knows my rosé obsession) and I would highly recommend stocking up on either of these gorgeous wines for the holidays and beyond.

I would recommend asking your favorite wine shop if they can get either of these bottlings in for you (or both…just do it!)

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Coming up next time: my favorite domestic sparklers, a great holiday cocktail and is bigger better? My love for magnums.

Salute!

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