This Champagne Friday guest piece was written by K&L super star Doug Burress, lovingly known as the "The Doug" here in Redwood City. He is a full time 5th grade teacher and still finds time to come and help us out in the holidays and will be here making sure the Redwood City tent event comes off without a hitch. His passion for, and knowledge of Champagne is contagious. I feel very lucky to have drained a magnum or two over the years with The Doug, and honored when he volunteered to write this piece on Champagne Franck Bonville.
I am lucky enough to be able to talk with Gary about Champagne quite often. Inevitably the conversation focuses on two questions that come up a lot in the Redwood City store: Can Champagne be served throughout an entire meal? And, What difference does it make drinking Champagne from a magnum (1500ml)?
Both questions can be answered using my favorite grower-producer Champagne, the Franck Bonville “Brut Selection” Blanc de Blancs. Bonville also makes a beautiful rosé, an extra brut, the “Prestige” Blanc de Blancs, fabulous vintage Champagne, and the amazing “Belle Voyes” Blanc de Blancs. These bottles disappear quickly when they get to the shop, but they are all worthy of keeping tabs on the K and L website in order to purchase a few bottles when they do come in.
I focus on the “Brut Selection” ($32.99) because it is amazing Champagne that is affordable enough to purchase by the case and it pairs easily with a variety of dishes. In addition, Gary always brings in several magnums of the “Brut Selection.” The “Brut Selection” was running low at our house the other day so I quickly went to K and L to rectify the situation. When I arrived Gary wanted to show me some of the new selections in the shop (the Prévoteau-Perrier Champagnes are another must try), but I headed directly to the warehouse to grab a case of the “Brut Selection.” I had to make sure that I was able to bring home some Bonville for dinner that night.
Dealing with the first question above, I can truly say that, in my household, we drink the “Brut Selection” a couple of times a week, throughout our entire dinner. Don’t get me wrong, we like our red wine, but when Champagne is opened it is very difficult to set it aside for the red stuff. We have paired this all Grand Cru Avize chardonnay with many dishes including stuffed mushrooms, grilled halibut, herb crusted chicken, Caesar salad, a variety of pasta sauces, pizza, and many different vegetable dishes. The “Brut Selection” is packed with enough fresh citrus and spice to pair well with so many dishes, and it proves over and over that Champagne can be sipped throughout an entire meal.
“Champagne does taste better out of magnum.” You will hear these words spoken by many of my coworkers and it simply answers the second question from above. The simple science behind why this is true is that there is more Champagne coming in contact with more of the yeast in these larger bottles. More winespending time in contact with the lees leads to magnums of Champagne that can age longer, and are more expressive, fresh, and toasty. I make sure to have at least a couple of magnums of Bonville on hand. Out of magnum the Bonville “Brut Selection” ($69.99) presents loads of toasty spice notes along with the fresh citrus and elegant floral aromas. Magnums of Bonville always put a smile on my face!
I encourage you to try pairing Champagne with an entire meal as well as comparing a magnum of Champagne along side its smaller, standard sized bottling. I can’t recommend a better bottle with which to conduct both of these experiments than the Franck Bonville “Brut Selection” Blanc de Blancs. - Doug Burress