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Château de Brézé has a long and storied history, first being mentioned in texts in 1068, lauded by King René of Anjou in the 15th century and served at all the royal courts. In 1957, when the AOC of Saumur Champigny was established, the owner of Château de Brézé refused to be part of the appellation, saying that his estate's vineyards were the best and deserved an appellation all their own. And he was probably right. Unfortunately, the wines from those exceptional vineyards were terrible. Lucky for us, the winery sold in 2009 to Le Comte de Colbert, who recruited Arnaud Lambert from nearby Domaine de Saint Just to make the wine. He changed the vineyards over to organic farming and began producing truly stellar wines worthy of their source. The 2012 Château de Brézé Clos David is all estate-grown Chenin Blanc raised in stainless steel to preserve freshness. It has the slightly-oxidized note of a great White Burgundy and a lovely richness that allows it to pair with a variety of foods.

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Monday
Mar172014

Higher Dosage in Champagne Cocktails #2: Moet Ice Imperial "Final Word"

Moet Ice was created to drink on the rocks.

On Friday I posted a piece on using the Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne ($59.99) in French 75’s. I was very happy with the results of using a higher dosage Champagne and dropping the amount of simple syrup in the recipe, and promised myself that I would continue experimenting. Last night I decided to try a completely new cocktail, based on the green colored and festive Final Word. This time I used the Moet & Chandon "Ice Imperial" Champagne ($56.99), which Moet developed to be served on Ice.

 

A traditional Final Word cocktail is composed of even parts Gin- we use the Anchor Junipero Gin ($29.99), Chartreuse Green 750ml ($49.99), Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 750ml ($29.99) and lime. We love this cocktail at home, but it is very, very powerful. Using one ounce of each of the ingredients makes for a stiff drink, and I thought it would be interesting to see what it was like subbing in a few ounces of Champagne in place of the gin.

Shaking the liquor and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with lime yields the best results

My idea of using Champagne in the place of gin in a cocktail is not an original one. The Negroni Spagliato is a classic drink in which Champagne takes the place of gin and keeps the personality of the cocktail intact. How nice would be to have one of my favorite drinks (and a green one at that!) adapted for Champagne on St. Patrick’s Day!

I am happy to say that this worked out well, and even though Cinnamon was skeptical at first (she even went so far as to say “just make one”) I won her over in the end. The recipe could not be simpler:

 

1 ounce Chartreuse Green 750m

1 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

2 ounces Moet & Chandon "Ice Imperial" Champagne (or other sec/ demi-sec Champagne)

 

Prepare a cocktail shaker with plenty of fresh ice, and a large rocks glass with plenty more. Shake the Chartreuse, Luxardo and Lime in the shaker until well chilled. Pour the mixture through a cocktail strainer over the ice in the rocks glass. Top with the Champagne, stir gently and enjoy.

 

As Champagne is less concentrated than gin, it takes a little bit more of it to bring the drink into balance. Since both the lime and the Champagne are acidic, this drink is very bright and refreshing… Perhaps dangerously so! Be careful with these- I thought I was making a more “moderate” drink, but it is easy to get carried away with these!

 

A toast to you!

 

Gary Westby

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