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2000 Labégorce, Margaux $39.99

A great value in Bordeaux! This bottle is mature enough to drink now, but has time in hand if you want to keep it in the cellar for the future. We love it for its laid back elegance and classic balance. A must try for your next nice steak dinner.

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Entries in Baron Fuente (2)

Friday
Jun292012

Champagne Friday: Stopper Study

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

The Seal: An Essential Part of Champagne

Happy Champagne Friday! This week is all about stoppers. After all, Champagne could not exist without a perfect seal! Trapping carbon dioxide inside the bottle during the second fermentation is the step that makes Champagne sparkle- and it is very likely that this was first done by mistake.

Champagne is one of the highest acid fine wines in the world, and the climate is cool enough that often fermentations would stop for lack of heat after the harvest. The high acidity in the wine can easily mask a touch of residual sugar, and in the days before lab analysis, it would be easy to bottle something that had some sugar left. Add a tight seal and – bang! Bubbles or a broken bottle! 

In today's video, we will examine the first crown cap that Champagne receives at bottling, the cork it receives after disgorgement and finally to the stopper that often is put into it when we don’t finish the bottle. Along the way we will look at corks before they are inserted, corks from the past, silicon plugs on the ends of corks and synthetic/ composite “corks” that producers use to minimize cork taint. If you've never stopped to consider the stopper, you'll be surprised to learn there's more to it than you think.

A great bottle to have in the door of the fridge is the Baron Fuente "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne for $23.99. Baron Fuente is a negociant that owns almost 90 acres of vines and purchases another 90 acres "sur pied," meaning that they pick the grapes. This is an important distinction since many negociants buy "sur lattes" meaning in bottle!

Baron Fuente "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne ($23.99) This delicious Champagne is composed of 10% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 60% Meunier and had been aged three years on the lees. It is fermented at relatively cold temperatures in stainless steel with 100% malolactic fermentation. The wine has a very light, white gold color for the blend which is predominantly black grapes and a very pretty, tight bead. On the nose it is flowery and exotic, with a doughy richness to anchor down the wildflower elements. On the palate the wine is well balanced, light and finishes very cleanly. This Champagne is a spectacular aperitif.

I hope you give it a try. If you don't finish the bottle, you can just stopper it up and save to enjoy later, on its own or in a Champagne cocktail like the Negroni Sbagliato, one of my favorites!

A toast to you!

-Gary

 

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Check out more educational wine & spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

How many corks does it take to stopper a bottle of Champagne? In today's video, Gary invites us to "stop" and consider the stopper, one of the most essential yet oft-overlooked components in Champagne production, storage, and consumption, from start to finish.

Friday
Jun152012

Champagne Friday: Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

Foie Gras is one of my favorite pairings with Champagne, and sadly here in California, we only have 15 days left to enjoy it. After that, it will be illegal to sell in this state and fans of the noble liver will have to travel to enjoy it. The incredible richness of foie gras is the perfect partner for the refreshing high acidity of Champagne. Traveling to the Champagne region, it is a pairing that every restaurant and host suggests, and I have been lucky enough to have it prepared and paired in many different ways over the years. In the today's video, I visit with Jean-Baptiste Su of Fabrique Délice artisanal charcuterie and later share my favorite preparation, which is very simple: thick slices on toasted brioche, with fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel.

My favorite Champagnes with foie gras are rich and powerful wines. The indigenous grape Meunier, with its hint of exotic fruit has a particular affinity for it. Older Champagne, with its developed, often chanterelle like bouquet is also a spectacular partner for it. The best pairings I have ever had are when all three of these elements come together. If you have any old Rene Collard in your cellar, nothing tops it with foie gras!

Here are my favorite foie gras partners from our current stock:

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99): This bottle is the best foie gras pairing if you like to serve the liver with compote. This is composed of 80% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay and aged for four years before being released.  The liqueur that is used for the dosage is made in house and based on pure cane sugar. It has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place.

 

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Brut Champagne ($39.99): This mature Champagne will go perfectly with seared foie gras. It is super well balanced and gets an astoundingly luxurious seven years of aging on the lees. It is very rare to find something so reasonably priced that is kept for so long. Composed of even parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier it is fermented in stainless steel. The "Esprit" has a very high quality sourdough toastiness arrived at honestly from the long aging on the lees. It is round and easy to drink, with flavors of hazelnuts contrasting its nice citrus zip.

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne ($49.99): I have a bottle of this in my refrigerator right now to go with foie gras prepared exactly like I did it in the video. Like the Loriot above, this Champagne is a tribute to the old methods, and in this case also one of the ancient grape varieties of Champagne. It is a barrel-fermented blend of one-third each Chardonnay, Pinot Banc and Pinot Noir. Pinot Blanc is a real rarity in Champagne, and only exists in a few spots in the Aube.

 

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($139.99): Eating foie gras and drinking Krug makes me feel like king for the day. This great house is the outspoken champion of Meunier among the grand marques. Based on 2004 with six years on the lees and reserve wines dating back to 1990, this decadent treat will go perfectly with all manner of preparations.

Cheers!

–Gary Westby

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 Check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!