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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 Champagne Louis Roederer (6)

Friday
Feb222013

Champagne Friday: Dosage

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Dosage or: Why do they call sweet Champagne dry?

When it comes to selecting a dry or sweet Champagne, the labeling is very confusing. This is because of a historical demand for drier and drier styles over the past two hundred years. When sparkling Champagne was first introduced, it was very, very sweet. That style is now called doux and is extremely rare, with over 50 grams per liter of sugar. While we currently do not have any doux at K&L (demand is almost non-existent today) we did carry an excellent one, the 1995 Fleury Doux Champagne a number of years ago, and poured it at the inaugural tent tastings.

Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec Champagne In the 1800s, demand for drier Champagne increased. The Champenoise obliged by introducing demi-sec, or half-dry, which is still quite sweet but not as sweet as doux, with 35-50 grams of sugar per liter. Demand today is weak for sweet Champagne in this style, but we do carry a few, including the Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec ($49.99), the Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Sublime ($39.99), and the Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial ($49.99).

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne Demand for even drier styles continued, so sec (dry) Champagne was introduced, but it is important to note that this style is still pretty sweet, just less than demi-sec at 17-35 grams of sugar per liter. I can hardly think of an instance of more confusing terminology in the world of wine. It is labeled dry, but it is a sweet style. While many Champenoise are of the opinion that sweet Champagnes are only produced today, as one producer who will remain annonomus once remarked, “for old people to drink with cake," we do have one of the few exceptions in stock. The Michel Loriot “Cuvee Marie-Leopold” Sec ($34.99) is a not just serious Champagne, but in my opinion one of the finest values to be found in all of Champagne. It was created by Michel for the 100th anniversary of his house. It gets a full four years of aging on the lees and 20 grams per liter of a specially made dosage using pure cane sugar is added to it at disgorgement. If you think you sweeter Champagne is not for you, this could very well change your mind. It comes with my highest recommendation.

Louis Roederer "Carte Blanche" Extra Dry Champagne Moving on to the 20th century, demand for still drier Champagne continued, but the Champenois were running out of words! So they introduced extra sec, or extra dry, which is gently sweet, but at 12-20 grams per liter of sugar still sweeter than brut. The most famous wine in this style is the now discontinued Moet & Chandon White Star, which we still get requests for all the time. We carry the very well balanced and extraordinarily well-made Louis Roederer “Carte Blanche” Extra Dry ($44.99) as a representative of this style. This wine, like the Loriot above is blended specially for the slightly higher dosage and is an excellent partner to paté at the start of the meal or macaroons at the end of it.

In the teens Perrier Jouet premiered brut (they could hardly call it 'extra extra dry'!) for their customers desiring even drier Champagne. Currently the law states that brut Champagne must be dosed at less than 12 grams per liter of sugar. It amuses me that the producers in Champagne simply ran out of vocabulary to describe what has become the dominant style for the region. Out of the 224 Champagnes we have in stock at K&L at the time of writing this post, 204 of them are brut!

Marguet "Valentine Brut Nature" Champagne is only $29.99 with Wine Club Discount!Bringing us up to the present in the 21st century, many sommeliers and Champagne fans are looking for even more precision in their wines. Thus, More and more extra brut is being produced today, an austerely dry style at 0 to 6 grams of sugar per liter. To give you a sense of current demand, these wines account for more than five times the sales of any other category besides brut at K&L. They make excellent partners to seafood, especially sushi. If the wine has less than 3 grams per liter of residual sugar, and no extra dosage has been added, they may also call the Champagne brut nature, pas dose, or dosage zero. My current favorite in this style is the Marguet “Valentine Brut Nature” ($34.99) which has just 1 gram of residual sugar per liter. Pick up some sushi to go and enjoy this bright, zippy wine with it!

I would like to thank Eric de Brissis of Champagne Baron Fuente for helping me out with the current rules for dosage, as they just recently changed. Also keep in mind that the European Union gives the producers three grams per liter of leeway for residual (not added!) sugar. Some producers say that this is far to loose of a range, especially since it would be hard to test for.

Here is the CIVC’s official chart on the dosage of Champagne:

Doux- 50 grams per liter of sugar or more

Demi-Sec- between 32 and 50 grams per liter of sugar

Sec (Dry)- between 17 and 32 grams per liter of sugar

Extra Dry- between 12 and 17 grams per liter of sugar

Brut- less than 12 grams per liter of sugar

Extra Brut- between 0 and 6 grams per liter of sugar

 

A toast to you!

-Gary

Friday
Sep212012

Champagne Friday: Special Louis Roederer Tasting Tuesday 9/25

Champagne Louis Roederer

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne Friday on a Tuesday?

This Tuesday (September 25th) we are hosting Charles Fournier of Champagne Louis Roederer in Redwood City for a very special tasting. Charles is flying in from Reims, and will be able to answer any question that you might have about these world class wines. Champagne Louis Roederer only uses purchased fruit for their non-vintage wines, all the vintage wines are entirely estate, and each has vineyard land designated to it, and farmed specifically with the finished wine in mind. This is the opposite of other grand marques, who make selections for their Champagne much later in the game- usually after the alcoholic fermentation.

Charles will present the following wines:

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne $39.99

Louis Roederer "Carte Blanche" Extra Dry Champagne $44.99

2006 Louis Roederer Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne $74.99

2005 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne $64.99

2007 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne $64.99

The tasting will be from 5pm until 6:30 PM, but might end early if we run out of wine. I would recommend coming at 5pm. The cost will be $5. If you are a fan of Champagne, and can get away to make it to this event, I highly recommend it. Learning from the Champenois is a rare treat, especially from the big houses. If you are interested in learning more about the estate wines program at Champagne Louis Roederer, please check out my interview with Jean Baptiste Lecaillon from this spring:

 

I hope to see you here- and we can toast together then!

–Gary

***

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

 

Friday
Sep142012

Champagne Friday: French 75

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Friday, September 12, 2012

French 75

With summer drawing to a close, the citrus zip and aged cognac depth of the French 75 cocktail has a lot of appeal. This drink, which legend says was named after a French canon that shot 75 millimeter shells, is a powerful one, and should be treated with respect.

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne My wife Cinnamon is the real family mixoligist, and she prepared everything in the short demonstration video above. Unfortunately, I could not convince her to get in front of the camera and make the drink! We discovered this cocktail together at Coco 500 in San Francisco, where they make it with Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne. This cocktail is a great one to riff off of, and we have made many tasty variations on the theme at home. For a long time I was a partisan to making it with gin, while Cinnamon preferred Cognac.

Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne One thing that has remained constant is the Champagne- we always use the tail end of a bottle that has been sitting in the fridge door with a stopper in it. I find that Blanc de Blancs tend to balance the Cognac’s aged savor, and the Pinot Noir styles add depth to the gin variation. For the video piece, we used the Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne which worked perfectly with the new Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac. This Ferrand is a great ingredient, and works far better than much more expensive (and far more subtle) Cognacs. The 1840 Formula is made in the three star style from the 19th century, and is a full 5% higher in alcohol than standard Cognac. It is also oilier and weightier with lots of flavor- it won’t get lost in a mixed drink.

 I hope you’ll try this out the next time you would like a stiff cocktail. It is a great one!

 

Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof CognacFrench 75

2 parts Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac

1 Part Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Part simple syrup

2 parts Champagne (Blanc de Blancs if you have one open)

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

We use an ounce per part for ours- and that makes a pretty big aperitif.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake thoroughly and pour into a rocks glass filled with more fresh ice. Top with Champagne, and stir if you like (I do!) finally garnishing with lemon rind.

 

A toast to you!

-Gary

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