Blogs from Epernay, Champagne-Ardenne, France, Europe


Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay July 30th 2021

I always try to keep my every day wine and sparkling budget under $20. Since I enjoy my sparkling wines, this always "limits" my choices to a sparkling wine other than champagne. But it does not mean that I must sacrifice taste and enjoyment when I drink other sparklings. Plus, why open a bottle of $60 to $100 bottle of champagne when I can only drink about half of it each evening? Most of you know I am partial to both sparkling wines, called cremants, from Loire, and our own California sparkling wines. In most cases, the cremants are in the $9 to$14 range, and the California sparklings are in the $30 to $40 range. If I spread the cost over two evenings, my investment is minimal. One big change has occurred in Italy, where Prosecco ... read more
Love Domaine Carneros
My everyday bubbles

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay June 19th 2021

Unless you are a golfer or cyclist, you probably never thought about shipping your equipment ahead to your destination. Shipping golf clubs, to far off places like Scotland, Spain, or even Hawaii is a lifesaver, particularly when I have other stops along the way. It was a real pain to carry our clubs through downtown London before heading up to Scotland for a week of golf. The same is true for cycling, even when renting a bicycle. My recent cycling trip to Bordeaux involved one stop prior to the week of cycling, and two stops after. I hate the thought of carrying my equipment up three or four floors without an elevator.I shipped my cycling equipment ahead to my first hotel in Bordeaux. My bag included: helmet, cycling shoes, spindles, cycling clothing, extra ... read more
Ship It!

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay February 16th 2021

How many of your shop at Trader Joe's for your wine and spirits? Generally, they have some interesting and well priced deals. Their wide selection allows me to try some new varietals from places I might not otherwise try. Next time you are there, just go to a different country, like Argentina, Spain or Italy, and pick a varietal that you have never heard of. Oh, and make sure the price is around $10 or less. You will thank me. The local wine expert has a column on Wednesday, and always touts his bargains, or "steals" as he calls them. And the place he touts is none other than Grocery Outlet, rapidly becoming the place to go for bargain wines across a wide spectrum. Of the 18,000+ growers in Champagne, only 4000+ own their vineyards 100% ... read more
Domaine Carneros, an all time favorite
St Germain

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay January 28th 2021

Here is a brief collection of insights I have found about my favorite sparkling wines. Regarding drying your champagne glasses: As a matter of fact, in order to maximize you Champagne’s effervescence, leaving a tiny bit of lint in your glass is paramount. As we all know, popping a Champagne cork reduces the tremendous pressure maintained in the thick bottle and releases the carbon dioxide dissolved in the wine. The gas molecules come suddenly out of solution and must collect together in order to form a bubble. Gerard Liger-Belair, a physicist (or “fizzisist”?) at the University of Reims and the world’s leading authority on bubbles, filmed Champagne using high-speed video and a microscope, and discovered that bubbles can form at a rate of 400 per... read more
Clinking glasses
A visit to Moet

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay July 19th 2020

So, how does brut rose' champagne get its tint? From Bubble and Flute: The quick answer is they totally ignore that pesky little “pressing to avoid colour taint” rule. All red wines are made from prolonged contact with the black skinned grapes. For rosé champagne, there are three specific ways it can be made…Blending (or “Rosé d’assemblage”) when still red wine (in varying amounts between 5 and 20%) is added to the champagne at the blending stage. The still red wine must – of course – be from champagne grapes t... read more
Domaine Carneros brut rose'
Love Taittinger too!!!

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay July 5th 2020

According to Winespeed: Non-vintage Champagne (designated NV on the wine’s label) is a blend of wines from different years’ harvests and from different vineyards and villages (crus) within the Champagne region. Non-vintage Champagne wines represent the vast majority of Champagne wines produced. (By contrast, vintage Champagne represents a little less than 6% of exports). Non-vintage Champagne wines are valued for their consistency year to year. By blending multiple vintages, each Champagne maker can maintain a “house style” that consumers can depend on. Amazingly, in some cases, the range of vintages in a non-vintage Champagne can span up to 20 years. By law, non-vintage Champagne wines need to age on the yeast lees fo... read more
Why not celebrate?
Mumm is a good medium priced bubbly!

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay May 21st 2020

Buy It With a $20: NV Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva ($13) A surprisingly good Cava given that it’s from a producer much better known for Riojas, this refined sparkling wine offers bright green apple flavors and a dry, lightly saline finish. NV Cleto Charli Lambrusco Vecchia Modena ($16) Crisp, dry and even slightly tannic (in a good way), this red spar... read more
My splurge, Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley
Coastal fav, Laetitia in Arroyo Grande, CA

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay April 26th 2020

Let me start by telling you what I have around the house to drink on a normal day. Is there such a thing these days, as a normal day? Many of you already know my every day sparkler is Veuve du Vernay, a brut rose' from Loire, France. Well under $10 a bottle, and quite good. And it can be found in the most likely and unlikely places, like Whaler's General Store in Hawaii!! My every day red wine is usually a Cabernet. My current favorite, though rather pricey, is an Inkblot Cab franc from Michael David Winery in Lodi. If you can't make the drive to (Stuck in) Lodi, it an be ordered online or purchased at Total Wines. If you go online, they are currently offering 35% off, their member price, on a case ... read more
Inkblot from Michael David in Lodi
Lanson from Reims

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay April 6th 2020

Most of you already know this, but for those of you new to sparkling wines of the world, here you go! Q: What are the real differences between Champagne vs. Prosecco and why does one cost so much more than the other? A: The quick answer is Champagne is from France and Prosecco is from Italy, but there are some other things to know about both wines –especially if you like sparkling wines. Champagne is a sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France around the city of Reims about 80 miles (130 km) Northeast of Paris. Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir a... read more

Europe » France » Champagne-Ardenne » Epernay September 1st 2018

Quelques kilomètres encore avec un arrêt d'une nuit à Troyes... Nous commençons à connaître ce camping par coeur... ses bons emplacements et pour une fois nous n'allons pas nous promener dans les magasins d'usines car un bel orage pointe son nez à l'horizon... Nous aurons ici un voisin hyper sympa, très grand voyageur qui passe son hiver aux antipodes, une partie de son année en Corse et l'autre partie il promène avec sa femme et son petit fils, biens sympas tous les trois... Puis vient le bonheur de retrouver en peu plus haut encore une famille que nous aimons tant... Travaillant tous deux dans le champagne.. on ne peut que se faire gâter... MERCI encore Emilie et Raphael... MERCI encore les trois petits bouts d'avoir laissé papa et maman s'occuper de nous pour la soirée... Cette ... read more
paysages de villages
belle nature

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