Main Character: Charpentier Champagne
In 2013 the Saturday Night Live sketch called “The Continental” starred the famous actor Christopher Walken. The basis of the mini session is Mr. Walker plays the character of a sophisticated charm or more less a “ladies’ man.”
The comedic theme behind the sketch is this man has no ability to prevent women from ignoring him, usually due to his attempted sexual advances (which I do not endorse). Woven throughout the scenes of “The Continental” is a mysterious woman’s point of view. All the viewer sees is a white gloved arm continuously pushing Christopher Walken out of her way. What does champagne have to do with a Saturday Night Live sketch?
I honestly laugh to myself and replay the scene every time I uncork a bottle of bubbly. Whenever the character offers the mystery woman a glass of champagne, or what he calls “champanga,” she always ends up throwing it on his face or slapping him. In today’s article we are going to take a look at an exotic bottle of “champanga.”
The principal character is Charpentier Champagne. Little did I know how long this precious bottle of liquid gold has been around. Last year I made my monthly trip over to the locally owned wine merchant. Any time I am searching for inspiration within the world of wine and spirits I make my way there. I believe in supporting local and I always need to stock up on wine.
Over the course of the past year I have personally pushed the boundaries of drinking champagne outside the designated special occasions such as birthdays, New Year’s Eve, Christmas or holiday parties. One afternoon I had this epiphany, if you call it that. We only live once on this earth and none of us are able to pinpoint when our time will end. If this is the case, then why limit ourselves to drinking the best to only special moments?
A special moment shouldn’t be defined by the food or drink we bring to the event, but the company we keep with those closest to us, our family and friends. This is the recipe for splendid occasions. All this brought me to making a decision to drink more champagne on a regular basis. There are always great reasons to enjoy a glass of champagne. Why not enjoy and share a bottle of Charpentier Champagne?
While purusing the racks at the wine store I asked one of the employees if they had any suggestions for a fine bottle of champagne. It’s important to make sure you develop a relationship with your local wine and spirits shop. They know their product well and can open up a new world of wonder if you heed to their suggestions.
“Have you ever tried or heard of Charpentier Champagne?” “No I have not, but you have my undivided attention” I stated. She went on to encourage me to try it and honestly I am beyond excited to introduce you to this delectable bottle of Charpentier Champagne. In my opinion of tasting experiences, Charpentier is one of the best champagnes.
A BRIEF HISTORY ON CHAMPAGNE
Champagne wasn’t discovered until the 16th century, by accident, by the Benedictine Monks. Sometimes history has a way of being created with no intention. History tells us the early vintages of Champagne were called “the devil’s wine” because the bottles of champagne would tend to explode. Obviously with years of work, this area has been mastered.
Don’t be fooled by what you hear. It’s important to read the label of the bottle when selecting a bottle. The wine champagne comes from the region of Champagne which is located 90 miles northeast of Paris, France. It is here where this land is considered the most expensive in the world and owned by by fifteen thousand small growers.
While there are many sparkling wine regions around the globe, only Champagne from the Champagne appellation in France can be labeled as the bubbly bliss. For as long as I can remember through conversations, movies, and events, champagne has been the wine of choice to celebrate those special moments or events. It seems to carry an essence or reputation for luxury.
The traditional method of making champagne (méthode Champenoise) is what creates independance from the wide variety of sparkling wines we have avilable today. Like any bottle of quality wine, champagne is expensive and labour intensive. The magority of the process is done in a 750ml bottle instead of a large tank. The beautiful by-product in the bottle is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Munier grapes.
The Wine Maker
“Because we have a strong connection with Mother Nature, we are looking to preserve it, in the purest possible way.” – J. Charpentier
Located in Champagne, France is where you will find J. Charpentier Winery. Here is where they choose to honor and respect the land through a minimal intervention of “manufacturing” and immerse themselves in manual labor.
When I state their is a story behind every bottle of wine, there truly is a story waiting to be told, heard, and digested. If you have the chance to open a bottle of Charpentier, you must realize you are uncorking a vintage that has been respected, preserve, and understood with care. They plough their vineyards, use organic fertilizers, and the waste is reprocessed. There is no question as to what you are receiving in a bottle from this winery.
They are true artisans who have worked hard to master their craft and it presents itself in the process and taste. Once the grapes are harvested and pressed, the wines are matured in stainless-steel vats, barrels or oak tanks. Next comes the blending process which involves them tasting through each batch.
When they have chosen the right blends, the wine will be bottled. Once it is bottled, each one is placed laying down in the cellar for a period of time with the intention of maturing it. During this maturing process there is a second alcoholic fermentation that will happen. Making high-quality champagne is no easy task or intended to be rushed.
After two to ten years have passed, each bottle is partially moved on the racks, and another part automatically on gyropalettes and then disgorged and dosed out. I promise you I didn’t make up the word “gyropalettes.” In sommelier school we learned about these during my course on champagne. A gyropalette is a piece of equipment used in the production of sparkling wine, such as Champagne, in this case, that is made by the traditional method, where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle. Once this is completed the bottle will remain there a few more months until the determined time to be removed.
Truly a taste of luxury or luxury located in a bottle. After I poured this champagne into a champagne glass the aroma hit me in the face with delight. On the nose, as we call it in the sommelier world, I picked up aromas of citrus, peach, lemon, slight butter, toast, pear and apple. After smelling it for a few minutes I tried to place myself in Champagne, France at the J. Charpentier Winery.
Looking at this yellow-gold liquid, I wanted to take in the smell of the land and its soil, air, and experience the harvesting process as much as I could through this bottle. As I placed the glass near my mouth for a taste, it initiated my taste buds and my mouth was watering. Notes of citrus, peach, butter, lemon, crisp apple, toast, pear, and honey dew rushed through my mouth. It was acidic and bold in flavor.
If you are looking to tour France without leaving the comfort of your home, I suggest you pick up a bottle of Charpentier Champagne. You will not regret it.
Are you concerned about what this can be paired with when it comes to planning your menu? Do not fear because champagne is versatile. Initiate your food journey with a choice of soft cheeses that are buttery and earthy in flavor. Take into consideration one of the following three or all of them such as Swiss, Munster, or Gorgonzola.
Let’s talk main dishes. A champagne of this caliber will pair well with roasted pork loin, and pork chops with apples. Not a fan of the pork, but looking to indulge in something lighter? I urge you to contemplate fresh Salmon dressed with fresh herbs, Salmon sushi, Salmon tacos or grilled Tuna steaks.
Fish may not be a high point in your cuisine but smoked turkey is another delicious pairing with Charpentier. Perhaps going meatless is your preference. Then acknowledge the opportunity to grace your table with fresh made cheese-filled ravioli in a homemade red sauce. Do you want to feel adventurous, try Gorgonzola stuffed ravioli.
For years we have been taught and conditioned this powerful and delightful bubbly drink should be put aside for special occasions. May I suggest you join me in breaking the mold and bend the rules a little. Recognize by adding champagne to your “everyday” or “monthly” drinking list will enhance your palate and drinking options. In my opinion we all need a little effervescence in our lives. Why not make it champagne? Charpentier Champagne maybe considered a touch on the expensive side for those on a budget, but it’s worth the splurge and a great starting point.
Price: $45-46 a bottle
Location: Bag and String Wine Merchants
Looking for more delicious inspiration? Follow The Traveling Somm on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.