Week 6 - Virtual Tasting for Charity - Champagne and your Pet!!!

Theme: Champagne, Champagne, Champagne!!
Host: David Bueker
Matching donors: Brig
Date: December 28th - January 4th
Format: David will donate $5 per tasting note. $10 if your animal photo bombs!!!

Brig will donate $5 for every picture of your pet regardless if you post a tasting note, bonus $5 if it’s a rescue. Good stories about your pet are appreciated.

About the Charity: Dakin Humane society http://www.dakinhumane.org/

Dakin Humane Society is a community supported animal welfare organization that provides shelter, medical care, spay/neuter services, and behavioral rehabilitation for more than 20,000 animals each year. Since its inception in 1969, Dakin has become one of the most recognized nonprofit organizations in the Pioneer Valley and a national leader in animal welfare.

Quick links to find bottles for the cellartracker crowd.

Champagne https://www.cellartracker.com/list.asp?table=List&Country=France&Region=Champagne

Can we pin this?

Let’s hear it for our furry friends. Laura and I support Dakin, the place where we adopted our two boys, Houdini and Deus.
That’s Deus on the left, and his brother Houdini on the right. They were in adjacent cages at the shelter, and thankfully we wanted two cats. Six years after we rescued them they still like to be together.

’02 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs - Currently one of my favorite house Champagnes. Quite vivacious effervescence, but the color has a bit of depth to it. At a good crossroad between a youthful mouthfeel and finish combined with adolescent flavors. Plenty of yellow fruit with just a hint of caramel. Probably won’t be a great 40 year Champagne but I do think it has a at least 10-15 years of prime time drinking left in it. Excellent plus.

The first “important” picture is one of Henry and Teddy. Henry, whose original name is unknown, was adopted from a kill shelter in NYC earlier this year. He’s now 9yo and besides the extensive dental surgery he needed, is in great shape - now that he’s gained a few pounds - and quite spry for his age.

Teddy is a Chinese Crested and Pomeranian and/or Papillon mix and is now about three years old. He was brought to a vet in Tennessee in the beginning of 2015, and his owners never returned for him. After the mandated 35 day wait, the vet’s office offered him up for adoption and a rescue group from NJ took him. I adopted him from the rescue group in June 2015. His original name was Gizmo, but my younger daughter insisted on re-naming him Teddy, as in teddy bear.

The third pic is Chloe which is her original name. She was at the same kill shelter as Henry and I rescued her in early 2015. She’s approximately six and is most likely Havanese and maybe a mix with Lhasa Apso.

What great dogs. Thanks for taking care of them.

As you know, taking care of them is a small price to pay for what they give back.

I will open some Champagne over the weekend. But in the mean time, this is our cat Toby. The picture on the left is him trying out his new bed the day we adopted him from Purrfect Pals up in the Seattle area. On the right is him several years later, refusing to accept the fact that he doesn’t fit in that bed any more.

This is my dog and his name is fluffy.

Actually, nothing in that statement is true.

  1. He is not my dog, it’s my goddaughter’s but the dog loves me more than anyone else.

  2. Fluffy is not a boy, she’s female but I mix my pronouns which drives everyone crazy.

  3. Her name isn’t fluffy but I called her that since a pup and now it’s stuck. They’re not happy about that either.

Fluffy’s favorite activities are watching football on the couch on Sunday, car rides to Home Depot, and smelling other dog shit.

’02 Dom Ruinart - This week I’ve been opening Champagnes that are younger than I normally do. My daughter has been staying with me this week and her novice Champagne drinking preference is more youthful rather than mature, so I’ve been indulging her. At least until tomorrow. Lemon on the nose, creamy texture and vanilla custard (in a youthful way, not the custard one can find with much older Champagnes) on the finish. Not profound, but a really solid wine. My daughter liked it better than the '02 Pol Roger BdB, but not as much as the '96 DP. There is hope for her yet! '02 Ruinart BdB was a good value when it was released around six years ago, and since the price hasn’t risen much since then, it’s now a great value. Teddy gives it an Excellent

  • NV Henri Goutorbe Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (12/29/2016)
    Still a winner for us. This bottle (or maybe this evening) gave us a slight citrus (blood orange?) to go with the usual rose, strawberry, clove, and slight bitterness. We always have this wine on hand.

Posted from CellarTracker

Kyser is our “rescue dog”. Eleven years ago HRH was making that inevitable and horrible trip to the vet with our previous Golden. We were trying to decide whether or not we wanted another puppy. In the parking lot, we bumped into a young lady who was bringing three puppies for treatment for Ringworm on their tails (Kyser still has a bald spot and a comb-over). The young lady told us that her ex-husband vindictively told her that he had spayed her dog right before the divorce—SURPRISE, he was lying, and she became an unexpected grandmother to a litter of pups. She was desperately looking for homes for the dogs. We like to tell Kyser that we rescued each other. He’s sitting on my foot as I type.
Many CTers and Berserkers have been able to get to know our wine-loving, hair machine. He is well loved by all who know him.
His partner in crime in the photo is Malcolm, our daughter’s Flat Coated Retriever. He follows Kyser everywhere and copies every movement and sound.

I opened a 375 ml of N.V. Besserat de Bellefon Champagne Cuvée des Moines Brut Rose that I’ve had for well over 10 years, and it was definitely showing its age. It just released a soft sigh when I pulled the cork, and it is on the flat side, mainly showing its carbonation through a prickle of acidity on the tongue. Quite a bit of oxidation on the nose, but less unpleasant on the palate with bread and a hint of apricot.

Here’s a picture of Samuel posing with the bottle (involuntarily), and I suspect he is planning his revenge for this indignity. I adopted Samuel from Furkids, a local rescue, 4 years ago almost to the day. After losing my previous cat in May 2011 (a private rescue who was with me for 11 years), I would periodically drop by the cat adoption area at a local PetSmart, with the thought that I’d know the right fur face when I met him or her.

I first met him while Christmas shopping in 2012 and he started to worm his way into my heart when he greeted me with a “meow” and came up to the front of the cage so I could rub his face. I returned over the weekend when they let the cats out of the cages for the day and spent a few hours with him, and I knew he was the right match. Over the last 4 years, it’s clear I made the correct call. He loves to play and to snuggle next to me on the couch, but he still hasn’t figured out how to manage acceleration and turns on hardwood floors.

Kyser gets another bottle this week.

  • 2009 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Terre de Vertus Premier Cru - France, Champagne (12/30/2016)
    Too young, but I couldn’t resist. Lots of yeasty brioche with a background of raw honey, Camembert rind, and a faint hint of lemony menthol. I have one remaining and will bury it for quite a few years.

Posted from CellarTracker

I’m trying to cull through some bottles that have been laying around, so I pulled a bottle of N.V. Bruno Paillard Champagne Rosé Brut Première Cuvée. It was disgorged in July 1998 and hasn’t stored well over the past 15 years, but has held up surprisingly well. Bready with a hint of strawberries, it isn’t terribly complex and is a little bitter on the finish, but is still pretty fresh and is quite tasty with popcorn.

Here’s another picture of Samuel for good measure.

David, thank you for closing out the weeks of charity, in a way that aligns great with the end of the year.

Pictured below is my dog Bailey. He will be 17 in February. He, along with his brother, were dogs we got as puppies back in 2000, about 3 months before Jill and I were married. The photo of the dogs, being held by Jill and I, was the ‘sign in’ board for our wedding in May of that same year.

Earlier this year, we lost Spencer, who was Bailey’s brother. He was a best friend, and when we had to say goodbye to Spencer on March 21st (losing a friend like this, dog or person, the date never leaves me), Bailey was what kept us going through the grief and absence of losing what felt like one of our children. We have 34 year old people twins, but we also have fur children, as we say. We’re not sure how long Bailey will go, as he is slowing down a lot, but we love him like Spencer, and he is a part of us. PS–the red balloons on his back leg are his doggy shoes so he can get traction on our floors.

  • 2006 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne (12/31/2016)
    Bought this in 2014. Been through a lot of Rose bubbly since then, mainly NV Dethune, NV Goutorbe and NV Saves, which for me are all screaming values in the $40-$50 realm. This Pol Roger was $80 and I’ll admit to using those wines, probably the Saves as my reference point. There is a density here that I appreciate, maybe just a bit sappier is what I want to say. Lightly salmon colored, with red apple, blood orange, nice zesty feel with supporting mineral and a nice finishing yeasty note. In terms of dosage, I would say this is in maybe the higher part of the register but with the chill I have on it, it’s just fine. The blood orange like flavor carries the finish and is persistent, too. This drinks really well.

Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks everyone. Love seeing your furry family members.

  • NV Champagne Le Mesnil Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (12/31/2016)
    Pretty darn tasty Le Mesnil for the money! Little sharp at first on the bubbles…very fresh with tons of citrus, crisp acidity…lemon, green apple, grapefruit……has a nice creme to it…little caramel, yeast dough, ginger mousse……lavender honey……good crunch and minerality as well. Reminds me of a NV Pierre Peters with a little more yeast to it. If you can’t afford to drink Salon every week…this will do!! (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Does my avatar count? Obviously, this photo predates this year’s NYE, but here is Zeke assisting in the celebratory opening of a 1995 Billecart Salmon. Originally adopted from Pets Lifeline of Sonoma by our neighbor, Marcy (who owns Bacchus & Venus wine in Sausalito) Zeke moved in once it was clear I needed a sophisticated drinking buddy to help me truly appreciate the finer things in life.

Not champagne, but the second pic highlights our epiphany-pairing of a 2011 Andre Ostertag Hessenberg Riesling Alsace with Fancy Feast Ocean Fish.

We’ll take it. Excellent cat!

Vino is an eight year-old Shiloh Shepard. He’s a really big baby.

NV Pierre Peters BdB - disgorged January 2016. Notes of green apple. Very acidic at this point which is to be expected based on the disgorgement date. After 20 minutes, getting some green apple and citrus but the acid never goes away. I’ll be getting more, but will not consume for several years.

NV Henriot Brut Souverain - Notes of citrus and bread. Well balanced with nice brioche flavors.

’04 Taittinger CdC - I just took a small taste of this to make sure it was sound. Vibrant lemons with a touch of smoke. Not enough of it or long enough with it to rate.

’02 Taittinger CdC - Even though I only had a small taste of the '04, this was for me, clearly a step up. Similar nose and palate, but much better acidity and intensity. I’ll drink the '04 over the next 20 years, and the '02 over the next 40 (hopefully). Excellent plus now, with surely higher grades in its future.

’73 Dom Perignon - Very difficult cork to remove which is always a very good sign when it isn’t due to fragility. Light golden color with lively effervescence especially for its age. '73 is probably my favorite vintage for Champagne during the decade. This bottle had the best of its fading youth and mature flavors of coffee and almond with plenty of fruit to compliment it. At a perfect place. Staggering plus.

’64 Dom Perignon - The Champagne that was my epiphany for aged Champagne some years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve had diminishing returns with this Champagne over the past few years and figure those returns will only escalate over the next 5-10 years. Therefore, I have been drinking these up at a faster than normal rate and I’m down to only a few bottles. However, when you do open a perfect bottle, as this one was, it is a tremendous experience. Not much effervescence, but still there especially on the palate. Great creaminess on the palate with fresh ground coffee, marzipan, butterscotch and… and… Incredibly complex. Consumed before and after midnight, so potentially my wine of two years. Killer.

We drank a bottle of 2002 Dom Ruinart BdB (beige label, late disgorgement). It was sensational, although perhaps not in the way you might think. I have been through a half dozen of these (both disgorgements), but this was the first in at least a year. Maybe more.

The wine (or this bottle, in any event) had evolved. Or a least changed; I am sure some would be less than pleased with the “progress.” Early bottles were steely and crisp. Lots of citrus.

This wine was more oxidative, unctuous, yeasty and, well, wine-y. It was far more like an aged Montrachet with bubbles. I loved, loved, loved it; SWMBO was less enthusiastic. She agreed it had a very distinctive personality and “admired” it, but she was less besotted.

Anyway, I have 3 or 4 more bottles of this and will be very interested to see if subsequent bottles are more like the farewell-to-2016 bottle or the earlier, more vivacious bottles.