Champagne Wishes and Monetary Limitations: Affordable Champagne Tasting

Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut – $8.99


wwenhuang: For the $ this is a great deal. Dry, refreshing, with nice tight bubbles and a hint of sweetness.
aglassofwine: Simply put, Best Value; dry and crisp

Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Brut – $37.99

wwenhuang: This particular pour compared to the previous seemed to have more guts to it, a little bit more complexity and a mild yeastiness to it. I got hints of citrus as well. Its VERY drinkable, I looked down and to my despair the glass was empty.
aglassofwine: dry, crisp
Drappier Sendree Cuvee de Prestige Brut 2000 – $44.99

wwenhuang: Alas, I loved this one and its the most expensive! It surpassed most of the others in complexity. It started out with a tart sweetness and finished on a more savory note for me. I suspect depending on what you eat you could bring out a nuttiness in it as well.

aglassofwine: tinge of sweetness at the end; not as bony. Quite graceful

Gloria Ferrer Cuvee Royal Brut 1997 – $21.99

wwenhuang: The majority of our tasters felt that this was a particularly watery champagne and I would have to agree. It ended with a odd sourness and was mostly flat tartness.

Roederer Estate Brut – $44.99

wwenhuang: This is a very straight forward champagne, with less subtle flavors and more bold citrus and apple. The bubbles were less tight, but overall I would say this champagne rates as so-so in my book.

Chandon Brut – $12.99

wwenhuang: Dry, Crisp, drinkable, but nothing to swoon over.

Moet White Star Brut – $34.99

wwenhuang: This was a particularly good pour with a good level of dryness along with great complexity, yeast, and mild hint of sweetness. This is a nice classic rich champagne that has a good balance of fruit and mineral. It won over many of our tasters.

aglassofwine: Best of Tasting

Vollereaux Brut Rose – $26.99

wwenhuang: This was not what you would expect from a Rose. I found myself hoping someone would finish my glass for me so I would have more room for other bottles. It had a tartness and bitterness that did not compliment well with its bold fruitiness and watery texture.

aglassofwine: This was a disappointment; someone said it tasted like fruitilops (sp)

Mumm Napa Cuvee M – $15.99

wwenhuang: I enjoyed this bottle but to be honest the bubbles had gotten to my head by this point. I tasted some hints of citrus, apple, and yeast. The bubbles were not as fine as other pours and it was not an interesting drink compared to most others. All in all I would say this is drinkable, but forgettable.

Vietti Moscato d’Asti 2006 – $11.99

wwenhuang: Typical of an asti this is a sweet, floral, fruity wine that is reminiscent of biting into a ripe peach and apple all at once. The nose is to die for, if only I could distill it into perfume form. A completely different animal compared to champagne, this is dessert to the very end.
aglassofwine: This is a simple, easy to drink sparkling wine. Yet, it had the best nose of ALL the tastings. Floral. Fun, happy drink. One of my favorites of the tasting, because of its distinct aromas.

Shooting Star Bubbles – $16.99

wwenhuang: This was an interesting red sparkling. Just by virtue of being a sparkling syrah, it has kind of a spicy, fruitiness to it. However, the finish is quite tart and can be bitter. I much rather prefer the other sparklings to this one.

wwenhuang: In summary, champagne is not necessary my forte either, but I do have to say that with the right pairing it could give many good wines a run for their money. The bubbles to get to your head quicker, and it’s so fun to drink. I would love to do this again with specific pairings, the flavors can be so subtle that the right food could really create a new experience.

aglassofwine: I can’t say for Wendy, but personally, I’m not a champagne girl. Give me still wine anytime. I’m all about the nose, and I just couldn’t get enough of it with the champagnes. Maybe, someone ought to teach me how to appreciate the bubbles… Nonetheless, I had an superbly enjoyable time. Good food (egg lasagna, crossaints, whole leg of ham, salad, bowls of fresh fruit), great company. 🙂


6 responses to “Champagne Wishes and Monetary Limitations: Affordable Champagne Tasting

  1. obviously, you were paying a ton more attention than me! haha. i think i was mostly just chugging it down. aye.

  2. Only thing I’d add is that the Mumm Napa Cuvee M was very sweet – definitely the fruitiest of all the champagnes we tried, but not quite on the level of a demi-sec (and certainly not anywhere near as fruity as the asti). It was a pleasant sweetness, though, unlike demi-secs which make me a little nauseous.

    Fortunately, the rose was rather watery in its insipid sweetness, or else it might have actually made me nauseous.

  3. Oh, I also want to add that the French non-vintage champagnes had the expected chalkiness that was missing from the American champagnes. As you might expect, the vintage champagnes were much more distinctive than the rest of the field.

    I was a little disappointed that the quality of the French house – Moet & Chandon – was not reflected in their Napa vineyard, Chandon. This was also apparent in the Roederer Estate champagne, the California counterpart to famed Louis Roederer, producer of Cristal. That bottle was the best of the American champagnes (slightly edging out the Mumm Napa, but the Mumm is a very different style), but doesn’t justify its price as the Drappier or Moet White Star are both better.

  4. One more note – the Moet White Star is considered an extra dry. Cuvee M is considered extra dry or demi-sec depending on whom you ask.

  5. Jon – maybe the American vineyards were pitching to the American palatte?

  6. I’ll have to agree with the two bloggers here that the Moet was my favorite. Maybe it’s just cause this was at the very beginning of fall and I had been enjoying many wheat beers over the summer and love the yeasty flavor, my favorite at the last tasting also had a very yeasty quality.

    I will say that given the cost I was the most impressed by the first one. I think I’ve always been turned off by champagnes cause I generally don’t like spending much on my wine and have had trouble finding good cheap ones.

    And Jon, the French have generally complained that due to the moisture of CA that the grapes come out much sweeter, fruitier. I’m not sure that the French can reproduce their generally dry style with those grapes regardless of what they do.

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