Is there any occassion that a bottle of bubbly would not improve? We at Hobnob don’t think so. Whether you are a purist who focuses on Champagne alone, or one who loves domestic, Spanish, or Italian versions, we have some great suggestions for your next celebration. Even if that means it’s Friday night.
The founder of this brand, Thomas Brems, spent his summers abroad in France at his mother‘s tiny restaurant in Aix-en-Othe. Now, at 25-years old, this importer and attorney has combed through the best grower vineyards to create his very own label, Victorieux.
If you’re not familiar with grower champagne, here’s a little lesson. Grower champagne is chosen for its signature terroir whose complex vines (some more than 100 years old) have been finessed for generations. As a result, each vintage is a unique, limited-run expression of these independent champagne growers.
Because of his familial connections, Thomas is able to produce a grower-to-glass experience on this side of the Atlantic, just as its done in France. This makes it very special as only 5% of Champagne imported into the US is grower Champagne.
“We curate our portfolio with the purposes of illuminating the undiscovered, sharing the emotion and terroir of grower champagne, and importing only environmentally sustainable wines.” says Thomas Brems.
Luckily, I got to have a first sip at its NYC debut, care of Blaine Ashley’s tasting at Corkbuzz, and was duly impressed. Of the six bottles on the scene, the Victorieux Brut Rose was my absolute fave. A blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, it is fruity and fresh without being too sweet.
Each person at the tasting had a different favorite though, so it’s worth checking out the entire line. The Grand Cru Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs 2008 is barrel-aged with cork and staple to allow more oxidation, a very traditional, age-old method. A perfect choice for that special celebration or gift. Rose, about $30. Grand Cru, about $105. vchampagne.com
At the tasting, from left, David Valauri, champagne consultant and importer, Coeur de Cuvée, the hostess Blain Ashley, founder of NYC Champagne Week, and Wanda Mann, who explores the world and writes about wine in The Black Dress Traveler.
Here I am holding my favorite bottle, Victorieux Brut Rose. I adore the minimalist simplicity of the label design. Right, also loved the La Perle de Treilles-Brut, see more about it below.
Champagne Yannick Prevoteau
Another import from Thomas Brems at the tasting, Champagne Yannick Prevoteau comes from Vallée de la Marne. The three different varieties on hand were immediately distinguishable, so pronounced was their individuality. And all quite good in their own way. I tend to like rounder wines, with lots of little bubbles, so my favorite was the La Perle de Treilles-Brut, with the gold label. It was a bit wheat-y, and was absolutely silky going down the throat. The black label, La Perle de Treilles-Nature, had a lot more tannins and was tight and grassy. champagne-yannick-prevoteau.fr
Who could resist this ultra decorative bottle? It’s almost a party unto itself. This prosecco is produced using the Charmat method—whose secondary fermentation happens in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, instead of the bottle, producing soft, gentle bubbles. Clean and fresh, with flavors of green apple, grapefruit, and lemon. Freixenet Prosecco DOC NV’s striking etched bottle makes a great hostess gift. About $22. freixenetusatrade.com
Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
This bottle also wins a beauty contest. Produced using the same method as Champagne, but not from the region, thereby giving it the lower price tag. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle in an ancient underground stone cellar where mineral elements promote effervescence as the wines age. Made with a blend of Pinot Noir 55%, Chenin Blanc 30%, Chardonnay 15%, Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé NV has notes of red currant, pink grapefruit, and raspberries. About $18. gratienmeyer.com
Segura Viudas Brut NV
Made in the traditional method, spending 15 months in a dark cave, this bubbly from Spain is approachable enough to be enjoyed on its own and complex enough to hold its own during a meal. Segura Viudas Brut NV is made with only hand-picked fruit and indigenous yeasts. It’s an enjoyable sip with bright acidity with notes of lime, pineapple, and white flowers. A bargain at about $12. Great for when you need a case for an intimate bash. seguraviudasusa.com
Mionetto Prestige Organic Prosecco
For those looking for organic, this sparkling wine is a direct reflection of the terroir it comes from and without the influence of pesticides or chemicals. Mionetto was the first to produce a Prosecco made from organically-grown grapes, and its house-style is focused on absolute freshness. Mionetto Prestige Organic Prosecco DOC Extra Dry NV has a delicate nose of elderflower and honey. About $16. usa.mionetto.com
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV
For something closer to home, this brand from Sonoma is a pure labor of love, made with hand-harvested grapes. This winery has won over 500 gold medals and fifty 90+ ratings in the last five years and is the first sparkling winery in Carneros. Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV is complex with ample fruit expression, and has lovely citrus, toast and apple flavors, and a persistent effervescence. About $22. gloriaferrer.com