Lynn and I joined a group of friends at Lalime's in Berkeley for New Year's Eve -- I'll post on the meal itself on the San Francisco Bay Area board. See http://www.lalimes.com/
We began our evening with a bottle of:
n.v. Egly-Ouriet Brut 1er Cru “Les Vignes de Vrigny,” Vignes de Pinot Meunier (Champagne, France): This is a rare Champagne from many points-of-view, but specifically because it is produced exclusively from Pinot Meunier grapes, from 40+ year old vines grown in the village of Vrigny. (Note: only Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes are used in making Champagne, and Pinot Meunier is definitely the “minor” player in the trio.) The wine spent 40 months aging en tirage, and was disgorged in November 2007. Pale gold in color, with a greenish tinge, the wine displays a tiny bead and lively mousse; the bouquet is quite pronounced, with yellow plums, raspberries, and light spice, and accented with toasted brioche and a hint of chalk; the wine is round on the palate, very dry, with firm acidity; the flavors are rich, with good plum and raspberry fruit and spice; the finish is crisp, with good length. Very fine indeed.
And we ended our evening by welcoming 2009 with a bottle of:
n.v. Egly-Ouriet Extra Brut “Viellissement Prolongé” Grand Cru, Vignes d'Ambonnay, Bouzy, et Verzenay (Champagne, France): This wine is a more traditional blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier, all from the Grand Cru villages mentioned above. It spent 58 months on the yeast, and was disgorged in May of 2007. The wine is a pale gold in color, tinged with green at the rim; there is a fine bead and quite lively mousse; the bouquet is more austere, with chalky notes, minerality and yeasty brioche up front, combined with floral notes, lemon peel, and hazelnotes; on the palate, the wine is very dry, very focused and very high in acidity, wth chalk, mineral notes, roasted hazelnuts and baked apple and apricot fruit; the finish is crisp, dry, and tart. Excellent.
Cheers -- and Happy New Year,
1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706