Just as crisp white linen, dining al fresco and blockbuster movies are the stuff of summer, so are new wines from Champagne to toast the golden, sun-drenched season.
Champagne is the ideal summer wine: it’s light, chilled for maximum refreshment and has the crisp flavors to compliment warm weather foods from fresh peaches and heirloom tomatoes to halibut and yellowfin tuna. But this year there are some surprises—from Champagne designed to sip over ice to Champagne in a six-pack. For your summertime sipping pleasure, we’ve assembled some of the best new Champagnes to check out.
Fermented and Aged in Oak
Billecart-Salmon Sous Bois
Once upon a time, oak aging was a common practice in Champagne. The wood contact gives young wines more depth and richness. By the 1950s, most houses switched to fermenting in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. But a few elite houses like Krug, Bollinger and Pierre Peters, which does partial oak fermentation on their Blanc de Blancs, retained the tradition.
Billecart-Salmon joins that coterie with their new Brut Sous Bois Champagne, which is fermented and aged in oak barrels. The current release, a blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, shows a gravitas flavors that include toast and earth. It’s the kind of champagne that would pair perfectly with black miso cod, a New York steak or roasted hen with black truffles.
And, just like all the other wines in the Billecart-Salmon range, the Sous Bois carries a QR code that can be scanned to reveal all the stats about the wine: the assemblage of grapes, the date it was disgorged and more.
Ice is Nice
Veuve Clicquot Rich
Once upon a time, adding ice cubes to your glass of Champagne was considered déclassé. But legend has it, we have Remy Krug’s epic summer parties on the Riviera to thank for normalizing drinking champagne on the rocks.
Veuve Clicquot Rich was developed to be at its best served over ice, says Sheila Hackbarth, the Northern California Sales Director with Moët Hennessey USA. Straight from the bottle, Rich feels a bit heavy on the palate and sweeter than expected. But add ice or cocktail ingredients with acidity, and Rich achieves the ideal level of dilution. The red, white and pink spritz cocktails with Rich were one of the popular tipples at Veuve’s party at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco’s Solare Terasse.
Extra Brut Beats the Heat
Bruno Paillard 2013 Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut
Years ago at a San Francisco tasting by the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, I met Bruno Paillard, who founded his label in 1981. Today, the family-owned maison is run by daughter Alice Paillard.
Just in time for summer, the house is releasing their 2013 Champagne Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut. The wine is made from 100% Chardonnay sourced from top Grand Cru vineyards in Oger, Côte des Blancs, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Partial fermentation in old oak barrels gives it more depth to balance the crispness from the fruit. The winery says “primary notes of cooled ashes and white flowers open slowly to reveal white peach, lemon verbena and fresh almond balanced by the slightly fleshy fruitiness of plums, followed by roasted hazelnuts.”
B. Stuyvesant Mini Champagne Variety 6-Pack
The 187ml bottle first became popular as the favorite accessory of supermodels getting down on the dance floor in the 1990s. But we still think splits are the perfect size for slipping into a purse or backpack so you can enjoy a fine bubbly on a boat, by the pool or on a picnic.
One of our favorite summer 187ml champagne offerings is the Mini Champagne Variety 6- Pack from B. Stuyvesant, a range created by Marvina Robinson, a Brooklyn financier and longtime champagne lover. After years of visiting Champagne and seeking out boutique grower wines, Robinson planned to open a champagne bar. The first step was partnering with a woman vigneron in the Marne Valley (?) to create her B. Stuyvesant wines, named after her home borough. When the pandemic put her wine bar opening on indefinite hold, Robinson began selling her champagne, and it took off.
Today, the B. Stuyvesant range includes a brut rosé, a reserve champagne aged 40 t0 46 months, a delicate and floral blanc de blancs, and a demi sec. The Mini Champagne Variety Pack includes three bottles of the Reserve Cuvée and three bottles of blanc de blancs, along with six champagne sipping cones and a QR code for Robinson’s go-to champagne sipping playlist.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Cocoon
With their iconic bottle adorned with white anemone flowers, it’s hard not to think of Perrier- Jouët when summer blooms fill our gardens. To celebrate the new season, each year the brand collaborates with a designer or visual artist known for their work with flowers.
For 2023, the house created a cream-colored Belle Epoque Cocoon to fit the Belle Epoque Brut and Brut Rosé bottles. The first thing that strikes you is the design: it’s shaped like a pouring flagon etched with a curling anemone motif. But it’s not just pretty: the eco-minded Cocoon is made of paper pulp from sustainably managed forests and a soupçon of recycled grapevine wood. And since it’s 93% lighter than the previous P-J case, it takes less jet fuel to ship it to a wine shop near you.
This article originally appeared on Alcohol Professor and was syndicated by MediaFeed.
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