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Live Your Best Food Life: Champagne Edition

By Chef Amanda Jackson

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Millennials have a couple of distinct calling cards as consumers and travelers. We understand great experiences and amenities while valuing impact and occasions. We took it seriously when Auntie Oprah told us to “live your best life.” Being one of those millennials, I believe in living my best FOOD life and scouring the world for the best in food and beverage. In this edition, we’ll be taking a crash course on champagne!

 

First thing’s first: true champagne is a sparkling wine that is grown, bottled, and fermented in Champagne, France. Typically, champagne is produced from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes; however, the only other grapes that can be used are Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Meslier, and Arbane. The process of champagne making is strictly regulated by the Appellation d’Origine Controlée, and lucky for us, because living our best food life means having the best, real champagnes! Use this little guide to source the best champagnes and make your next toast your best toast!

 

 

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée, $50-$60

Aÿ, Champagne, France

@champagne_bollinger | Instagram

Taste:  Golden color, medium to full bodied flavors, fine bubbles, and notes of pears, brioche bread, and spicy aromatics

Experience:  Tours of this vineyard are available by appointment only and can be booked here.

 

Pol Roger Brut, $50-$60

Epernay, France

@pol_roger | Instagram

Tasting Notes:  Pale golden color, slowly matured for fuller flavor, medium bodied, velvety bubbles, and notes of pear, smoke, candied lemon peels, and ginger

Experience:  You’ll need to know someone to tour this champagne house as the tours are by invitation only.  Seriously, if you know a good sommelier, this is the favor you should be asking for. 

 

Larmandier-Bernier Latitude, $50 – $60

Vertus, France

@larmandier.bernier | Instagram

Tasting Notes: Deep golden hue, medium bodied, delicate bubbles, highly aromatic, and notes of apple, fennel pollen, baked bread, and saffron

Experience:  The estate is open Monday – Friday by appointment only. Plan ahead and send an email to the vineyard at: champagne@larmandier.fr 

 

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut, $60 – $70

Reims, France

@veuveclicquot | Instagram

Tasting Notes:  Medium straw to yellow color, full-bodied, crisp bubbles, and notes of bright ripe fruits and cream

Experience:  Tours are available of the Veuve Clicquot champagne cellars are available and open to the public Tuesday – Saturday.  Plan your trip and purchase tickets here.

Special Note:  This champagne house is one of the originators of rosé, and my absolute favorite!  Reservations are STRONGLY recommended for their tours.

 

Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs, $90 – $100

Reims, France

@ruinart | Instagram

Tasting Notes:  Golden yellow hue, 100% Chardonnay grapes, bright and aromatic bubbles, and notes of vibrant fruits, toasted almonds, honey, and minerals from the rich terroir

Experience:  Tours to this champagne cellar are available Tuesday – Saturday by reservation only.  Visit their site here to set it up!

 

Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve, $60 – $70

Aÿ, Champagne, France

@champagne_billecart_salmon

Tasting Notes:  Straw yellow hues, recognizably slow rising bubbles, full-bodied and precise flavor, maturely aromatic, and has notes of ripe stone fruits and roses 

Experience:  Tours and tastings are available at this historical site Monday – Friday by reservation only.  Make your plan to visit here!

 

 

 

 

 

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