For the end of the year there is always the dilemma of what wines to pair with the culinary delights of the various Holiday tables. We’re also looking for quality wines as gifts yet we don’t want to break the bank.
To the rescue comes our resident wine authority, Kyle Meyer of Wine Exchange. The thoughtful buying philosophy of Wine Exchange is to purchase “little wines” from great producers. That’s where the great value comes in.
Kyle has the first installment of his best picks for quality and value for the Holidays. We’ll start with an outstanding Grower Champagne (Sanger Brut Grand Cru NV Blanc de Blanc Terroir Natal) that pairs well with most everything and comes with a heck of a good story.
“It’s not often you get to tell a story like this one and it’s also important to understand that this probably couldn’t happen here. True we don’t have Champagne vineyards close by like the high school that is the center of this story does. But, honestly, high school students being allowed to get involved with the production of alcoholic beverages simply wouldn’t play in America, period. This unique co-operative source all came about by a series of events.”
“In 1919, the war and phylloxera had pretty much trashed many wine producing areas in France. The Puisards, a successful merchant couple with no heirs, decided to donate their lands to the government on the condition that there would be a winemaking school created in Avize. That school, Avize Viti Campus, was officially founded in 1927 and, in 1952, the students and teachers along with local cellarmasters and winemakers, collaborated to produce a Champagne at the school.”
“Champagne Sanger is that Champagne, and it is a nod to the success of the school and the collaborative process, as well as the passing of practical knowledge from one class to another. Sanger is 100% Chardonnay, coming exclusively from the Grand Cru vineyards belonging to the school, from areas of Cramant, Oger and Avize, some owned by the school and some from local growers who are alumni. It sees 60 months en tirage (the minimum is only 15 months for the appellation) and is finished to a dosage of 6g/l.”
“It is extra brut without being overly aggressive, comes off as bone dry yet shows plenty of fruit (so many low dosage efforts are painfully dry) and plays sensationally with both food and by itself. This is truly Champagne made by Champenois and we recommend it highly for its price performance (all Grand Cru fruit for under $45!) and distinctive styling. It also has some unique character points as, along with the typical brioche, citrus and apple elements one typically finds from the area, there is also and engaging spice nuance and notes that remind one of red berries. Very cool bubbles from a very unique source, and very little of it crosses the ‘Pond’.”