Fall rolls around and we start stocking the shelves with new bubbles. We’ve picked the ones we liked best, and here’s an opportunity to see which of our favorites might be yours. We’ve got small houses, small growers and vintage Champagnes that you just don’t see everywhere. Space for this tasting is limited so contact us (just reply to this email) to reserve your space. We start at 5:30 on Sunday, have a few snacks to go with and you can still get home for Sunday dinner.
Ellner, Carte Blanche Brut $38
40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
A small family owned “house” that grows most of its own grapes in Epernay. Very aromatic, with mineral aromas and flavors, plus candied berry and citrus tones matched to a light body, lively structure and intense flavors.
2008 Delahaie, Brut $40
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir
In 1959, George Delahaie took over his parents’ vineyards in Epernay and set out, using 8 acres of the property, to make his own Champagne. In 1990, having no children of his own, he passed the estate down to his nephew, Jacques Brochet who modified the blends and brought in barrels for aging and conservation of the wines. The Delahaie is aged 4 years on lees before bottling.
Bruno Paillard, Brut Premier Cuvee $55
45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Meunier
The first aromas reveal the citrus character of the Chardonnay, such as lime and grapefruits. Red fruit aromas then come out, including redcurrant, raspberry, morello cherry – typical Pinot Noir. On leaving the wine to open up, candied fruits, even exotic fruits of Pinot Meunier appear with aromas of banana and pineapple. The palate is lively. The nose is confirmed by the first taste, including citrus, almonds, toasted bread and “brioche”… but also redcurrant jelly, and dark fruits like cherry, fig or blackberry. The palate is full, quite long, with a very clean finish.
2006 José Michel, Blanc de Blancs $55
José Michel’s Blanc de Blancs is only produced in the best vintages and sourced from their finest plots. The nose shows notes of peach, apricot and citrus while the palate is complex, layered and long. It is elegant and refined, reflecting the quality of the vintage.
Hubert Paulet, Brut Prestige Cuvee Risleus $80
Hubert Paulet’s Primier Cru Estate in Rilly sells half of their grapes to Billecart-Salmon, and makes their own wine with the other half. The Risleus is composed solely of older wines (around 10 years old!) ensuring excellent roundness and complexity. From 22-year-old vines growing happily with grass between the vineyard rows, this 1er Cru blend of Chardonnay, Pinots Noir and Meunier is mineraled, yet not austere, ripe apples are present on the opening, backed up with fresh bread and crushed sea shell. Now only in its fourth generation, Paulet is practicing biodynamics, leading to a steely purity on this classic, celebration-worthy Champagne.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.