The summer of 2016 was a game-changer for me when it came to the bubbly. That was the season I took a class on champagne and sparkling wine (A big “thanks” to my instructor Sue Slater—chair of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management program at Cabrillo College—for her devotion and passion to the drink).
Now no offense to sparkling wine, but my world—and palate—was rocked due to my exposure to a broader range of champagne, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a world of difference from sparklers produced outside of the Champagne region.
The topic of champagne versus sparkling wine is one left for another day. What I really want to share with you dear readers is one of my favorite champagnes—one in which I hope you will imbibe this holiday season, and beyond.
I’m talking about J-M Sélèque Solessence, NV Brut Champagne, a bubbly I happily and frequently lap up. A blend of 50 percent Chardonnay, 40 percent Pinot Meunier and 10 percent Pinot Noir from the 2013 harvest, this Brut also contains 50 percent of reserve wines from perpetual reserve.
The appearance is wheat in color with a soft, subtle pink hue. The beads are small and delicate, as is the mousse, and the perlage lasts a good 1 hour minimum.
The nose exhibits yeast, green apple, peach, grapefruit and stony salinity.
Medium-plus acid defines the palate, with flavors of grapefruit, orange rind, Frambois, fresh raspberry and fresh cranberry, all enveloped in a rich and creamy mouthfeel. The finish is a tad bitter, yet minerally and long.
I purr over this wine’s fine balance of traditional champagne varieties—there’s plenty of acidity to refresh the palate and complement food, yet enough fruit to enjoy on its own.
Pair this champagne with appetizers of Italian green olives; and crostini with Gorgonzola, cippolini, and a caramelized onion spread with parsley and grated walnut and olive oil drizzle.
Brut (“strong”): dry in style with less than 15 grams per liter (g/l) of residual sugar (RS)
Champagne: the region
champagne: the drink
Mousse: frothy stream of surface bubbles in a glass of champagne or sparking wine
Perlage: stream of bubbles originating at the bottom of the glass, like a pearl necklace