Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Celebrating Life with a Flute of Nicolas Feuillate Champagne

Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere and many a drop to drink!   Edible Skinny was lucky enough to have been invited to a private event at Spaghettini in Beverly Hills for the #1 Champagne brand in France: Nicolas Feuillatte (and #3 in the world after Moët & Chandon Champagne and Veuve Clicquot).  This event was a unique opportunity to taste through their back library while learning a little more about the unique world of these special tiny bubbles. 

The brand Nicolas Feuillatte was started in 1976 when French businessman Nicolas Feuillatte, who had built his fortune in New York as the largest U.S. importer of African coffee, decided to set his sites on a new project: Champagne.  Feuillatte acquired 12 hectares (about 30 acres) of vines in Bouleuse in the Champagne region of Ardre Valley (near Reims) and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte was founded.  It was immediately seen being sipped by the jet-set society crowd, amongst whom the lucky Monsieur Nicolas Feuillatte enjoyed friendships, including Jackie Kennedy and Lauren Bacall.

In the almost forty years since Feuillatte began his great experiment the house has grown to a sales number of 10 million bottles per year.  It is available in more than 76 countries worldwide and is part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates here in the United States.  

California is the biggest American market for Champagne; Nicolas Feuillatte does more business in our state than all the other 49 combined.  For our day at Spaghettini we sampled a myriad of bottles from their unique library (all tastings but one came from Magnum bottles as Magnum Champagne bottles are known to be more flavorful and nuanced than the same exact Champagne in your classic 750mLs).  


I was a big fan of their 2005 Blanc de Blancs ($50), which according to their winemaker Guillaume Roffiaen was the best vintage for Chardonnay of the last ten years.  The palate was bubbly swirls of honey, Brioche, and caramel.  Yummm!

Edible Skinny was also lucky enough to get to experience 3 selections from Nicolas Feuillatte’s Palmes D’Or list.   The brand’s Palmes d’Or tradition began in the 1950s when Monsieur Feuillatte was living in New York.  While there he fell madly in love with a young opera singer with a promising career.  From Paris to Milan, from London to New York, he attended all of the young woman’s concerts, courting her every chance he gets but the romance never met completion.  It would be more than thirty years before Nicolas Feuillatte could find a way to express his homage to an unrequited love: through the creation of the Palmes d’Or Champagne line.  Only exceptional harvest years are considered worthy of Palmes d’Or Champagne; they are then aged for a minimum of nine years.  
Feuillatte created an exceptional cuvée in the image of his Diva: extravagant, fantastical, sublime, and unforgettable.  Just as his Diva was inspired by black pearls, Feuillatte was inspired by this rare Diva and her precious jewels to create a bottle unlike any other.  Bedecked in black and gold, the bottle’s surface is engraved with a thousand delicate yet dramatic dimples, reflecting the shape and glow of the black pearl.

During our time at Spaghettini we were able to experience not 1, or 2, but 3 Palmes d’Or vintages (2002, 1999, and 1990).  The 2002 ($153) was a delicate taste of white flowers and honey laced with a murmur of fine and delicate bubbles.  Champagne gets more nuanced as it ages so by the time we got to the 1990 vintage I could experience an opera of explosions of toast and vanilla in every sip. 

So whether big or small all of life’s moments should be celebrated with a flute of champagne and some great music!

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