Saturday, August 8, 2009

Champagne is Life and Life is Champagne!

That was the refrain from a particularly debauched New Years I spent with friends in Montreal when I was in my early twenties. If Champagne had been the only thing I had imbibed that night I would have been far better off. As it was, the line "Champagne is Life and Life is Champagne!", usually said with lots of exclamation points, in a loud, bravura voice become a refrain for my small group of friends for many years to come.
The only reason I relate that memory of unbridled, youthful ebullience and excess is because last night I joined some new friends for a dinner at the superb Double Crown restaurant on the Bowery.

As we were celebrating a birthday, a bottle of bubbly was in order, and as Neil's flu had prevented us from hosting the dinner as originally planned at our house he instructed me to buy a bottle of "something special."

When I first looked at the bubbly list I saw the usual suspects, Veuve, Dom, Pol Roger...but after a moment and some focus I saw the obvious choice, a bottle I had been eying at Astor Place for ages, but had yet to find a special enough occasion to justify buying it, the cult favorite: Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus

The thing that makes this Champagne so special is that unlike the big boys in the bubbly business Larmandier-Bernier is grown biodynamically. So you're getting pure, authentic Champagne made with organic grapes in the traditional style, no irrigation, no herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The real deal.

Larmandier-Bernier are so concerned with terroir that the label is a picture of dirt! Love that.

It would be silly for me to go on about the taste as I'm hardly a wine expert and always sort of smirk when I read descriptions of champagne as "tasting of toasted Brioche." What I can tell you is that it was delicious, crisp, with a nice tartness, and just a touch of sweet. It was fun to savor and felt good to be ordering a bottle of champagne that not only was delicious, but was made without the use of any chemical or newfangled short cut.

It's so nice to have an option to the big boys who just want your money while they continue to use destructive and harmful chemicals to maintain their vines and destroy the planet.

Next time you need to celebrate, remember Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus Champagne.

The wine making couple

One of their sons, helping out.

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