always time for bubbly…
BY COLETTE BANCROFT
rance is one of my favorite travel destinations but, alas, one that my budget doesn’t let me visit often enough. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to console myself with a flute full of the flavor of France. Champagne is only as far away as the nearest wine store. (You can rest assured that if a wine is labeled “Champagne,” it really does hail from France. The appellation is fiercely protected.) Among Champagnes, the usual suspects are always delightful (Veuve Clicquot is a longtime favorite), but it’s lovely to try something new — and to find that an excellent Champagne doesn’t have to have a price tag in three figures.
PERTOIS-MORISET GRAND CRU BRUT BLANC DE BLANC One recent discovery for me is Pertois-Moriset Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blanc (about $40 at Total Wine). The winery was founded in 1951 by Yves Pertois and his wife, Janine Moriset, both third-generation winemakers. It’s run today by their son and his family, with 70 percent of their vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, including the four Grand Cru-rated villages of Cramant, Avize, Oger and Mesnil. The wine is an elegant pale straw color, and it explodes into a riot of tiny, vigorous bubbles in the glass, releasing aromas of ripe pear and yeasty brioche. Take a sip, and another, and those flavors layer over peaches and cream with hints of honey and vanilla, that rich mouth feel balanced by a subtle tart touch of clementine and a surprisingly crisp, stony finish. I’m happy to savor a wine this delicious all by itself, but in terms of food pairings, the Pertois-Moriset lends itself to a couple of the classics: oysters and caviar. Its lushness would provide a counterpoint to either the cool brininess of raw oysters or the smoky umami of caviar.