It’s the holidays! This time of year is the perfect time to pull out the bubbles! And if you are going to pull out bubbles, well, they may as well be from the region best known for them Champagne.
We are joining the French Winophiles Champagne Celebration this December!
Led by Jeff of Foodwineclick (you can read his invitation post here) the #Winophiles will be posting about Champagne on December 16th and 17th, and you can find links to my colleagues’ articles at the end of this piece!
Champagne is wonderful. Even better is a Champagne house that is sustainable! When I went searching for these bubbles, I found Champagne Cattier.
It was 1625 when the Cattier family started planting vines in Chigny-les-Roses in Montagne de Reims. (You can see a view of the region above.) That’s 13 generations growing in Champagne.
This family-owned independent winery has produced its own wines since 1918. Alexandre Cattier’s grandfather taught his father, who in turn taught Alexandre the unique style of their Champagne.
Here they focus on Pinot Meunier, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay filling in.
They pull from 9 villages, mainly from Ludes, Chigny-les-Roses, and Rilly la Montagne.
They also have a very special vineyard. There are very few enclosed vineyards in the Champagne region. You hear of “Clos” more often in places like Bourgogne. These walled vineyards create a unique microclimate.
Jean Cattier purchased a 2.2-hectare plot called “Clos du Moulin” in 1950. At the time, this plot held only a few remaining vines. Today this plot is one of the historic walled vineyards in Champagne.
Sustainable Champagne (and yes, we will get to the hedgehogs!)
Cattier has been farming their 33 hectares sustainably since the mid-1990s and are pioneers in sustainable Champagne. They received their Ampelos certification as well as the VDC (Viticulture Durable en Champagne = Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne) label for sustainable production in Champagne in 2017.
In addition to the certifications, they have recently planted hedgerows of several species of plants to promote biodiversity and create resources for bees and other pollinators. Insect hotels went up to promote biodiversity and encourage beneficial insects, to help control the pest population, a much better solution than pesticides!
Now on to the hedgehogs! They pile wood in the corners of their vineyard plots to create safe places for small animals, like hedgehogs, to hibernate. Here’s to building homes for hedgehogs!
Champagne Cattier Brut Premier Cru
This wine “is the purest reflection of Cattier’s winemaking style” https://www.cattier.com/en/champagne/brut-en/
The blend is 60% Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, and 40% reserve wines. This ages on the lees for at least four years. The dosage for this Brut style Champagne is 8 g/L.
The bottle I have in my hot little hands has a disgorgement date of 03/05/2022.
I was able to find this wine at my local Total Wine for $69.99. It’s sits at 12.5% abv.
A little hip-hop connection (and a blingy bottle)
Champagne Cattier are the folks behind Jay-Z’s Armand de Brignac, Ace of Spades Champagne. Those bottles, of course, go for a bit more than this bottle. Ace of Spades can run $295-$350!
Here’s the story. Back when Cristal was all the rage, Jean-Jacques Cattier created a silver metallic bottle for designer André Courrèges. They liked the way it turned out, and so they used a gold metal bottle for their own brand called “Antique Gold.”
Where did the name come from? Jean-Jacques’s mother chose the name “de Brignac” based on a novel that inspired her. The family registered the name in the 1940s. After not using the name for decades, they added the name “Armand” when they dusted it off.
An American partner suggested “Ace of Spades” as an easier-pronounced marketing name. They paired this “Armand de Brignac – Ace of Spades” brand with the metallic bottles.
Where does Jay-Z come in? Well, after the Cristal debacle, Jay-Z needed a new Champagne for his “Show me what you got” video. The Ace of Spades bottle appeared in the video after he waved away a bottle of Cristal. He went on to buy the company in 2014, then sell ½ of it to Moet Hennessy in 2021.
I’ll admit, those bottles are a bit too “blingy” for me (personal preference). I buy Champagne for the stuff inside, not the bottle anyway, and seeing as the Cattiers originally made this expensive bottle, I’m down with a bottle of their delicious bubbles without the bling!
So how does it taste?
First, the color in the glass was richer than I was expecting. It was a straw color with rosy golden highlights. This wine is generous, with aromas of Meyer lemon, white cherry, citrus, salt spray, chalk, and brioche. There are also tart apple and pear notes and a whiff of fig.
In my mouth, it is off-dry, but the sweetness is barely noticeable. You’ll find high acidity and pronounced flavors of Meyer lemon, green apple, and lime zest. In your mouth, it feels full, and the tartness lingers on the sides of your tongue. It has beautiful perlage (tiny bubbles), but even beyond that, there is something about the acidity that makes this wine feel racy and adds to the feeling of effervescence.
We enjoyed this with fried salt and pepper squid.
Delicious! This is more of a ruminating Champagne. At a party, the Champagne Cattier Brut Premiere Cru would be the person that you end up spending half the night in deep conversation with about philosophy.
Champagne Cattier is just one of the beautiful Champagnes out there. My friends and colleagues with the French #Winophiles have more to share!
- Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “Celebrate with 4 Easy-to-Make Champagne Cocktails“
- Camilla at Culinary Cam shares “A Royally Good Match: The King of Mushrooms + The Wine of Kings“
- Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Champagne Paired with Roasted Oysters with Bacon and Leeks“
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator….Gwendolyn Alley shares “Special Wines for Special Occasions: Champagne! It’s Not Just for Toasts!“
- Martin at Enofylz shares “How I Learned To Expand Champagne’s Role At The Table”
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest shares “Generations of Women in Epernay – Champagne Elodie D.”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Hidden Champagne: The Côte des Bar“
More on Champagne from Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Champagne Day 2020 – The wonderful Holiday we all really needed
- Champagne & BBQ Chartogne-Taillet meets Rollin’ Smoke
- Champagne – a history beyond the bubbles
- Where are the Women in Champagne?
- Farmer Fizz? An exploration of Grower Champagne
- Delphine Vesselle and Domaine Jean Vesselle Rosé de Saignée Brut from Bouzy
12 Days of Wine 2022
For a little more holiday fun, join us for our 12 Days of Wine Celebration! We are traveling the globe (virtually) tasting wine and pairing it with a small bite!
The wineries we chose are widely distributed, so you can easily find them. These wineries are also giving back in some way to people or the planet so that you can feel good about supporting these wines!
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, this book creates “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
Robin has always had a love for spoons, with a drawer full of them in all different shapes and sizes. There is comfort in eating something from a spoon and something very sensual also.
Creating a spoon filled with flavors and aromas that will be eaten in a single bite, allowing the flavors to meld and pop in your mouth, is a joyful endeavor, and you are encouraged to make these your own.
The spoons range from savory to sweet, with something for everyone, and while they are paired with wines, they are delicious on their own.
These recipes are wonderful for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres or simple to create something delicious to spoil yourself, much like a pint of ice cream.
Each of these spoons is paired with a specific wine, and you get a bit of background on the wine, its flavors, aromas, and a bit of its story. She also includes other suggestions for wines to pair with the spoon.
The book is a feast for your eyes, with photos of each layered spoonful.
There are also photos of the wines with the elements of their flavor profile surrounding them. Those elements often inspire the pairing.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”
“Tempting Spoonfuls – Pairing single bites with glorious wines” – Our first book paired wines from boutique wineries on the west coast, in California, Oregon, and Washington, with delicious spoonfuls.
This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
“Tempting Spoonfuls – small bites paired with wines from around the Globe” – This book takes us around the globe to explore 12 wine regions, a wine from the region, and then gives you a recipe for a pairing!
A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
Either of these books gives you wonderful recipes to create appetizer spoons to pair with wines for a party!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.