New Year’s Eve Champagne: The Three Best and Cool Talking Points

If you are like most people, you have yet to buy your bubbly for the ball drop. Not to worry: here I swoop in with the best New Year’s Eve Champagne 🍾 — two are expensive but worth it for this special night, even if you just guzzle it under the sheets. The other, an Italian sparkling wine, is actually underpriced for the quality it offers. To ensure that you thoroughly dazzle your loved ones, I supply three scintillating talking points for each bottle:

Krug Grand Cuvee - top Champagne for New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve Champagne: KRUG Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée 164ème Édition NV ($170-$190)

One of the best Krug GC’s ever: pure, apple-raisin-hazelnut complexity, deeply flavorful yet airy, with a bright, endless finish. Ready to savor now, but has the energy and acidity to improve for decades.

Talking points:

  •  In September I sat down with Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the founKrug Champagne with dim sumding family, and he told me that his favorite all-time pairing was Krug rosé with roast pigeon during a trip to Singapore.
  • It is not a necessity, however, to enjoy such regal Champagne with elaborate food. Olivier also remembers Krug Grande Cuvée harmonizing beautifully with a simple hamburger. He revealed to me that Madonna is partial to Krug rosé with french fries, as confirmed in this tweet from the Material Girl’s official account.  For me earlier this week, a bottle of it was the ultimate uplifting co-conspirator with towers of plump, glistening har gow, porky soup dumplings, and other dim sum at New York’s Dim Sum Go Go.
  •  In my most recent book, How to Drink Like a Billionaire, I shed light on the little-known ritual of a “Champagne baptism,” which involves wetting a baby’s lips with drops of special Champagne, a Champenois tradition that Olivier’s father, Rémi, had once described to me. When we met, Olivier added more color as to how to make this chic procedure a success. His advice is to take to the hospital to two half-bottles of Champagne: one to use to dab the newborn’s lips, and the other to bribe the nurse into letting you do it.

Perrier Jouet Champagne Art Basel Miami

New Year’s Eve Champagne: PERRIER-JOUËT Brut Champagne Belle Epoque 2008 ($150-$180)

A swirl of lemon and fresh flowers emanate from the glass, followed by suggestions of ginger, pastry, and spice. Its blend of grapes dominated by the grape Chardonnay, the taste is smooth and bright, with a citric snap that shades slightly smoky on the silky, persistent finish.

Talking points:

  • As I have emphasized in my books, and as both Olivier Krug and Perrier-Jouet’s cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps have stressed to me, it is no longer preferable to use a thin, flute-shaped glass for your Champagne. While a regular wine glass (or a slightly more narrow white wine glass, if you have it) won’t showcase the bubbles as prominently as a flute, it will however provide more surface area to swirl and sniff your precious bubbly and also obviate the need for special glassware.
  • Last year at Art Basel Miami, I had the pleasure of hosting a Champagne master class with Perrier-Jouet’s Deschamps. Here the debonaire Deschamps demonstrates how you should “puff,” not pop, open Champagne to minimize bubble loss. Note that he is using a fine bottle to demonstrate: a 3L of Belle Epoque Rosé.

To save bubbles, "puff," don't pop, your #Champagne tonight, as Champagne Perrier-Jouët's Chef de Cave Hervé Deschamps demonstrated for me here (with a 3L of Belle Epoque Rosé, no less) #DrinkLikeABillionaire #NYE16 #HappyNewYear

Posted by Mark Oldman on Saturday, December 31, 2016

  • At this year’s Art Basel Miami, Perrier Jouet’s Eden Ball featured a private, six-song set by English singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding. She was at once ethereal and brimming with verve, herself the personification of fine Champagne. I captured this video of her performance (and you Royal watchers may notice Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie in the background cheering her on).

Ferrari Trento Brut - an Ideal Bubbly for New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve Sparkler: FERRARI Brut ($18-$24)

Like a bracing spoonful of fruit salad, this all-Chardonnay sparkler delights with notes of citrus fruits and juicy apples, joined by the subtle scent of baked bread. Delicate, racy, palate-cleansing bubbles add to the overall feel of freshness, its feathery, zesty personality all but demanding the presence of a tower of glistening shellfish.

Talking points:

  • Italian bubbles, but not our old friend Prosecco? Sì, this is a less-known category of traditionally-made bubbly from Italy’s northern, hilly Trentino region called “Trentodoc“. Even many experts have little familiarity with Trentodoc, so casually peppering this designation into your New Year’s Eve banter will make you seem like a high priest of wine knowledge.
  • Despite being a luxury good from Italy, Ferrari – the winery of Trentino – has nothing to do with the maker of pulse-quickening supercars of the same name. Although if you dare to saber your bubbly, your pulse will pound all the same.
  • Speaking of luxury, Ferrari also makes an elevated offering named after for its founder, Giulio Ferrari. For me it rates as one of the world’s best sparklers, on a par with even the finest Champagne. When I served the 2005 Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore ($125) at Thanksgiving last month, my guests moaned over its creamy, marzipan-like, honey-and-smoke personality.

another gem I broke open for Thanksgiving: Giulio Ferrari Trento Riserva del Fondatore, made in the traditional method….

Posted by Mark Oldman on Monday, November 27, 2017

A raise of the chalice 🏆 to you for 2018. May you drink like a billionaire at every price.

Ellie Goulding Art Basel Miami Perrier Jouet Eden Miami

The $125,000 ‘Shroom, 52 Key Wines, Drink like Millionaire, Sauced in City, More!

The $125,000 ‘Shroom

4c7c6a5c-af13-4caf-bc95-731b4050a438

Not just any old ‘shroom, but two ‘shroom in one! At the recent World White Truffle Auction in Alba, Italy, I witnessed a massive, “twin truffle” auctioned off for 100,000 euro, then about $125,000 in US dollars, for what is essentially a big, divinely-scented mushroom. The tartufo bianco weighed a total of 1 kilogram and was purchased by a Hong Kong buyer via satellite. I later got a close up look at this sublime ‘shroom specimen and interviewed its keeper, Mauro Carbone, director of the National Center for the Study of Truffles. The charity auction coincided with the heart of truffle season in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy and the annual Alba Truffle Fair. Business Insider featured my video of it here. ‘Shroom on!

52 Wine Picks Over Four Festivals

Those who have attended my wine seminars know that I make my selections more carefully than a vegan at a churrascaria. Depending on the seminar theme, the wines will vary by price, country of origin, and style, but they all have one commonality: the tendency to induce goose bumps of pleasure. With midwinter wine rescue an urgency and Valentine’s Day fast approaching, several readers have inquired about my recent wine picks.  So for your shopping lists, below are 52 outstanding wines, all of which I painstakingly chose and recently presented at four major food and wine festivals:

Food Network South Beach Wine & Food: Birds and Bubbles

Those who have attended my wine seminars know that I make my selections more carefully than a vegan at a churrascaria. Depending on the seminar theme, the wines will vary by price, country of origin, and style, but they all have one commonality: the tendency to induce goose bumps of pleasure. With midwinter wine rescue an urgency and Valentine’s Day fast approaching, several readers have inquired about my recent wine picks.  So for your shopping lists, below are 52 outstanding wines, all of which I painstakingly chose and recently presented at four major food and wine festivals:

Seminar 1: “Fried and True: A Fried Chicken Seminar” (with festival founder/author Lee Brian Schrager and author Adeena Sussman)

1) Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Kamptaler Terrassen 2012
(Austria, with Asha Gomez’s Herb & Chili Fried Chicken with Spiced Maple Syrup)
2) Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé NV
(France, with Dale Talde’s Kung Pao Chicken Wings)
3) LVP Imported Red Sangria
(Spain, with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Seeded Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley & Caper Mayonnaise)
4) B.R. Cohn Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2010
(California, with Vanessa Williams’ Fried Chicken)

This mouthwatering menu is based on recipes from Lee and Adeena’s new book, Fried and True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides.

Seminar 2: “Sparkling Sweets: An Ice Cream and Champagne Pairing Seminar” (with Jeni Britton, owner, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

1) Chateau Ste. Michelle Extra Dry Columbia Valley NV
(Washington State, with Passion Fruit Sorbet/Lychee Sorbet)
2) Prunotto Moscato d’Asti 2012
(Italy, with Apricot Sorbet/Chamomile Ice Cream)
3) Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec NV
(France, with Whole Milk Yogurt/Estate Vanilla Bean/Cloverton with Buttery Graham Gravel)
4) Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui 2012
(Italy, with Salty Caramel/Salty Goat’s Milk Chocolate/Hazelnut)
5) Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial Rosé NV
(France, with Bitter Askinosie/Chocolate and Dark Chocolate)

Austin Food & Wine: Outsmarting the Wine List

Seminar 1: “Outsmart the Wine List”

1) Cristalino Brut NV (Spain)
2) Boutari Assyrtiko Santorini 2013 (Greece)
3) Chapoutier Pays d’Oc Rosé Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2013 (France)
4) Louis Jadot Morgon Chateau des Jacques 2011 (France)
5) Spring Val Vyd K. Corkrum Cabernet Franc 2010 (Washington State)
6) Chapoutier Pinteivera Douro 2011 (Portugal)

Seminar 2: “Bubbly Worth Savoring”

1) Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs NV (California)
2) Argyle Brut NV (Oregon)
3) Ferrari Brut NV (Italy)
4) Gosset Grand Reserve Brut NV (France)
5) Taittinger Brut Rosé Champagne Prestige NV (France)
6) Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti Nivole 2011 (Italy)

Seminar 3: “Hunt for the Next Malbec”

1) Austin Hope Grenache 2011 (California)
2) Santa Ema Carmenere 2012 (Chile)
3) Tormaresca Primitivo Salento Torcicoda 2011 (Italy)
4) Planeta Sicilia La Segreta Red 2012 (Italy, Nero d’Avola grape)
5) Castano Monastrell 2012 (Spain)
6) Leonetti Merlot Walla Walla 2011 (Washington State)

The Austin Chronicle ran this kind review of my Austin seminars. Join me at this year’s Austin Food and Wine Festival, April 24-26.

Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic: Drinking Like an IPO Millionaire

At last year’s Aspen FOOD & WINE Classic, I assumed the persona of an IPO millionaire to present an astonishing array of special occasion wines. A tech hoodie was of course obligatory, but instead of donning the drab Zuckerbergian variety, I found one with Rick James gilded swagger. Speaking of the Facebook cofounder, I actually had Zuck in mind when I hatched the “Wine for IPO Millionaires” concept and launched this video a few years ago.

I explain my getup and the seminar to the always-dazzling Sissy Biggers in this genConnect interview. Make no mistake: the outfit was lighthearted, but the six wines, selected by my Aspen tasting panel of discerning nonprofessionals) were serious, as in seriously iconic:

Seminar 1: “Wine for IPO Millionaires: Special Occasion Wine”

1) Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne 2004 (France)
2) Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2011 (France)
3) Domaine Faiveley Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2011 (France)
4) Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 (California)
5) Yao Ming Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2009 (California)
6) Chateau Rieussec Sauternes Grand Cru 2006 (France)
Bonus: a few drops of Leacock’s Verdelho Madeira Solera 1872

     

Long before the festival commenced, Curbed named the seminar one of “Ten Don’t Miss Events at Aspen Food & Wine” and the New York Post named it one of two “hot picks” at the Classic. The Post also ran this preview.

The Aspen Daily News later ran this review and reported that the sold-out seminar was over-capacity by 70 thirsty souls. 5280 featured these fun quotes.

surprise guest at my seminar: the soignée
Margrit Mondavi, widow of Robert Mondavi

Seminar 2: “Top Sonoma Pinot Noir”

Pinot Envy Square

1) Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Estate 2011
2) DuMOL Russian River Valley 2011
3) Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbors 2012
4) Patz & Hall Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast 2012
5) Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast 2012
6) Lynmar Russian River Valley Quail Hill Vineyard Summit 2012

 natural flag of Aspen: blue, white, and green

Tickets are on sale now for the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, this June 19th to 21st, which marks my 10th anniversary at the Classic.  Batten down the hatches: one of my topics will be “Wine for IPO Billionaires”.

Food Network New York Wine & Food: Sauced in the City 

Seminar 1: “Sauced In the City” (with Hugh Mangum, owner/chef, A Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, NYC) 

1) Codorníu “Anna de Codorniu” Cava Brut NV (Spain, aperitif)
2) Dopff & Irion, Gewürztraminer 2012 (France, with Smoked Pork Sausage)
3) J. Moreau & Fils, Chablis 2008 (France, with Smoked Smoked Scallop Sausage served with Pickled Sea Beans, Watercress and a Fall Mostarda)
4) Laurent-Perrier Champagne Rose NV (France with Smoked Tofu “Lardon” Frisée Salad with Miso-Bacon Fat Dressing
5) A to Z Pinot Noir 2012 (Oregon, with Smoked Lambs Neck with Quick Pickled Cucumbers, Pickled Chiles and Preserved Lemon Sauce)
6) Antinori Tignanello 2010 (Italy, with Smoked Short Rib with Butternut Squash and Rosemary Gremolata)
7) Inniskillin Vidal Icewine Oak Aged 2011 (Canada, with Sticky Toffee Pudding with Smoked Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Sea Salt Caramel)

Seminar 2: “Dirt Candy Delights: A Vegetarian Seminar”(with Amanda Cohen, owner/chef, Dirty Candy, NYC)

with Dirt Candy’s Amanda Cohen

1) Argyle Brut 2010 (Oregon, aperitif)
2) Planeta La Segreta Bianco Sicily 2013 (Italy, with Portobello Mousse with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Peach and Fennel Compote
3) Matarromera Melior Verdejo 2013 (Spain, with Tomato Tart with Smoked Feta)
4) Weingut Weixelbaum Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2012 (Austria, with Celery Salad with Celery Pesto and Grilled Grapes)
5) Remy Pannier Chinon 2011 (France, with Mini Broccoli Hot Dogs with Broccoli Sauerkraut)
6) Prunotto Moscato d’Asti 2012 (Italy, with Popcorn Pudding)

Last Drop: Gustatory Delta Force

with Special Op Commanders Jacques Pépin,
Drew Nieporent, Danny Meyer, and Marc Murphy

Last Drop: On Real Men…

 


real men wear aprons and make fresh pasta

now has anyone seen that massive twin ‘shroom?