When you think of Champagne, you typically do not think of a vertical tasting or decanting older Champagne to bring out the flavors and the nose. During a recent tasting at Spaghettini in Beverly Hills of the Nicolas Feuillatte collection, enology, and quality manager, Guillaume Roffiaen did just that. Besides featuring the latest releases from the portfolio, he decanted the 1999 Palmes D’ Or Brut as part of his presentation.
The Story Behind Palmes D’Or
The bottling for the Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes D’Or makes a statement in itself. It brands and sets the Champagne apart from others with the bottle’s black dimples or what some call the black pearls. There is a story behind those dimples. Nicolas Feuillatte, while living in New York, was taken by a young opera singer. Enamored with her, Nicolas followed this diva around the world.
Like the black pearl necklace she wore and the jewel of her voice, he designed a bottle that reflected his infatuation for this diva. This black bottle with its gold label signifies the best that Nicolas Feuillate Champagnes have to offer. The Palmes D’Or is only created during an exceptional harvest year, making the Champagne very special. Perhaps those dimples also represent the magnificent tiny bubbles that you find in Palmes D’Or Champagne.
Nicolas Feuillatte, after a successful career importing African Coffee in New York, returned to France to start a new venture. In 1976 he formed Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, a company that has grown immensely since the release of their first Champagne in 1978. Today the company has been the number one Champagne in France for seven consecutive years and number three in the world.
In 1986 the company merged with the Centre Vinicole de La Champagne, a cooperative of Champagne growers. Currently, this merger allows the company to utilize a much wider range of grapes from a more diverse terroir and villages.
It is the Champagne that speaks to the true essence of Nicolas Feuillatte. I must say that the Champagne paired excellently with the cuisine at Spaghettini.
We began with the Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve NV. With small bubbles and pale yellow color, this Champagne is crisp and bright with flavors of apple and pear. Harvested early, this Brut a blend of 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier. This delightful Champagne paired with Ahi Tuna Tartare.
Although the Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé NV complement the Salad of Baby Lettuces, it was an absolutely wonderful accompaniment for the Shrimp with mustard, citrus, and Mache. This Rosé Brut consists of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. The gorgeous salmon color had floral aromas and flavors of raspberries.
The Nicolas Feuillatte 2005 Blanc de Blancs made from 100% Chardonnay is bigger and sharper with its yeasty Brioche like aromas. There was a creamy quality that reminded me of Cream Brulee and Brioche with some green apple on the finish.
Accompanying a main course of Salmon with heirloom carrots and Marcona almonds was the Palmes D’Or Brut 2002. The delicate bubbles gave way to the mineral quality of this lovely Champagne.
The final course was the Nicolas Feuillatte “D’Luscious” Demi-Sec Rosé NV. The name of this Champagne is so apropos as it is deliciously luscious with a slight sweetness and cherry flavors. It was a perfect pairing for those that enjoyed Spaghettini’s Crème Brulee. Those of us with dietary restrictions enjoyed some marvelous sorbets. Although they did not pair well with the wine, the coconut sorbet was marvelous. For a sorbet, it was like having coconut ice cream. The creamy texture was yummy.
Palmes D’Or Brut
Topping off a marvelous meal, the piece de resistance, the decanted 1999 Palmes D’Or Brut—decanting made the wine finer and more delicate. The elegant quality enhanced the flavors of ginger. We compared that to 1990, another exceptional year for the Palmes D’Or.
The line up of wines from Nicolas Feuillatte expounds on the variety of expressions Champagne invokes with any meal or on any occasion.