But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World¿s Favorite Wine

But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World¿s Favorite Wine


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Both the region of Champagne and its wines have always been associated with prestige and luxury. Knowledgeable wine enthusiasts have long discussed top Champagnes with the same reverence they reserve for the finest wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. But everyday Americans usually keep Champagne way back on the high shelf. It’s for big celebrations, send-offs, and wedding toasts and, more often than not, is bought by the case. The good stuff costs plenty—and frankly, rarely seems worth the price.

Today, though, Champagne is in the midst of a renaissance—no longer to be unjustly neglected.

Over the past decade, an increasing number of wine enthusiasts have discovered the joys of grower Champagne—wines made by the farmers who grow the grapes. Thanks to a few key wine importers and America’s newfound obsession with knowing where food comes from, these shipments have been climbing steadily.

In But First, Champagne, author David White details Champagne’s history along with that of its wines, explains how and why the market is changing, and profiles the region’s leading producers.

This book is essential reading for wine enthusiasts, adventurous drinkers, foodies, sommeliers, and drinks professionals. With a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the region, its history, and its leading producers, But First, Champagne will demystify Champagne for all.

From the foreword:

"Smart, entertaining, and valuable . . . one of those rare wine books that should appeal to people just getting into Champagne and longtime Champagne obsessives." —Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor, Food & Wine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510711440
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 10/18/2016
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 426,995
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

David White is one of the world’s leading wine writers and author of a nationally syndicated wine column hosted by Grape Collective. He is the founder and editor of Terroirist.com, one of the world’s most popular wine blogs, for which he’s been awarded both Best New Wine Blog and Best Overall Wine Blog. His writing has been published in the World of Fine Wine, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and more. White also serves as chair of Heart’s Delight, one of the world’s largest charity wine auctions. He resides in Washington, DC.

Ray Isle is executive wine editor of Food & Wine. In addition to overseeing the magazine’s wine department, Ray writes the monthly column, Tasting Room, and regular feature stories, plus directs all spirits and beer coverage; he also writes weekly for CNN’s Eatocracy site. Prior to joining Food & Wine in 2005, Ray was managing editor of Wine & Spirits. He lives in New York and can be found on Twitter as @islewine and on Instagram as @rayisle.

John Trinidad is an avid photographer, wine enthusiast, and attorney. After working harvest in Burgundy and in Healdsburg, John combined his legal education and interest in wine by joining the law firm of Dickenson, Peatman and Fogarty, where he works with the wine law practice group. He lives in Napa, California.

Table of Contents

Author's Note x

Foreword xii

Introduction: Searching for Authenticity 4

Part 1 Champagne Through the Ages

Chapter 1 On the Trail of the Bubbly 16

The Early Days 18

A Region and a Wine 19

Devastation, Plague, and Endless War 23

The Huguenot Wars 25

What the Sun King Drank 26

Champagne Gets Better 28

Champagne's Many Styles 29

Are Bubbles Bad? 30

A Vinous Rivalry 31

How Champagne is Made 32

Chapter 2 Bubbles Sweep the World 34

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité 37

The Emperor's Reign 39

A Brief History of Sabrage (With a How-To Guide!) 42

Winemaking Becomes an Industry 43

A Most Violent Year 47

Champagne Charlie Seduces America 48

The Belle Époque 50

Understanding Sweetness Levels 51

Why Are Ships Blessed with Champagne? 52

Les Grandes Marques de Champagne 54

Chapter 3 Joy, Wine, and War 56

If it's Profitable, Make More 57

What's in a Wine? 58

Why Does Soil Matter? 60

The Wrath of Grapes 61

The War Comes to Champagne 63

The Macabre Dance of War 65

The American Expedition 68

War Ends, Wine Begins Again 69

What's In a Name? 70

Chapter 4 A Changed World 72

Appellation d'Origine Controlée 75

The Grapes of Champagne 76

The Art of Blending 77

Les Années Folles 78

The Party Ends with a Crash 80

A Brief Recovery 81

Booze Beyond the Bubbles 82

What is Terroir? 84

Germany Occupies Champagne 85

The Ring Closes 88

Don't Pop the Cork! 89

Chapter 5 Approaching the Second Millennium 90

The Rebirth of Conspicuous Consumption 91

What is a Prestige Cuvée? 93

As Consumption Grows, Vineyards Decline 94

Booms, Busts, and Bellbottoms 96

Hustle and Flash 97

Forget the Flute and Toss the Coupe 99

Why do Athletes Celebrate with Champagne? 100

As Economy Sinks, Alternatives Sparkle 101

It's All About the Benjamins 103

Millennium Crash 105

Chapter 6 The Grower Revolution 106

What is "Natural" Wine? 109

The Seeds of a Revolution 110

A Long History of Artisanal Wine 112

How to Buy Champagne 114

America Changes the Global Marketplace 114

Reading a Champagne Label 118

The Terroirist Triumph 120

To Sweeten or Not? 123

A Rising Tide 124

Understanding Organic, Biodynamic, and Sustainable Viticulture 128

Transparency and Disgorgement Dates 130

Future Expansion of Champagne 131

Infinite Discoveries 131

Epilogue 133

Part 2 Digging Deeper in Champagne

Section 1 The Grand Marques 136

Ayala (N.M.) 139

Billecart-Salmon (N.M.) 140

Bollinger (N.M.) 142

Delamotte / Salon (N.M.) 144

Deutz (N.M.) 146

Drappier (N.M.) 148

Duval-Leroy (N.M.) 150

Charles Heidsieck (N.M.) 151

Gosset (N.M.) 152

Henriot (N.M.) 154

Jacquesson (N.M.) 156

Krug (N.M.) 158

Laurent-Perrier (N.M.) 159

Moët & Chandon / Dom Pérignon (N.M.) 161

Perrier-Jouët (N.M.) 163

Philipponnat (N.M.) 165

Piper-Heidsieck (N.M.) 167

Pol Roger (N.M.) 168

Pommery (N.M.) 170

Louis Roederer (N.M.) 171

Ruinart (N.M.) 173

Taittinger (N.M.) 174

Veuve Clicquot (N.M.) 176

Section 2 Montagne de Reims 178

L. Aubry Fils (R.M.) 182

H. Billiot & Fils (R.M.) 184

Francis Boulard (N.M.) 185

Emmanuel Brochet (R.M.) 187

Chartogne-Taillet (R.M.) 188

André Clouet (R.M.) 189

R. H. Coutier (R.C.) 190

Paul Déthune (R.M.) 192

Egly-Ouriet (R.M.) 193

David Léclapart (R.M.) 195

Marie-Noëlle Ledru (R.M.) 196

J. Lassalle (R.M.) 197

A. Margaine (R.M.) 199

Jérôme Prévost [La Gloserie] (R.M.) 200

Savart (R.M.) 201

Vilmart & Cie (R.M.) 203

Section 3 Vallée de la Marne 206

Bérèche Et Fils (N.M.) 209

Gaston Chiquet (R.M.) 210

Gatinois (R.M.) 212

René Geoffroy (R.M.) 213

Henri Goutorbe (R.M.) 214

Marc Hébrart (R.M) 216

Laherte Frères (N.M.) 217

Georges Laval (R.M.) 219

Christophe Mignon (R.M.) 221

Moussé Fils (N.M.) 222

R. Pouillon & Fils (R.M.) 224

Tarlant (R.M.) 226

Section 4 Côte des Blancs 228

Agrapart et Fils (R.M.) 232

Etienne Calsac (R.M.) 234

Claude Gazals (R.M.) 235

Guy Charlemagne (S.R.) 236

Pascal Doquet (S.R.) 237

Veuve Fourny et Fils (N.M.) 239

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils (R.M.) 241

Larmandier-Bernier (R.M.) 242

A. R. Lenoble (N.M.) 244

Jean Milan (N.M.) 246

Pierre Moncuit (R.M.) 248

Pierre Péters (R.M.) 250

Jacques Selosse (R.M.) 251

Ulysse Collin (R.M.) 254

Varnier-Fannière (R.M.) 256

J. L. Vergnon (R.M.) 258

Waris-Hubert (R.M.) 259

Section 5 The Aube 262

Cédric Bouchard / Roses de Jeanne (R.M.) 265

Marie Courtin (R.M.) 267

Dosnon (N.M.) 268

Fleury (N.M.) 270

Bertrand Gautherot [Vouette Et Sorbée] (R.M.) 272

Olivier Horiot 273

Jacques Lassaigne (N.M.) 275

Serge Mathieu (R.M.) 276

Ruppert-Leroy (R.M.) 278

Glossary 280

Selected Bibliography 286

Acknowledgements 288

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