SommCon DC: The Flip Side of Champagne

The Flip Side of Champagne Tuesday, June 25, 2019, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM Most everyone thinks of Champagne as a sparkling wine, which is understandable because most of it is. But not all of it. Long before winemakers in Champagne started to embrace bubbles (instead of trying to get rid of them) and perfected the Méthode Champenoise, the wine of Champagne was a still one — and it still is, under the appellations Coteaux Champenois and Rosé des Riceys. Though largely overshadowed by the bubbly version and deprecated by some as inferior to the products of neighbouring Burgundy, these are fascinating wines that offer an entirely different expression of Champagne’s grape varieties and terroirs, and they deserve to be better known and appreciated. In this unusual seminar we will taste two wines from a line-up of notable wineries from throughout the Champagne viticole displaying a diverse range of styles. Each flight will consist of a (still) Coteaux Champenois and a (sparkling) Champagne from the same producer, area, and/or grape variety. Accompanying each flight will be a detailed examination of the specific territory in which the grapes grow and the particular story, philosophy, and production methods of the producer. This comparative structure will offer insight into the common thread uniting two very different expressions of the same place; the impact that bubbles and extended lees aging have on the transformation of a still wine into a sparkling one; the diversity of terroir within the extensive Champagne region, as well as the special synergy between a particular grape and a specific environment. Overall this class will provide an enhanced understanding and appreciation of Champagne, especially the largely overlooked still wines of Coteaux Champenois.