Many people who pursue a passion for wine have a very memorable experience (or several) that are etched in their memories as important eye-opening milestones, moments that sparked something and set them on their way. I was at Pops in Chicago, where I'd been learning more and more about these "new" grower champagnes, and was regular enough by then that some of the staff knew me. One of them had happened upon a magnum of '85 Lanson and brought it in to share that night. They were pouring tastes for the staff and other familiar faces around the bar. I was offered a taste - never had I ever tasted anything remotely like that wine, not only because of the age but because of the stunning level of complexity that was on display. It certainly tasted nothing like the small production wines I'd been devotedly trying to learn about. I was a little perplexed though that they were so pleased with wine from a big house, thinking then that only the growers captured their interest. I would learn with time.
It's no secret that Bubblyothèque is all about showcasing the small growers who are giving us high-quality, small-production wines that reveal small pieces of the terroir of Champagne. But, if you've been paying attention, you know that I have plenty of respect for the larger champagne houses who rely on many growers to provide them the building blocks of wines that still demonstrate a terroir of Champagne, more broadly defined. Certainly, both are necessary parts of how champagne has attained global renown and captured attention for the dynamic approaches of a new generation of growers. But, with their global marketing reach and sales forces, the big houses don't need little old me to spread the word in the same manner as the relatively unknown growers.
At this tasting, we will look more broadly than usual, sampling wines from larger houses that take great care in their vineyards and cellars to craft exceptional wines. Big doesn't equal bad, and not all houses are created equal. They typically don't grow all of their own grapes, an important distinction between the large Houses and the Growers. But, the good ones expect their growers to demonstrate a high level of attention and quality to make sure that what goes into the wine behind their widely-recognized labels provides a consistently top-notch experience. Within the larger houses , there is quite a range of scale - 100s of thousands to many millions of bottles per year. When you think about it, it is a truly amazing thing to accomplish on such a scale with something as variable from year to year as wine. Certainly, the champagne terroir and method are essential parts of what makes this possible.
For this one, we're going big. But certainly don't stay home!
Reservations required, don't delay: tickets here.