Here's my entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday #25. It's not technically a Champagne, but it's only about 60km from the edge of the region. I politely requested an honorable mention in the writeup, but I don't want to screw anything up and cause the first major blogging scandale of the wine blogosphere.
This was an impulse purchase, as I find it hard to pass up a bargain sparkling wine from a region that knows how to make it... Thus I find myself in possession of a $13 bottle of NV Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne from the region of Chablis, France. The main site is still under development. It's made from 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. It's got a yeasty aroma, with crisp lemony flavors and fairly large bubbles. A short finish, and when served ice cold, quite refreshing.
What was the occasion for opening it tonight? Mom and Dad took out the girlfriend and me for dinner. We ate at Pasta Italia in Collierville, a suburb of Memphis. It's a sort of classic northern Italian trattoria run by a chef from Modena, Michele D'Oto. He came by the table, and I got to break out my college Italian, much to the amusement of the girlfriend, who got kissed on the hand by the chef. Signore D'Oto and I chatted for a while, and over the course of the evening I got to talk to the other Italian employee as well as a few fellow diners from the old country.
(And I've mentioned this before, but I don't have a drop of Italian blood in me. I've been to Italy, I love the food, I speak the language fairly well, and use the nickname Benito. I'm not trying to mislead anyone, but I love hanging out with Italians.)
Dad and I each knocked back a bottle of the 2003 Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico, a great entry-level Chianti that's remarkably mellow and well-rounded for such a young Italian wine. Dad and I also had the osso buco, while the women went for pasta. Great food, and the dinner was ended with Vino Brulé, a hot mulled wine. (Or try your luck with an original Italian recipe.)
Dinner took a good two hours--that may seem rough for American diners, and in fact, Mom was getting a little impatient at first, but I loved it. When I was in Italy I adored the long, leisurely dinners with plenty of wine. You spend more time talking with each other, with the waiters, the owner, fellow diners, the guy dropping off a last minute delivery of fish for the fritto misto... I don't think I had a single dinner over there that lasted less than an hour. And those are the meals you really remember. Not the ones cooked in five minutes and wolfed down in ten.
Fortunately, the girlfriend was driving, and dropped me off at the house after dinner. I got comfortable, and while full from dinner, still wanted to extend the warm feeling for a while. I didn't have any still wine in the house, and didn't want to sip Bourbon, but I had a classy sparkler sitting in the fridge. And thus I popped the cork on the Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne, poured it in a Champagne flute, and started writing this post.
Two glasses later, I'm a happy ragazzo. Alla tua salute!.