Champagne: A state of mind

Ivo Nedelchev
Wine writer
  • As you taste it, notes of toasted bread, hazelnut, nougat, barley sugar and jellied fruits may take you by surprise

Wine is an amazing journey through time, history, religion, climate, love, war, and fashion. It lends itself beautifully to any level of involvement, from sipping a simple glass of rosé on the back porch to traveling to the great wine centers of Europe and coming home laden with exotic wines.

Wine is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can explore: There’s always more to learn, more to experience — more to taste.

Wine is also the world’s most romanticized beverage. Poets and sages across time have praised its effects on the human spirit. Wine is almost synonymous with celebration and good living.

Its mere presence on the dinner table brings a festive atmosphere to a meal.

Few wines captivate us to the extent Champagne does. But then Champagne is not simply a wine; it is a state of mind. Handed a glass of Champagne we simply abandon ourselves to its implied pleasure. No thought required. More than any other wine, Champagne unlocks the wine's archetypical promise: joy.

Krug is one of the kings

In his column this week, Ivo Nedelchev sings the praises of a special Champagne.

Krug Grande Cuvee is the archetype of Krug’s philosophy of craftsmanship and savoir faire; a blend of more than 120 wines from 10 or more different years. Its exceptional finesse is the result of a stay of at least another six years in the cellars. So, a prestige cuvee is recreated each year, beyond the very notion of vintage.

Every glass of Krug Grande Cuvée is the fruit of many years of craft and patience. The art of blending many years gives Krug Grande Cuvée its unique plethora of flavors and aromas, incredible generosity and an absolute elegance that would be impossible to express with the wines of a single year.

As you taste it, notes of toasted bread, hazelnut, nougat, barley sugar and jellied fruits may take you by surprise. You may even taste hints of apples still on the tree, flowers in bloom, ripe and dried fruit, almonds, marzipan, gingerbread, sweet spices and even brioche and honey.

You may also notice its exceptional freshness in the mouth, with rich and tangy flavors of lemon and grapefruit, enhanced by the subtlety of its fine and elegant bubbles. Krug Grande Cuvée can age beautifully.

Caviar, in this case served with Scottish smoked salmon, potato blini, creme fraiche and dill, is Nedelchev's ideal accompaniment suggestion.

Champagne and caviar have always been perceived as a classic match, perhaps because of the special occasion, celebratory aura they share. The delicious salty taste of a caviar accompaniment is beautifully enhanced by a dry Champagne.

Ask yourself, have you ever had a bad day drinking Champagne?

Ivo Nedelchev is a wine writer, and along with Marco Porto of chop239, Adamo Serravalle of DaVinci’s and Marco Prime, and Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay, is a regular contributor to this column.