Having a first child requires preparations innumerable, and I was frequently surprised (and only occasionally annoyed) by the things to consider and choices to make as we prepared for the arrival of our daughter, Melrose Mae, on November 20. One of the happiest decisions this guy had to make was her first wine. Champagne was a given, but I have very little experience with Champagne. My attitude is similar to that of Burgundy- I know Champagne is good, and I would love to drink it regularly, but it's quite expensive, and the number of producers and geographic designations is dizzying, even for the wine obsessed.
So, I set out with a list of grower-producers culled from various sources to see what I could turn up in Chicago. Since he works with so many estates, I knew there was a good chance I would end up with a Terry Theise selection. And then, as luck would have it, Alder Yarrow, a wine blogging pioneer, posted a review of Billiot Cuvee Laetitia. As noted in Alder's review, this cuvee is named for the vigneron's daughter. What could be better? I found some bottles for sale at a shop not far from our condo.
I had plans of a perfect moment in the recovery room at the hospital, toasting our new daughter, and touching a little bubbly to her lips. Although the bottle made the trip to the hospital, reality reigned, and the right occasion never arose.
Since Melrose's disposition is best in the morning, brunch has become a popular event in our family. We were joined this morning by our friends Heather and Alessandro (newlyweds who just threw a fabulous wedding celebration in Wicker Park) and Matt and Sidney, good winos all. Brooke put together a nice spread, including a smoked fish tart and a leek and brie tart.
We kicked off brunch with a wine that has fast become a staple in our house, Bottex La Cueille, a sparkling rose from Bugey-Cerdon. Light, refreshing, delicious, this wine is perfect for any occasion, a wine I hope I will always have in the refrigerator. It's available at Binny's in Chicago.
This seemed like a perfect occasion for Melrose's first wine, so we popped the Billiot, raised our glasses, and touched a finger to her lips. I think she's hooked.
The wine was sharp, pure and remarkable. Given my lack of experience with high-end Champagne, I can't make comparisons, but it was unlike anything I've ever tasted. I wouldn't say I loved it, but it's a reference point I'm happy to have. Disgorged in '09, I assume I will age well (if anyone thinks otherwise, please let me know). We bought a second bottle to hold onto for a while. It might make for a nice toast on her sixteenth birthday.