Friday, November 20, 2009
Tour de Champagne New York
by: Patrick "Lone Star" Chang
Champagne connoisseur, I am not - but a fan of the bubbles, I am. The Tour de Champagne New York was held on Thursday, November 12, at the La Venue on 28th and 11th avenue. This multi city tour allowed guests to sample champagnes from more than 20 champagne houses, enjoy live music, taste bites from local restaurants and, best of all, vie for the chance to win a trip for two to Paris! The anticipation for the event turned my week leading up to the Tour de Champagne into one of my longest and most agonizing weeks ever!
I was hoping to have dinner and drinks at the event but, unfortunately, the night was lacking in the selection and quantity of food - the handful of vendors offered savory but miniscule tastings. However, my hunger and disappointment was extinguished by the excitement of entering the main banquet room. Seeing the sea of flowing champagne, I felt like a 5 year old in a candy store shopping spree. On an empty stomach, 20+ different vendors times approximately 3 different bottles per vendor - well, let’s just say I was pretty “happy” and satisfied.
The following is a summary of my favorite champagnes of the evening
The Winner: Black Label-Non Vintage Lanson Brut
The Black Label-Non Vintage Lanson Brut champagne was one of my favorites of the night, which is a blend of 35% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier. The flavors embodied citrus notes and bouquets of ripe orchard fruit. I was surprised to find that Lanson, founded in 1760, was actually one of the oldest champagne houses in France. In fact, it is among the most popular champagnes in the UK, but is still gaining traction in the States.
So where can you find this under the radar champagne in New York City, one might ask? World-renowned chef, Alain Ducasse. Lanson has supported Ducasse since the beginning and can be found at both of his top restaurants in NYC, Adour and Benoit Bistro.
Best of the Rest:
Ruinart Blanc De Blancs
Ruinart is a small champagne house founded in 1729. 100% from chardonnay wines, this champagne had a fresh fruity, mostly citrus aroma. On the palate it was extremely pure and clear cut. It was very fresh, supple and full.
This station was definitely one of my favorites. The two gorgeous girls working the Pommery station were not only very charming but also extremely knowledgeable. The great thing about Pommery is the variety of selection.
The POP product was the most intriguing. I am not exactly sure if the product inside was actually different. (I did not try any of these) but the eco-friendly bottles were very playful and also very CONVENIENT! Perfect for New Years! The POP bottle also had versions with straws incorporated! This is definitely my kind of party!
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
30% Chardonnay, 55% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier.
This was the last bottle I tried. I’ve always been a fan of Veuve. It’s a great value champagne since its fairly cheap yet does not sacrifice in quality.
A great night, and hopefully not the last time Tour de Champagne comes to NYC. The event was adequately filled but not massively packed. I look forward to the event next year as it returns for another stop at NYC (hopefully)?
Proceeds from this event benefit Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. Recognized as a leader in the fight against malnutrition, Action Against Hunger works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing sustainable access to safe water and long-term solutions to hunger. To learn more about this charity and/or to donate, please visit their website at www.actionagainsthunger.org