Monday, January 2, 2012

Ben's Bubbly: Taittinger Brut La Francaise

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a great holiday break and is ready for an even better 2012. What an eventful week it was for us. My family drove out from Wisconsin with two terriers, we had four different Christmases to attend and Ben took his first steps! Ben had fun hanging out with his grandma, grandpa, aunt and uncle and they seemed to enjoy him, too. :) He had been cruising around on furniture for a few weeks, but hadn't taken off the training wheels. He actually startled himself when he realized he wasn't hanging on to anything and tried to get to mommy by taking a few steps as he fell. He has only done it a few times, but occasionally I'll turn around to see him just standing on his own for a few moments before he sits (or falls) down. He is getting braver by purposefully letting go of our hands or the furniture, but we predict it will only be a matter of time before he realizes that he has the upper hand in our relationship.

One thing that didn't freak him out this past week was the dogs. He quite enjoyed them and usually screeched whenever a dog came into sight. He really enjoyed it when (on two separate occasions) a dog would so helpfully clean the crusty (and not so crusty) boogers off his face. We'll see how long it takes until his cute adorable face is able to convince mommy that he wants a dog.

In a pretty big first for our little family, New Year's Eve was the first time that mommy and daddy both spent away from the little guy. I've been away for work a few times and mom escaped to Vegas a few months ago (man, that seems like ages ago). Grandma (the local one) stayed over at our place while we went out to dinner and then to our new place (oh, yeah, we also bought a new house a few weeks ago, but have been doing some remodeling before we move). We sipped on a bottle of Taittinger and were asleep by 12:05. We did, however, get seven blissful hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Taittinger "La Française" Brut

A big name in the the world of Champagne, best known for their Comtes de Champagne blanc de blancs, the La Française (also known as Brut Réserve) is the basic entry-level non-vintage blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier for Taittinger. Normally around $45-50, I picked this up on sale for under $30 a few weeks ago. It never ceases to amaze me how much these mass produced Champagne cost just because the word "Champagne" is on the label, especially when there are plenty of quality sparkling wines on shelves for under $30. Sure, top Champagne are worth their weight in gold, but not the basic stuff and this bottle did nothing to change my mind. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice bottle of wine and worth its sale price, but not the regular price. Lots on the nose here, especially baked pear and toast. It kind of tricks you into thinking it is going to be smooth and complex, but then smacks you on the other cheek with loads of acidic and slightly bitter yellow grapefruit. There might have been a little bit of lemon pastry in there too, but it was hard to tell (it was NYE after all) with the in your face grapefruit. I do give Taittinger credit for the abundant acidity, which too many sparkling wines shy away from, but I was expecting a bit more complexity and length. 12% abv Purchased $27. Good

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