This immortal quote (“Champagne is way better than cable.“) about budgeting, entertainment, pleasure, and the pinnacle of sparkling wine came from an interview I conducted with David Speer, owner of Portland, Oregon’s most excellent Champagne bar, Ambonnay.
What prompted me to contact David (via e-mail) and query him about all things Champagne was a post-International Food Blogger Conference visit to Ambonnay on a relaxing and relaxed Sunday afternoon. The first thing I noticed is that my glass of Champagne was not poured into a flute, but rather a voluminous red wine glass meant for the finest of Pinot Noirs.
Recent sojourns by some of my current and former Bottlehouse brethren to Ambonnay prompted me to revisit some of the ground I covered with David and expand on it, via my Wine Without Worry podcast. So what else do we cover besides how to serve Champagne? Oh, plenty of questions are addressed:
- Is your Champagne too cold? (Confession: Mine probably is.)
- How much do Champagnes made from 100% Chardonnay or 100% Pinot Noir recall the finest still wines made from these grapes?
- Are we too quick to scorn large Champagne houses in an effort to champion the smaller producers who make wine from their own grapes (“Growers”)?
- What’s a Champagne by the glass you’ll find at Ambonnay that David is particularly enjoying?
- Was it hard for David to stick to his guns and not offer any still red or white wine? Not even one?!?
- Outside of Champagne, what countries/regions are producing sparkling wine that David finds exciting?
- Hey, what about the sparkling wines from the Willamette Valley, practically in Portland’s backyard?
- What are some of the best things to eat with Champagne? (Besides popcorn.)
- Oh, and where and what is Ambonnay? (Hint: Did not originate in Portland.)
Listen to the episode below. Thanks to SoundCloud, you can check out each and every podcast right here from the blog. Peruse a sneak preview of each show and then tune in via my Wine Without Worry Podcast Archive.
Splitter wall plate photo courtesy of (you guessed it) Splitter Wall Plate.