June 30, 2008

It's Our Anniversary!

The Lab at Rational Denial will pause its research efforts today to commemorate our first anniversary. We launched this enterprise way back on May 30. Feels like ages ago. If you want to relive the moment, click here.

Just look what we've accomplished in that span! Okay... sure, we haven't built a school, or adopted an African, or even saved any lives. But we have put away some decent wine in a thoughtful manner. And that counts as success here at the Lab.

To celebrate the big event, I've decided to open something a little special. Philipponnat's NV Champagne Cuvée 1522 (Hi-Time Wine Cellars, Costa Mesa, $68). Philipponnat is a Grand Marque Champagne, meaning they belong to a snooty, marketing organization founded in the later half of the 19th Century, the Syndicat de Grandes Marques. If you've been sued for calling your mustard, Spanish wine or pet dog "Champagne", it was them. But Philipponnat is known for progressive behavior and for producing the oldest single-vineyard, single-vintage wine in the region, the Clos de Goisses.

The 1522 is Extra Brut which means it includes very low levels of dosage. Dosage is the sugary elixir added to Champagne after it has been disgorged. The wine shop where I bought the bottle claims it is Brut nature, or zero dosage. Guess we will never know (unless we ask Peter Liem). The back label says the bottle was disgorged in September 2001, but nothing about the dosage. The Philipponnat website does point out the 1522 is, "A stunning match with seashells, caviar and sushi."

I don't know about seashells, but it is stunning Champagne. Yeasty bread dough, a honeyed sweetness, and a hint dried pineapple. Racy acid on the attack, ripe Granny Smith apple fruit and a soothing mineralité on the finish. Very dry, but not austere. The finish lingers so long, I'm probably still tasting it even as you're reading this. It would be great with sushi.

I'm thinking about canceling the party, sending everyone back to work. Keep this for myself.

(image: © Miflippo | Dreamstime.com)

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