Tue 25 Dec 2007
… we drank a bottle of Pol Roger Reserve Brut with our usual Christmas morning breakfast of country ham, eggs, grits, red-eye gravy and homemade biscuits. Yep, I do this every year, and somehow it has developed that our favorite champagne with this very Southern meal is this exact very French one.
And having said that, I will announce the “Twelve Days of Christmas with Champagne and Sparkling Wine” series on BiggerThanYourHead, which starts today and goes through January 5, the fete called Twelfth Night, which falls on the eve of Epiphany. Each day I will describe a different champagne or sparkling wine, looking for varied styles and prices and versatility.
The house of Pol Roger was founded in 1849 and is still owned by the family.
The Pol Roger Reserve Brut is a nonvintage blend of one-third each chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes. The champagne is a blend of at least two vintages and often three or four. It is not sold until the youngest component is at least three years old.
The moment you pour some Pol Roger Reserve Brut into a tall flute, aromas of fresh biscuits and toast emerge from the glass. The champagne is a pale gold color with a hint of silver, and the tiny bubbles form a consistent up-rushing stream. The champagne is taut and nervy, very dry and crisp, burgeoning with chalk and limestone that permeate flavors of lemon and roasted lemon with a touch of caramelized pear and dried spice. The finish is long, spicy and minerally. Excellent quality.
The dynamic crispness, the crackling energy of the champagne cut through the richness of the meal, the bracing saltiness of the ham, the rough lushness of the red-eye gravy. For those of you who don’t know, red-eye gravy is made by pouring a cup of coffee into the pan drippings from the ham, stirring and scraping to get all those ham bits loose and simmering for a few minutes to reduce it a bit.
Prices on the Internet are all over the map for this champagne, almost unconscionably so; look for a range between about $35 and $50. Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York
On the Second Day of Christmas … well, you have to come back tomorrow to see.
By the way, an account of last night’s Christmas Eve dinner at our house — a traditional “English” meal — with a great Bordeaux red wine and a port from 1994 is here.