Thursday, Jun 28, 6-7:30 PM

Champagne Education Series, Session 2: Elements of the Blend, Pinot Noir

Swirl Wine Bar
Getting there
3143 Ponce De Leon St, New Orleans, LA

One of the defining characteristics of champagne is the blend - a blend of white and red grapes, a blend of multiple different vintages.
Certainly that is a crucial component of what makes champagne such a special wine.
It is also part of the art of production - taking the many different components and blending them together to give a balanced and beautiful final product.
As we have explored, it is not only about the grapes, but also how the vigneron chooses to grow, vinify, and age them before they get blended together into the bottle of champagne.
In fact, as I type this, I'm sharing a bottle of Egly-Ouriet "Vignes de Vrigny", a 100% Pinot Meunier from a single village.
As my friend and I discussed it, it showed beautifully and clearly the effects of grape, place, and winemaker.
And it is undeniable that this wine could not have been made exactly this way otherwise.
Sounds like another term we use a lot, doesn't it?
Yep, terroir.
But, the more we explore each grape, and each village, and each house, it allows us to identify and appreciate each of those different factors and how they play together in the final product.
To this end, we are going to re-visit a format we did before, basing a series of 3 tastings around different grapes. But, beyond that, I will work to find an array of wines each night that will allow us to explore and understand these different components, or building blocks, that go into the more common blends.
Rather than just Chardonnay from different villages, we will put together comparisons between steel vs oak, young vs aged, vintage vs multivintage.
And then we'll do the same with Pinot Noir.
The final class will be as much Pinot Meunier as I can find (it's sadly still the least common to find bottled alone) and then some wines that showcase the "other" 4 grapes that are allowed in the appellation.
When we're done, you'll hopefully have a deeper appreciation for the role that each grape plays in a classic blend, as well as the other factors such as place, elevage, and age that make their own imprint on the character of the grapes. Each single class is limited to 12 people (we will open a waitlist if there is more interest) and will be accompanied by various cheeses and snacks, cost is $45/class. The wines will be chosen and presented by Dr. Michael Knisley. Though his day job (night job, usually) is as an Emergency Room physician, Michael has applied the same dedication and diligence that it took to succeed in medical school to his understanding of Champagne.
He moved to New Orleans in 2011 following many years in Chicago, where he was fortunate to first learn about Champagne as a wine (and not simply a marker of a festive occasion) at Pops for Champagne, a longtime Chicago treasure.
As part of a tasting group of wine professionals and other Champagne devotees, Michael gained a deep understanding of the wines and grew to love them even more through the years. He has made several pilgrimages Champagne where he has had access to winemakers and producers and gain an even further understanding of where these wines originate and who is making them. In order to maintain his pursuit of greater Champagne knowledge and appreciation, Michael formed a similar tasting group here in New Orleans, composed of a variety of wine/food professionals.
The next step has been to share his knowledge with the public to help more people come to understand and enjoy Champagne - not just for parties, but as a wine in its own right, one of great complexity coming out of a region undergoing rapid and exciting changes. Class Policies:- As with all of our tastings and classes we ask that you not wear perfume, cologne or any other strong scents that could interfere with the wine's aromas for you and those around you.- Refunds can be made with a minimum 3 day advance notice.
Credit cannot be given towards future classes.