Wines of the Maremma Lunch, Lincoln Restaurant, NYC

   We are familiar with both the wines and region of Morellino, but Montecucco is a relative newcomer to our wine vocabulary. Members of both consorzios were present to talk about the wines, as were representatives from most of the wineries. Morellino is near the coast, less than two hours north of Rome, while Montecucco sits a bit to the northeast, closer to the heart of Tuscany.

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Alfred Gratien Champagne Dinner at Betony, NYC

Lobster with citrus foam and FIVE glasses of Alfred Gratien Champagne at Betony, NYC. 

Lobster with citrus foam and FIVE glasses of Alfred Gratien Champagne at Betony, NYC. 

     We have long been proponents of drinking Champagne any time of year rather than saving it for holidays and special occasions. We also love to drink it alongside food instead of having a glass before dinner and then moving on to still wine. Opening a bottle of Champagne is a celebration in itself and a feast for the senses, from the pop of the cork—whether it is a soft hiss or a loud crack—to the last satisfying sip.

     We recently had the opportunity to enjoy dinner at Betony, one of New York City’s reigning fine-dining palaces, with Olivier Dupré, the CEO of Alfred Gratien, and Suzie Kukaj, Senior PR Manager for Mionetto USA, the brand’s new importer. We enjoyed spirited conversation about wine, Champagne, culture, food, and travel alongside five bottles of Alfred Gratien Champagne. The food was delightful, the service was impeccable, and the Champagne was a delight to the palate. We thought you would enjoy our tasting notes, so that you can choose the bottle of Alfred Gratien that aligns best with the style you prefer.

Alfred Gratien Classic Brut Champagne:  A blend of 46% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, and 30% Pinot Meunier, the Classic Brut offers crisp, refreshing flavors of green apple and peach with strong minerality and a good level of acidity.

Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis Brut 2006:  This blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir tasted surprisingly fresh after aging between six and seven years in the bottle. The Paradis Brut features a complex balance of light toasty notes and shimmering acidity. Flavors of apple and pear with a touch of bitter almond fill the mouth through the strong finish.

Alfred Gratien Brut Millésimé 2000: Made from 64% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, and 11% Pinot Meunier, the Brut Millésimé 2000 is aged in bottle under cork rather than a metal cap, which does nothing to diminish its brightness. It is round in the mouth with a good balance of toasty notes and bracing acidity. Flavors of apple and pair are joined by soft hints of white flowers and slivered almonds.

Alfred Gratien Classic Rosé: Creamy in the mouth, this blend of 42% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay, and 22% Pinot Meunier has flavors of strawberry, peach, and lemon zest. Good mouthfeel and high acidity create a nice tension on the palate that continues into the rewarding finish.

Alfred Gratien Cuvée Paradis Rosé 2007: This deep-pink rosé is a blend of 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir. In a word, this is a beautiful Champagne that is equal parts delicate and bold. Flavors of citrus fruits and cherry are accented by touches of orange zest and almond blossom, with strong but not overpowering toast notes present across the entire palate. This was the wine that both of us gravitated to with Betony’s poached lobster in citrus foam.