Brilliant fizz with lunch

I promised myself a bottle of Champagne to celebrate surviving going under the knife. As I know my GP reads this site I should add I did not open this bottle until over 48 hours after my operation. I definitely did not have any alcohol in that 48 hours, oh no… No Pimms, no G&Ts, nothing like that…

Gratien is one of my favourite Champagne houses. Their non-vintage is a great drink and usually good value, whilst the vintage wines are often stunning. I have some 1996 vintage left and the last bottle I had was really exciting.

Alfred Gratien Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2007

Vintage Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2007, Alfred Gratien

Wonderful, attractive, vinous nose that is an absolute joy. It is very fresh and fruity, and also very winey; it smells more like a slightly oaky Chablis than most Blanc de Blancs Champagnes. But that fruit on the nose is absolutely lovely, you cannot sniff this and fail to think you’ll be having a good time when you drink it. Brilliant mousse! Really fine and soft texture. The lively acidity is a thrill as well and harmonises wonderfully with the great apple fruit. Again, it is quite Chablis-like, but with bubbles. Very long, very stylish, extremely good. It won’t age, needs drinking pretty soon, but there is nothing wrong with that. A wonderful bottle of wine that was a great celebration of still being alive – at £35 from the Wine Society you should be snapping this up with glee.

Just as an aside, I had some Bollinger 2002 recently. It cost double the amount, also wouldn’t age more than a year or two, and was inordinately more ordinary. That was just a really dull bottle of fizz that I found a real chore to drink and, given the price, it was hard to feel anything other than robbed when drinking it. The Gratien B de B caused no such feelings and I would recommend it ahead of Bolly 2002 without a second’s hesitation.

Gizzard and sausage salad

We drank the Gratien with duck gizzard salad with Montbeliard sausage added. I’ve given the recipe for duck gizzard salad here, and we just sliced up the smoky, porky, yummy sausage and fried it up with the gizzards. A richly tasty, hilariously pleasurable salad (that would scare most neurotic salad eaters) which was great with lively, delightful, vibrant Champagne. The fruit and vivacity of the fizz was a great foil for the rich complexity of the salad. Lunch at its best!


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