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by Fred McMillin
for September 6, 2000

 

The Dream


Prologue

Le Reve ("reve" is "dream" in French) 1992 and 1993 vintages were rated "the best American sparkling wine" by the Beverage Testing Institute of the U.S.A.

Whence Le Reve? Let's go back to 1734 in the Champagne district of France.


Birth of the Bubbles

1734—Champagne was noted for its fine still white wines, chiefly from the Chardonnay grape. Critics were not impressed by the trendy addition of bubbles. "Since you requested it, I'm sending you this early-bottled sparkling wine, though it is of little worth, and belongs to beer..." wrote a leading Epernay merchant. His customer, Marechal de Montesquiou d'Artagnan, replied, "I see now how wrong I was to ask you to bottle my wine so it would be sparkling. I promise you that in the future I shall not mention it again."

In spite of the bad press, one Jacques Fourneaux founded what is today the third oldest Champagne house.

1932—Pierre Taittinger from Alsace buys the Fourneaux operation, with its fantastic ancient stone cellars that have been active for two centuries. Great grapes and exquisite winemaking brought Taittinger to the esteemed Grande Marque level. The flagship wine was a Blanc de Blancs Comptes de Champagne, first vintage, 1952.

1960—Five years before Pierre's death, his son Claude became director of the firm. In time, he must of had a dream. He would bring Taittinger to America...build a magnificent chateau similar to their own Chateau de la Marguetterie...create a magnificent flagship Blanc de Blancs similar to their Comptes de Champagne,and name it Le Reve, a dream that came true. In fact, it is our...


Wine of the Day

Domaine Carneros  
Le Reve, Vintage 1994, Brut
Domaine Carneros (by Taittinger), (pictured)
Appellation—When we last checked, Domaine Carneros is the world's only producer of sparklers using grapes solely from Carneros.
Address—1240 Duhig Road, Napa California, 94559
Contacts—Winery (707) 257-0101, FX (707) 257-3020; NYC: Sarah Powers, (212) 692-4610
Winemaker—We'll have to devote an Annex article to Eileen Crane...sociology degree, social worker, master's degree in nutrition, Culinary Institute of America, teaches nutrition at U. Of Connecticut, U. Cal.-Davis Enology, Domaine Chandon sparklers, Gloria Ferrer Winemaker and Veep. Then, in 1987, Managing Director and Winemaker of Domaine Carneros.
Owners—This is a joint venture of Taittinger and wine importer Kobrand Corp.
Price of the Dream—$55


Postscript

Claude Taittinger had little trouble getting his own way as he created Domaine Carneros. You see, he's a JUDO BLACK BELT (i.e., he holds a black belt in Judo.)

Credits
Tom Stevenson's World Encyclopedia of Champagne
Andre L. Simon's Champagne

 

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 
 


This page created September 2000

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