by Fred McMillin
for April 23, 1998
This Is No Plain Champagne
The gastronomic scene a century and a half ago:
l836—The first printed American menu at Delmonico's in N.Y.C. lists the most expensive entree as hamburger steak at 10 cents.
1837—English pharmacists John Wheeler Lea and William Perrins in the town of Worcester introduce Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce.
1838—The House of Deutz is founded by William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann at Ay in the Champagne district of France, planting a 100-acre vineyard. Hugh Johnson says today Deutz & Geldermann remains a small, dynamic firm (with those same 100 acres). Author Carlo Petrini says Deutz("Geldermann" has been dropped) is the "symbol of Champagne, with outstanding winemaking" by the fifth-generation owners.
One critic opened a Deutz that "bubbled and sprayed up to heaven." Not content to rest on such laurels, the firm further upgraded its facilities in recent years, and you can taste the results in their latest "Brut Classic."
Deutz Classic Brut Champagne, Non-Vintage (blend of several years) Blend: 38%
Pinot Noir, 32% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay.
This is a non-vintage Champagne. Here's what the late, great Andre Simon said of them. "The vineyards of Champagne are very near the northern limit beyond which grapes will not mature. There are a number of years when the weather is not favorable and wines made from them will be somewhat tart and thin. Then wealthy Champagne Shippers with reserves of past good vintages bring forth the right quantity of soft and fat wine to blend with the others, often producing better values than the Vintage wines."
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