- The opening of this bottle of De Venoge 1993 Grand Vin des Princes was a last minute decision i.e. 30 minutes before I popped the cork. Usually, you would reserve opening a wine of this magnitude for the birth of your first-born child; instead, I/we decided that my wife’s “half-birthday” (August 7th) was a good enough reason! She’s an only child, and so she celebrates things like that…
- De Venoge is one of the few remaining houses producing all the styles of Champagne: Brut, Brut Millesime, Extra Brut Millesime, Demi-Sec, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Rose and a Tete de Cuvée
- The De Venoge Grand Vin des Princes comes in a fairly unusual conical-shaped bottle, with the bottom of the bottle bearing several small indentations, allowing it to be balanced at a 45° angle (see photo). I have no idea why. I can’t imagine there is much of a purpose to it, other than it “looking cool,” which to me is a perfectly good reason!
- De Venoge has been making bubbly since 1837. That’s 175 years to perfect the art of making Champagne! The house was founded in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ by the Swiss Marc-Henri de Venoge, who soon moved operations to the Epernay region.
- Apparently R&B artist Usher is/was in talks with De Venoge to create a “cuvee partnership” of-sorts. No comment from me on that one…
- I wonder how much cash De Venoge spent on their beautifully intricate website….since it’s all in Flash and therefore generally can’t be viewed on an iPhone/iPad…
- Champagne is pretty-much the only region in the world who place their entire focus only on the production of sparkling wines. There are plenty of other regions of the world making sparkling wine, often trying their best to emulate the Champagne-process; but in my opinion, very few succeed at coming close to matching the quality of true Champagne.
- Champagne is the only wine region in France to have just one appellation.
- The De Venoge Cuvee des Princes was aged sur-lies (in contact with its dead yeast cells) for 7 years, and is aged for over 14+ years prior to being released. The sue-lie contact contributes a bready and yeasty aroma/flavor, and certainly adds quite a few more layers of complexity to the wine.
- The only three grapes permitted in Champagne are: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Since this is a “Blanc de Blanc,” only Chardonnay is permitted to be used. The reverse would be a “Blanc de Noirs” (white wine made from black grapes) where Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are the only permitted grapes.
- “True” Champagne is thought to represent less than one in every 12 bottles of sparkling wine produce today. I actually thought it would be way less than that!
- The name “Champagne” is believed to be derived from the Latin word “campania,” which is also an Italian wine region north of Rome. During the Middle Ages, the term “Champagne” got caught in a game of “medieval Chinese whispers” and became more widely used to denote the North-East region of France.
Vintage Champagne is no-doubt a shock to the system for most people! Anyone who tastes a Champagne which has been aged for over 10+ years for the first time, and say that they enjoy it is a liar! They’re only saying they like it because they know the price, and probably don’t want to offend the other person. Vintage Champagne is certainly a taste which has to be acquired, since the “secondary” flavors/aromas will start to dominate.
The De Venoge Grand Vin des Princes 1993 yielded a golden-yellow color with few bubbles. A nose of toffee, hazelnuts, baked apples and pears, and biscotti. The taste showed more of the same, with honeycomb, dried lemon zest, almond, toast, fig and caramelized pear. A slight hint of oxidization, but not enough to detract from the wine itself. A beautiful Champagne, but as I said, it doesn’t give the “up-front enjoyment” most people will be expecting.
Well, we had it with tilapia tacos…and it worked just great! You might want to up-the-ante a little more though if you’re going to splurge on this bottle! Rabbit, lobster, smoked meats, dark truffles, parmesan cheese, sea bass or caviar would all work brilliantly.