Vallee de la Marne, France
This bottling is from Champagne's Marne Valley, an hour's drive from Paris, near Reims and Epernay. Didier and Karine Chopin make Champange for their own label as well as the Charles de Marques brand, and this bottling is exclusive to Trader Joe's. The Chopins began producing Champagne from a small parcel of vines just outside the village of Champlat-et-Boujacourt acquired from Karine's family nearly three decades ago. The Chopins obtained more vineyards in the vicinity, increasing their holdings to 20 acres, and will add another 60 acres in the next few years. This Champagne is a blend of 60 percent petit meunier and 40 percent pinot noir produced in the methode traditionelle. Most major Champagne houses age the wine on its lees for one to three years, but the Chopins extend the process to five years to develop complex flavor. In the glass, it offers aromas of brioche, hazelnut, apple and citrus. On the palate, taste minerality and good acidity. Drink it as an aperitif or with smoked salmon, caviar, oysters, shellfish and soft cheeses like brie and Pont-l'Eveque. Buy it at: Trader Joe's.