Sunday, October 4, 2015

Champagne Palmer Makes Classy Entrance in US Debut


"The best Champagne to hit America's shores in decades," is how Champagne Palmer of France introduced itself to US wine lovers in a whirlwind national tour. Debuting at the ornate and historic Palmer House Hilton Chicago, Export Manager Raymond Ringeval (seen below, serving the inaugural toast) and Directeur Remi Vervier,  made the trip from Reims, France to personally introduce France's best kept Champagne secret.  Although hugely successful in Europe, this is the first time that Champagne Palmer  is being exported to the United States.

Champagne Palmer also had its US 'coming out' parties and tastings at Coya Restaurant , the Neuvo Latino restaurant on Miami's famed 'restaurant row'  on Brickell Avenue, with roots in the heart of London, Terroir in TriBeCa New York City and the celebrated Bull and Bear prime steak house at the legendary Waldorf Astoria. 

The wines launched included Palmer Brut Reserve ($52), a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier, which is aged 4 years on the lees and 6 months in the bottle after disgorgement (the final step in removing bacterial residue cap,  'the lees' used in fermentation, to create a clear, sparkling champagne). Most champagne houses only age for 2-3 years;  Palmer Rose' Reserve ($65), a blend of Brut Reserve with 15% red wine vinified in oak barrels, according to Burgundy tradition, then aged in a solera with red wines from the previous vintages. Palmer is the only house to use this method in Champagne. It's unique vibrant  color is only matched by its exotic flavors of pomegranate, ripe strawberries and a touch of vanilla bean, hibiscus and Tahitian nutmeg. 

 Palmer Blanc de Blancs ($79), is 80% Chardonnay from the two top Crus in the Montage de Reims (Trepail and Villers-Marmery)  and 20% Chardonnay from the Cote de Sezanne, south of the Cotes des Blancs. 

Finally, there's the Amazone de Palmer ($120), named for a prior director's favorite race horse, which is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir Reserve. This is an extraordinary Champagne, with an exquisite, sophisticated taste. Aged for 12 years and hand riddled according to traditional methods, this is the richest and most luxurious of all the wines in Palmer's portfolio.  This very special blend is made from the finest Reserve wines of the House and is truly a work of art.  With flavors of ripe pear, notes of buttered brioche toast and a hint of hazelnuts, it's an amazing blend  of taste sensations that pairs with the must luxurious foods; think caviar, lobster with truffles, and foie gras.  The taste is like a blend of platinum gold and diamonds in a glass!


Champagne Palmer was founded in 1947 by a group of seven growers in Avize, France who came together to work toward one common goal: to produce wines that would be the best possible expression of the terroir of the Montagne de Reims. The founders’ prime location within the Montagne de Reims and their strict adherence to traditional production methods helped them produce beautiful wines that quickly became a standard of quality in Champagne. With its reputation for consistently high-quality products, Champagne Palmer grew rapidly, and now encompasses over 300 growers.
The Landscape, Climate and Viticulture
In the vast ocean of Pinot Noir vineyards that encompass the Montagne de Reims, lies a small, “treasured island” of Chardonnay. It is here on this “island,” that Champagne Palmer has its vineyards. This prime location, on Premier and Grand Cru-designated land in two of the most famous sub-regions of Champagne – Villers-Marmery and TrĂ©pail – ensures that Palmer's vineyards enjoy an ideal combination of clay-rich soils, southern sun exposure, and cool climate.
Beyond its prized location in the Montagne de Reims, the secret to Champagne Palmer’s success is their incredible attention to detail, from the growth of the grapes through the extensive aging of the wines sur pointe. Their several million grapes are cared for according to Palmer’s non-interventionist philosophy, wherein the environment is the primary caretaker of the vineyards and the growers protect and watch over as nature does its work. Once the grapes are harvested, they undergo a combination of modern and traditional pressing and aging techniques. Methods such as manual disgorging, secondary fermentation in all bottles up to the 15 liter Nebuchadnezzar and aging sur pointe ensure that Champagne Palmer’s wines are the purest, most natural expression of the grapes and the lands from which they are made.


Champagne Palmer is best known in Europe as the Champagne in the Magnum bottle. It follows that when most people think of Champagne Palmer, they think of celebration. And what's not to celebrate. First, there's the quality and taste. Palmer and Company ages their champagne magnums longer than most put on the market:  ten years. "The Champage actually gets its second fermentation right in the bottle," as do all Palmer Champagnes. Ringeval said of the aging process. "That's what gives the Champagne its uniquely rich flavor  and rounded character."

Cellar Master Xavier Berdin also ages Palmer's non-vintage wine for about four years, while the millesime' (vintage champagne) sees 5-8 years of aging, with the magnums getting at least ten years on the lees (resting on matured yeast for balance and richness) before being released to the public. On the U.S. tour, Ringeval and Vervier are treating a select group of importers, media and sommeliers to a unique tasting of its older, rare vintages, paired with outstanding cuisine, such as braised and grilled vegetables,  supreme shellfish, such as Oysters on the Half Shell, Snow Crab claws and Jumbo Shrimp.

As "le piece de' resistance" Raymond Ringeval and Remi Vervier presented Champagne Palmer 1995 Blanc de Blancs, 100% Chardonnay, with a selection of Vosges chocolates, straight from their Exotic Chocolate Bar Collection . Surprisingly, the champagne was a perfect match to the chocolates, which were  Mo's Dark  Bacon Bar,  Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt Caramel Bar, Mo's Cinnamon and Sugar Bacon Bar, Black Salt Caramel Exotic Chocolate Bar, Coconut Caramel and Tart Cherry Bar, and its new flavors,  Guajillo and Chipotle Chili Super Dark Chocolate,  Acai and Golden Berries Super Dark,  and Pomegranate and Goji Super Dark Chocolate Bar. 

In spite of its age, the 1995 vintage tasted very youthful. It even took on a bit of lively zest when tasted with the flavorful chocolates.

"We got the idea at a tasting of our rare Champagnes in London," said Andy Taylor, Director of Marketing for Vin Divino, importer for Champagne Palmer. "One of our sales reps said that they would go great with chocolate souffle. So we said, 'why not try chocolates on our next trip" It's a match made in heaven!

Visit for more on Champagne Palmer and contact your local wine purveyor to find out when Champagne Palmer is available near you.

Palmer and Co. Export Manager Raymond Ringeval and Directeur Remi Vervier with a Magnum of Champagne Palmer 1995

 The proud winner of a Magnum of Palmer blanc de blanc 1995 in a raffle drawing, J'Nai Gaither, Freelance Writer

Present Champagne Palmer Blanc de Blanc

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