December 2015 - Please The Palate
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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register Every day is a good day for Champagne, and with New Year’s Eve approaching, it is especially time to make sure that the bottles are being chilled. What Champagne will you be drinking this year? Perhaps try Champagne Baron de Rothschild. Champagne Barons de Rothschild Champagne Baron de Rothschild is a relatively new Champagne house. While most Champagne houses date back to the 1880s, Baron de Rothschild started in 2003, with their first harvest in 2005 and their first release in 2009. While less than 10 years old, this young house comes with 250 years of history and experience. It was created by three branches of the Rothschild family, each with established wineries in Bordeaux — Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Clarke. With many wine families around the world famous for tension and splitting alliances, the alliance of these three iconic Bordeaux producers is impressive. They united and, using all of their networks, have created a Champagne that shows what they are capable of. Champagne Barons de Rothschild is not a grower Champagne but rather a Champagne by the growers. While they own their own vineyards, they also source fruit from top Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards in the region. Out of approximately 400 vineyards in Champagne, there are 17 Grand Cru villages. Baron de Rothschild works with 72 hectares of this Grand Cru classified fruit.
Naoussa Located in Macedonia in the north of Greece, approximately one hour west Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, is the wine region of Naoussa. Naoussa was one of the first regions in Greece to receive protected denomination of origin (PDO) status in 1971 and is the home to the native grape Xinomavro. Xino, which means “sour,” and mavro, which means “black,” is the single grape variety permitted under the PDO Naoussa. Xinomavro is one of two red varieties of Greek wine that puts the country on the international wine map. The vineyards of Naoussa are at 1,150 feet. Influence from the Aegean and Ionian seas has resulted in a mosaic of soils, including rocks and clay, throughout the region. The region experiences a Mediterranean climate with strong continental influences. The days reach high temperatures and the nights reach low temperatures. The climate, combined with humidity and high fog, makes Xinomavro the last grape to harvest each vintage.