Celebrating The Holidays With Champagne Tasting!


The place: River and Rail Restaurant, Roanoke, Virginia


The event: Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tasting

presented with Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar



I always love going to River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia when Bill and Kristen from Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar present wine tastings. The Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tasting on Monday evening was super fun and tasty! One of my favorite pours of the evening was Willm Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut.  $20 price range. Cremant d’Alsace is the appellation for the sparkling wines of the Alsace wine region of north-eastern France. The methode traditionelle is used to make this bubbly.  100% pinot noir grapes. Nice and light (for a pinot noir) but has a good taste structure, apple and citrus notes.


River and Rail prepared spectacular tasty appetizers for us to pair with the champagne and sparkling wine.  Pictured above (left to right):  Smoked Trout Spread with Farro Parmesan Reggiano Cheese Flatbread Crackers, R&R’s Famously Delicious Deviled Eggs, Smithfield Ham and Gruyère cheese puffs and Pumpkin Seed Pesto and Goat Cheese Crostini.



A refreshing pour of  lovely Austrian sparkling wine Szigeti tickled my taste buds. Creaminess on the palate with crisp apple notes, a hint of honeysuckle and citrus and just a pop of white pepper at the end. $22 range.  Grüner Veltliner grapes, region: Lake Neusiedl – Burgenland.


Another favorite pour that evening… Le Mesnil Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru. The grapes for this champagne are sourced from the same village Salon makes their incredibly expensive luxury Champagnes. One-hundred percent Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards. This fine bubbly was an excellent pairing with the Smithfield Ham and Gruyère cheese puffs.  $50 price range. The methode traditionelle is used to make this bubbly. Light lemon color with tiny consistent bubbles. Notes of hazelnut and lightly toasted brioche.

During the tasting we noted that fine champagnes have smaller bubbles. That reminded me of a champagne that we tasted at a friend’s house that was absolutely divine.


The bubbles in this G. H. Mumm Carte Classique Extra Dry Champagne were super tiny fine bubbles.  This champagne resembled a fine golden chardonnay rather than a bubbly wine…but that is exactly what champagne is ~ fine wine!  Just because the bubbles are very tiny does not mean that the champagne will not taste good…quite the opposite is true.   Elegant and refined. Deep golden color.  Nice and toasty with fruity sweetness, but not so sweet as to alienate those who enjoy a brut champagne. I would describe the sweetness in this champagne as “richness” which added to the nuances of this fine bubbly.

Wishing all of my readers a very happy holiday season and all the best for a bright new year…and remember during all of the hustle bustle of the season…relax because…





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