champagne

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Camden, Maine has become an annual April excursion for us and a group of friends. While the weather can be a bit iffy, Camden is beautiful year-round, and we all enjoy good food, cocktails, wine, and laughs, making it easy for us to have a good time anywhere.

In 2016 we stayed at the beautiful Hartstone Inn, and for 2017 we decided to mix it up and stay at 16 Bay View, a new waterfront boutique hotel in Camden.

16 Bay View Camden Maine

16 Bay View is located in the heart of Camden, and while brand new, features an “old school with a twist” kind of a feel, especially in the lobby and The Vintage Room, the hotel’s restaurant and lounge.

16 Bay View

Our room was chic and luxurious with a working gas fireplace, balcony, and big fluffy bed.

boutique hotel   luxury boutique hotel

The gigantic soaking tub, however, was my favorite feature of the room. This bath was positively dreamy!

soaking tub

16 Bay View has an incredible roof deck with views of Camden Harbor, and took a quick peek of the views while we opened a magnum of Drappier Carte d’Or Champagne that we picked up for the weekend.

Drappier Champagne

I love Champagne so, and this was an excellent choice.

Camden Maine

Quintessential New England views plus sunshine plus Champagne basically equals my dream life.

Camden Maine

When the temperatures cooled off and the sun went down, The Vintage Room was the perfect place to cozy up with a cocktail and snacks like charcuterie. The food and drinks are great, and the service is even better. We love Marcus!

charcuterie

Manhattan cocktail

We managed to visit The Vintage Room a few times and even started a dance party on our last night, making for an even more memorable trip to Maine than last year. 16 Bay View was an incredible place to stay; I am still craving the fun and relaxation that the weekend brought! It’s definitely a hotel I would stay in again and again!

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Tags: Camden, champagne, cocktails, hotels, Maine, Travel, travel blog

Several weeks ago I was invited to a media lunch at L’Espalier  to taste the Champagne of Champagne Bruno Paillard with Alice Paillard, daughter of the founder, winemaker, and visionary behind  Maison Bruno Paillard. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love Champagne and that a visit to the region is at the top of my list. Attending this Champagne lunch was quite the treat, and one afternoon I won’t soon forget.

It started out with some relaxing chatting in the Salon at L’Espalier which is my new favorite spot for business meetings. It’s simply lovely and perfectly put together; the carefully chosen decor at L’Espalier was a common theme in our conversation throughout lunch.

When it was time for our lunch, we were seated by a window looking up Boylston Street, an iconic Boston view from an iconic Boston restaurant. Perfection.

L'Espalier

Alice Paillard has been working with her father at Champagne Bruno Paillard since 2007. In her time she has worked in the vineyards and cellar, developed the exporting side of the business, and now co-manages the Maison with her father. Her knowledge and passion for the Champagne was so exciting to see firsthand, and to top it off, she was absolutely lovely.

Our discussion of the color scheme and art at L’Espalier turned into one of Champagne as our first taste, Champagne Brut Premiere Cuvee, the flagship wine of the house, was poured. Alice explained that, much like a beautiful room, Champagne is the result of a series of decisions, starting with the villages and vineyards, deciding how long the Champagne should remain on the lees, how long to cellar, all of the things that give it its final character and personality. Champagne Bruno Paillard is among the newer houses, and as a result, they don’t always have to do things the way “things are always done”.

Champagne Bruno Paillard

Quality is key, dosage is kept very low to create a brut Champagne, and the disgorgement date is on every bottle. Disgorgement disturbs the wine, and the inclusion of the date on the bottle allows the recipient to know how long it has had to rest and recover since disgorgement. Alice likened it to the human body recovering after surgery; in every instance, the wine is alive and reacts to all that happens to it. The attention to detail, right down to chilling this bottle on only a few ice cubes, reawakened my love and respect for all that goes into wine.

Deciding on which menu items from L’Espalier’s enticing and elegant lunch menu to pair with the Champagne was a fun discussion as again it became important to weigh decisions on what would go together best. Our small group was open to sharing plates (always the best way to eat, in my opinion), and so our courses were ordered and Champagne was poured and enjoyed, both with the food and on its own.

lunch at L'Espalier

{House smoked salmon with pickled vegetables, crème fraîche and American caviar*}

lobster bisque

{L’Espalier’s “signature” Maine lobster bisque with garlic flan}

 

Champagne Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs Reserve Privee

{Champagne Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée}

Nova Scotia halibut

{Nova Scotia halibut with Maitre Gaspard, Delta asparagus, potatoes and fermented mustard seed}

 IMG_5230

{Wild mushroom risotto with Maine lobster, a New England farm coddled egg and brown butter emulsion}

Champagne Assemblage 2008

{Champagne Assemblage 2008}

IMG_5233{Roasted prime beef sirloin: “another soupe a l’oignon”, fingerling potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms and anchovy purée}

IMG_5235

{Champagne N.P.U. – “”Nec Plus Ultra”" 2003 “}

Champagne lunch

{Pairing Champagne with a slightly salty, umami beef dish , one of the more surprising pairings of the day, but one that actually worked deliciously. And look at the color in that glass!}}

L'Espalier cheese plate

{L’Espalier’s famous cheese plate paired with Champagne Rosé Première Cuvée}

Alice showed us where Champagne Bruno Paillard grapes come from; carefully chosen vineyards and grapes cultivated by the same families for more than 30 years. Again, the choice of location and that location’s terroir being important decisions in the beautiful Champagne that makes its way into your glass, if you are lucky!

Champagne

Champagne Tasting Notes

We tasted the following wines at the lunch.

Champagne Extra Brut Première Cuvée
Champagne Rosé Première Cuvée
Champagne Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée Grand Cru
Champagne Assemblage 2008
Champagne N.P.U. – “”Nec Plus Ultra”" 2003 “

My own scribbled tasting notes don’t do these beautiful wines the same justice that the notes on the website do. I was enthralled by not only the technical savvy behind the wines, but more importantly the love, pride, and passion that Alice exuded. I encourage you to explore and discover the Champagnes of Bruno Paillard at your own pace. The website is beautiful and so full of information on the house, the Champagne making process, and so much more.

If you are in the Boston area, you can find Champagne from Bruno Paillard at several retail outlets, including the following:

Gordons

Urban Grape

Inman Square Wines

Kappy’s Peabody

Cellar d’Or

Lower Falls Wine

Table & Vine

This lunch was provided to me at no charge as a media guest. All opinions are my own. 

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Tags: Boston, Boston blogger, bubbly, champagne, events, sparkling wine, wine

Happy Wine Wednesday! A short week makes it feel a little like a Tuesday while a very busy one makes it feel like today should be Saturday. I can’t complain because it’s warm out, and I have some exciting things on the horizon.

Every now and then life shakes things up a little when you least expect it, and that can be a very good thing.  Over the past few months, several projects and consulting opportunities started to come my way, and I started trying, one-by-one to take them on in addition to my in-house role. That pretty quickly became too much for someone with only 24 hours in a day (Seriously, why can’t we add more? I want to do everything. )

Charles de Cazanove Champagne Tet de Cuvee

The final push was that one of those opportunities was in the wine industry supporting an event in one of the places I love the most in the world. The decision quickly became a clear one, and we were celebrating even before my official plans were in place. We picked up this 750 ml bottle of Charles de Cazanove Tete De Cuvee Brut Champagne at a Bin Ends event, feeling like a warm spring night and a great opportunity were more than enough reason to start celebrating. This Champagne is everything I love about Champagne; that brioche and biscuit warmth and yeastiness, loads of tiny bubbles that make you smile (and sneeze!), acidity and lemon notes, kind of like lemon meringue pie. We sat in our back yard on the swings and talked all about how life is full of opportunity and how difficult it can be to leave a place and people you really admire and respect.

In one week, I will pack it up at the place where I’ve spent the last two years, learned so much, made memories, and seen some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and I will be out on my own once again, a new schedule, home office, clients, and exciting work.

If you know of someone looking for a Marketing/Social Media/PR Consultant, let me know! You can find out more about my background here.  As I take this scary step, I know there can never be too much work!

I’m putting the finishing touches on my home office and really excited for the future. I know that some of my work travels will cross over into the blog, and it should be a good time all around. Thanks for sticking around for the ride.

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Tags: celebrations, champagne, lifestyle, wine, Wine Wednesday, work

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