Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wine Review Wednesday: Pommery POP Earth Brut Champagne

Tomorrow is Earth Day, which, it seems to me, calls for some sort of celebration. And I cannot think of a better way to do so than by opening up a bottle of Pommery's new POP Earth Brut Champagne, a wine that proves yet again that what's good for the environment is often great for the palate.

The Champagne community in general, as I’ve noted here several times before (type "Champagne" into the search box), is leading the way toward better, smarter practices, from vineyard to winery to method of shipping and beyond. And, as a result, their wines are not only having far less of an adverse impact on the planet, but, it seems to me, they also just keep on getting better and better--a fairly mind-boggling thought for those of us who already love Champagne.

Pommery POP Earth is a great example of the benefits of these efforts. From an environmental standpoint, the team at Pommery is doing everything right: The bottle is lighter than the old standard one (they’ve actually been using a lighter bottle since 2003); the labels on the bottle are partially made of recycled paper, and are printed with water-soluble ink; sustainability has been accorded great importance to their vine-growing philosophy; and more.

And the best part is that all of these efforts are in the service of a Champagne that is utterly delicious. It leads off with a nose of deep, detailed brioche and a hint of mushroom and sous bois, but these are given lift by apricot, lemon oil, and the barest intimation of licorice. There’s also evidence of chalk and warm brown sugar delicately weaving their way throughout. The palate possesses a vaguely glycerine texture, something almost creamy, but it manages to stay light on its feet and lively throughout. And please: Don’t let the “POP” name fool you: This is finely detailed stuff despite its gulpability. (And anyway, POP stands for "Product of Pommery.") The mid-palate’s fruit is dominated by grapefruit, an impression that’s heightened by the bright acidity of the wine. And the earth from the nose, as well as a sense of stoniness, find their way to the palate, too, and lead to a finish that’s a touch spicy and eventually turns in the direction of almond skin and lemon. Delicious.

It’s complex, to be sure, but never at the expense of the ready pleasure it provides. And the fact that it’s made with the environment so firmly in mind makes POP Earth even better. Earth Day or any day, this is a Champagne worth celebrating with.


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