It should come as no surprise that one of these items in our household is champagne (well, whisky, too, but today I’m talking about champagne). We moved to France almost twenty years ago, and I while I loved the drink long before we came here, it’s status as a pantry staple dates to our relocation here.
Our staple bubbly, the Brut Nicolas Feuillatte NV, isn’t overly fancy nor particularly expensive, it’s not necessarily the stuff of special occasions and celebrations or for a fine dinner with friends, and it’s not from a small producer, but it’s reliable and it’s tasty.
It’s dry and finely pearled, with a pale gold colour. I always associate it with a light straw aroma, with apple and pear notes. If you ask me, it goes with most things, including little more than good conversation, or a warm fire in the fireplace.
Nicolas Feuillatte Champagnes are made from the mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes supplied by the Centre Vinicole – Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF) cooperative. Established in the early 1970s, the union is now the largest in Champagne, representing 82 smaller cooperatives and 5000 wine growers. The brand is among the most successful champagne producers, the third largest in the world.
I wrote recently that many great Champagne houses once carried the names of widows who had successfully carried on the family business – unfortunately, due to old French property laws, the only way a woman could act as the head of a company was if she married the proprietor, and was subsequently widowed.
Considering how much women contributed to the growth of the industry, it’s a bit odd that Champagne production is once again primarily seen as a male domain. Even the Nicolas Feuillatte web presence has a page titled Our Values – The Men. Having said that, it’s worth mentioning that the current President of the CV-CNF, Véronique Blin, is a woman born into a family of Champagne producers.
At any rate, the cupboard here at ChampagneWhisky always needs a bottle or two of Nicolas Feuillatte to feel well and truly stocked for all occasions, even it it’s just the evening news.