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About this Episode

Robert Tas and Whitney Grant, wine educator and certified sommelier, visit the well-known and loved Cafe Champagne in Pike Place Market, a charming Parisien-style cafe complete with a traditional menu and a wine list that offers thirty wines by the glass. The wines chosen for the Café are bistro-like: forward, simple, delicious wines from smaller appellations off the beaten path. 

Wines reviews include:

  • Nv Crémant De Savoie
  • 2019 Sancerre - Sancerre AOC
  • 2011 Saint-Julien Château
Transcript: Cafe Champagne

Café Champagne

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules!

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a Wine List from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Whitney Grant, wine educator, and certified sommelier.

Hello Whitney, it’s great to have you back on with CorkRules.

WG: Hi Robert! Thanks for having me! I’m excited to share these wine selections with you and the CorkRules listeners.

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

RT: Today we are talking about Cafe Champagne. Established in 1994, A classic Parisian cafe in the heart of Pike Place Market, Café Campagne has been cultivating regulars and pleasing out-of-town guests since its doors opened. Located on the charming Post Alley, it is the perfect spot to watch the world go by. We offer a dining experience that is exceptional in traditional food & wine, and comfortable in ambiance and service.

Whitney I can’t wait to hear what you think of their vast wine list.

WG: Well, Robert with a name like Cafe Champagne we might as well start with the namesake and chat about bubbles.

RT: Sounds like a great place to start!

 I would recommend a bottle of the Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs La-lee-eh(Lallier). This wine is made from 100% chardonnay and is a beautiful pale lemon color. On the nose, you’ll get lovely floral aromas of acacia with the signature secondary notes of pastry and butter. On the palate, the freshness and acidity of chardonnay will dominate with a vibrant citrus finish.

RT: Is there anything you’d recommend if you are only looking to enjoy a glass? 

WG: I would suggest the NV CRÉMANT DE SAVOIE. This wine is a blend and is 30% Chardonnay along with 50% Jacquere and 20% Altesse. It has bright acidity and packed with flavors of lemon, apple, and minerals.

RT: Crémant is another form of sparkling wine, could you explain to our listeners what the difference is between Crémant and Champagne?

WG: As you know to be considered Champagne the wine must be made in the Champagne region of France. Crémant is a great alternative to Champagne and in sort, it is wine made in the same style as Champagne but in a different region. You can see the Crémant de Savoie is a Champagne-style wine made in the Savoie region, the Crémant d’Alsace is a champagne-style wine made in Alsace.

RT: You can certainly save some money without sacrificing quality by drinking this style of sparkling wine. Taking a look at the rest of the by-the-glass menu, what would you suggest?

WG: 2019 SANCERRE - Sancerre AOC is located in the Lorie valley of France, and Sauvignon Blanc is the only white wine variety permitted in this region. This cool climate region produces dry wine with high acidity.

This wine is delicious, with flavors of citrus, chalky minerality, and subtle floral notes.

RT: Ok, how about a glass for the red wine drinkers?

2018 BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR - Wines labeled as such are a great choice for inexpensive French wines. With the Bordeaux Superieur designation, you’ll typically get wines that are early drinking, medium-bodied with bright red and black fruit flavors.

This wine has aromas of coffee and toffee, while the palate bursts with fresh currant and blueberry flavors.

RT: Wow, sounds delicious. What about something to impress my guests?

WG: The wine that really caught my eye when I first looked at the list is the 2003 CONDRIEU.

RT: That's a great choice, what drew you to this wine?

WG: Viognier is one of my favorite white wines and Condrieu is the region located in the Northern Rhone Valley of France,  producing some of the absolute best of the best of this varietal. This region produces 100% Viognier and the best wines come from low-yielding old vines giving the wines super concentrated flavors. 

With this being a 2003 vintage the wine has really developed those lovely tertiary characteristics of toast and almonds with dried fruit notes.

RT: You can’t go wrong with Condrieu, that region is certainly known for excellent wines. How about you tell us about a red that will impress as well.

WG: I would suggest the 2011 SAINT-JULIEN Château Gloria. Saint-Julien is a region located on the left bank of Bordeaux so a cabernet sauvignon-driven blend.     

2011 was an excellent vintage so this wine really caught my eye. This wine has a beautiful dense ruby color with flavors of tobacco and subtle oak influence with fruit flavors of plum, juicy blackberries, and blueberries. Medium plus body with velvety tannins and a nice long finish.                                          

RT: We’ve talked a lot about French wine today, before we go are there any domestic wines worth mentioning?

WG: Yes, there are some fantastic domestic wines offered here as well.

2016 Conner Lee Vineyard red blend is 59% Merlot and 41% Cabernet Franc. It has rich flavors of dark red currant, herbs, and blueberry with cherry jam on the finish. Conner Lee is a well-respected producer here in Washington state establishing their Columbia Valley vineyard way back in 1980.

And you know I love my Williamette Valley wines!

RT:  Yes you do! What would you recommend for an Oregon wine?

WG: The 2015  Big Table Farm Chardonnay. This wine was aged in French oak (10% new) on the lees. Rich and full-bodied, with flavors of butter, cream, and lemony custard, with subtle oak influences of sandalwood and spice. That richness is nicely balanced by acid leaving you with a mouthwatering finish.

RT: Whitney Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Champagne Cafe’s wine List. I can’t wait to go try them myself.

WG: Thanks for having me Robert, this was an exciting list to review and I hope you get the chance to enjoy some of these wines!

RT: To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists.

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.




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