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What does "cuvee" (pronounced, 'coo-vay') mean?

Cuvee, (pronounced, 'coo-vay') as in English Cuvee, denotes a particular batch or lot of wine.
The best sparkling wine are a result of artful blending by the winemaker. To produce great champagne, it requires the balancing of strengths and weaknesses of different batches. By doing so, the winery develops a particular style that can be associated with the name of the batch or winery itself.

2. Everyone knows that sparkling wine should be chilled before drinking. What is generally thought to be the ideal temperature at which to drink it?

Most of the time wines which should be chilled are too cold, and wines to be consumed at room temperature are too warm. Temperatures below 50ºF will mask the true flavor of the wine. So, be cautious of labels which recommend you serve the wine "well chilled" -- they probably have defects which can be concealed at a very low temperature. Sparkling wines should be cooled down to 50-55ºF.

3. Without looking at a world map, if you followed the latitude line from the Champagne region of France across the globe to the U.S., where in the western part of North America would it line up?

It won't be close to northern California! It actually falls about 800 miles north of California where Washington state and British Columbia, Canada, meet. Conversely if you follow the latitude line in the opposite direction from Napa, California, you end up around Morocco, North Africa! Napa days are much hotter and brighter, which means the grapes ripen faster and sweeter than French grapes. The differences in climate dictate different growing and production techniques.

Originally Published in our Gold Wine Club "Wine Press" newsletter Van der Kamp Cellars 1992 Edition.