2013 Champagne Doyard Oeil de Perdrix Grand Cru Extra Brut

Having never stared a partridge in the eye, we’ll have to believe les gens de Champagne about the colour. Perhaps they still go out and shoot their dinner? Developed blanc de noirs or pale rosé? Research suggests it’s an old rosé de presse method to give a little colour. Anyway, there’s some aristocratic grapes in this, 75% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and 25% Chardonnay from Avise. Grand crus amongst grand crus perhaps? Fine definition of red fruit spiced with a touch of barrel that recedes as the bubbles burst. Sugar dusted raspberries, candied citrus and almost cinnamon, poised and precise, all cut into shape by pinpoint chalky acidity. Beautifully tailored, subtle, no flashy bling.

About 12% alcohol probably? Cork. Extremely thoughtful apero, thanks!

95 points.

NV Champagne Bougeios Diaz Cuvée M

A very generous apero contribution, thanks. Happy to cook for you again! Opens clean and fresh with rich yeast and apple pie. Same in the mouth with mouthwatering acidity. The zero dosage isn’t really noticeable as the fruit’s so rich and full. Beautiful autumnal apples, sweet lemon and buttery, yeasty pastry. Great impact and riches to get the casual drinker’s attention and enough detail to please us boring winos. Great fizz equals best aperitif ever.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. What a nice share. Magnum next time, OK?

94 points.

NV Champagne Philippe Glavier La Grâce d’Alphaël Grand Cru

Pure Chardonnay from the Côtes des Blancs. Opens with some yeast and savoury smells, then goes all tight and steely, then becomes a sublime exercise in linear power contained by an exquisite lightness of being. The fruit is fine sweet citrus and perfumed quince skin. Touches of spice and the best ripe acidity leave a hauntingly long taste of enormous subtleness. Incredibly clean and fresh too. If bombast and sweetness matter most in Champagne, then you’ll miss the beauty of this quietly spoken angel.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. $75.

95 delicate points.

2008 Minière Symbiose Champagne

Opened with a blast of fruit, seaside ozone and caramelised yeasty pastries in the background. Deep fruit flavours of icing sugar dusted raspberries for width and crystallised citrus for length. Finishes with deliciously mouthwatering acidity and a gorgeous touch of sweet brown spices. Perhaps that’s the oak? Not sure it’s noticeable if you didn’t know it was there? Really clean and full of impact from the first sip. Just got better as the bottle disappeared. The sort of natural fruit richness that’s starting to make tasty globally warmed Champagne seem a good deal.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. Not sure how much, generous friend indeed.

95 points.

NV Lilbert Fils Perle Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne

Seriously delicious bubbles which are set at a lower pressure than normal according to the name Perle on the label, not that you could tell as beautiful sweet citrus and spiced fruit pastries burst across the tongue. Perfect ripeness pillowed by such poised fine acidity. Sublime tension. A bit of air reveals more chalky savoury details. Finely chiseled and dashing. Another impeccable selection, Victor!

12% alcohol. Diam. About $75 I think.

95 points.

NV Voirin Jumel Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs

A year since the last bottle and the time patiently lurking in the cupboard has enticed the latent fruit depth into focus. Impeccably clean, icing sugar coated citrus, quince, red apple and fine spice jumbled with ozone freshness and a small seasoning of brioche. Mineral acid tension. Great quality of fruit sweetness without any cloying dosage. A bottle between four vanished as quickly as appetites were sharpened. A magnum might not be too extravagant after all. Fantastic value from Champagne de Vigneron’s faultless direct import selections.

12% alcohol. Cork. About $55 pre arrival if memory serves, rarely.

93 points but extra bits for sheer yum.

Simple dinner for three..

Two halves and one full bottle made for a tasty and almost moderate dinner, sort of…

NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier.

Delicious from the gentle phttt of the cork. Rich but fresh. Older honeyed pastry and hazelnuts mixed perfectly with crystalline candied citrus and pale red fruit. Mouthwatering and appetite whetting likes no other drink. If NV’s job is to be full of delicious impact from the perfumed start, then this is the bee’s knees.

12.50% alcohol. Cork I think, maybe Diam, failing memory. Another generous share.

94 points.

2013 Comm. G B Burlotto Barolo.

Clean, expressive and so savoury from the start. Perfect cherry red fruit, almond paste and stones. Just got fresher and deeper. Not the deep dark of Serralunga or Monforte but all the drive, brightness and perfume of the more north westerly bits of Barolo land. Somehow seemed much smaller than 375 mls. Alarmingly quick disappearance.

14% alcohol. Cork. Thanks for sharing.

95 points.

1999 Domaine Tollot Beaut Corton Bressandes.

Dark, extractive and still a bit oaky. Got a bit fresher and deeper fruited as it came up for air. Rich red fruit conserve and darker clay and chalky earth. The rear end filled out well with dark cane fruit depth. Still some life in the tannin texture of both skin and cocoa oak buoyed by a gentle acid rasp. Shame the remains tired so quickly the next day.

14% alcohol. Cork. About $100 on release.

93 points.