I wish I could raise the same enthusiasm for writing a post as I do for actual drinking. A few really good bottles stood out in recent weeks, so let’s get battling WordPress’ weird spell checking. This mouthwatering, appetite enhancing bottle of fizzy fun is mostly Pinot Meunier and thanks to an unusually informative back label, it’s based on the 2018 harvest with some reserve wine from a solera started in 1998. The dosage is a low 3.8 grams which completely disappeared as a good mouthful seems to finish with an arid smack of ripe acidity. Almost looks zero sugar addiction. Austere and tense the first day, so much better the second as sweet yeasty patisserie gives way to wide yellow fruit and crystalline citrus like yuzu or Meyer lemon. Hints of tart hedgerow fruits too. Drives on through as that acidity rises. There’s an extraordinary transparency for Champagne as you can sort of taste what those Meunier grapes were like at picking. Fascinating drink and very different to the corporate calm of some bubbles.
12% alcohol. Cork. Swapped for some difficult to get mail list bottles. Think I’m ahead with this.
Cinq cent cinquante cinq certainly isn’t the easiest French number for an anglophone to get their mouth around. So much easier to drink though. So rich, dense and compact. Beautiful clean smells and tastes of crystallised citrus, quince, apple tarte tatin and spiced brioche. Such a mid winter cheer up treat. Over two days nothing budged from the first phhuutt of opening. It’s been languishing in the cellar for a couple of years, demonstrated by the cork staying compressed after gently wriggling free and just about the only clue to its age. The flavours despite their power show impressive compression and tension. For the technically minded, the back label says so much more than most Champagnes are willing to admit. All Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte de Blancs, barrel ferment, five different vintages, 20% reserve wine, 6gs per litre dosage and no malolactic ferment. The last bit still shows strongly with a surge of mouthwatering, appetite enhancing tingling acidity to close. Don’t think there’s a better way to start yet another quiet evening at home.
12% alcohol. Cork. Enthusiastic wifely purchase. Thanks indeed for sharing, dear.
A very upmarket bottle of fizz from Chardonnay grown in the hallowed Grand Cru turf of Le Mesnil sur Oger in the Côte de Blancs. Opens with a bottle aged, nose tingling whack of barley sugar, dead yeast and lemon peel. Amazingly still bubbly on day two, it just threw off the blankets of age and awoke fresher and full of energy. More hedgerow flowers, touch of peach, candied citrus and gingerbread spice in aroma and mouthful. The structure sets it apart from any other BdB I’ve been lucky enough to share. Extraordinary vice like grip of shining steel acidity, paradoxically fine and pinpoint, carries the flavours on and on like a TGV at top speed. A smooth, powerful ride. Don’t think the ticket’s exactly affordable on a daily commute basis.
12% alcohol. Cork. Glad I didn’t have to pay for it, current release retails well over $200, gulp.
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!
The front label is much prettier but goodness, don’t you wish all NV Champagne had a back label with this much info? If you just like glugging Veuve then you’re probably indifferent and aren’t reading this anyway. For the price of anodyne LVMH you can have this though. Sparklingly clean in every sense, flowers, crystallised citrus, touch of yeasty patisserie and driving linear acidity carrying all those flavours a long way. Contained, subtle power that rules on shiny polished rails. The reserve wine and time on those little yeast beasties just add intricacy to the chalky sense of place. Côte des Blancs precision from an obsessively quality driven producer who only makes small amounts of bliss like this. This would make even the most jaded appetite drool.
12% alcohol. Cork. $70 or thereabouts direct from the importer.
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?
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.
August 2020, same label, different wine, such is NV based on different years and disgorging dates. 2016 base wine. Less generous than the one above, yeasty brioche and tarte tatin without the sugar to start, then a wave of chalky dry austerity. Cool citrus and sort of Chablis like green ripeness paradox.
92 points but maybe more with another year or so rest?
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.
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.
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.