Wine group at E.O'N's 29/10/2007 (TNB)
- Blanc de blancs 2006 (Jose L Ferrer) Dry, fruity. Insubstantial but pleasant. This and the next wine are from Majorca.
- Randemar blanc 2006 Quite leesy, rich, fuller. Pleasant again. Top
- Clos des Papes blanc 1997 Almondy nose and palate. Very individual. good length. Bare
- Clos des Papes blanc 1995 A bit closed, rich. Seems just a tiny touch off but I'll rate it anyway.
- Clos des Papes blanc 2002 Big rich and long. Almonds again. These three are splendid wines.
- Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Clos St Jacques 1993 (Jadot) Beetrooty, a touch inky. Pretty nice but not more, and not as much as I feel it ought to be. Top
- Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Clos St Jacques 1989 (Jadot) Dry and edgy. Inky, striking, but not refined. Interesting food wine. Again, I would hope for better. Top
- Beaucastel 1989 Sweet fruit, long, balanced. Gamy.
- Beaucastel 1990 No weightier but more complex, precise and elegant. Very fine.
- Old Nut Brown Sherry (b. Christophers 1952 - made by Gonzales-Byas) Slightly cloudy, quite rancio. A touch of sweetness - rather nice in its way.
- Muscat de Rivesalts 1956 (bottled 2005) No other information. Bright, caramel nose. Grapey fruit. Very fresh and lovely - a revelation really. This is classy mature wine.
- Malmsey 1987 (d'Oliviera) Brown colour. Rich, a touch coarse. I hope this just needs time. (hoping)
- Champagne Grand Siecle NV (Laurent-Perrier) Quite hard, classy nose, quite clumsy currently. Fresh clear lakewater on the mid-palate (an odd note, I know but I don't know how else to describe it). Farmyard straw too. Good
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 27/11/2007 Return to top
- Champagne Silver Brut NV (A. Clouet) All Pinot from Bouzy and no dosage - I got some stick once for suggesting this as an every day Champagne but although it is quite muscular in a slightly Bollinger way, the fruit is very good and the dryness makes it very appetising to me. A lovely fizz. Scraping even.
- Puligny Montrachet 1er cru Demoiselles 1994 (Colin-Deleger) A bit flat compared to other bottles of this, but still pretty good.
- Rioja Gran Reserva Prada Enea 1994 (Muga) Seems to need some time to breath - better the next day, in fact. Attractive old-fashioned stuff, but lacking a real buzz. Is this (and indeed is Rioja generally these days) quite the thing it once was? Will this make great drinking like the 1970?
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 24/10/2007 Return to top
Three days in Champagne 15/10/2007 (TNB)
- Champagne Chouilly Grand Cru, Cuvee des Crayeres 1999 (Simart-Moreau) A bit oxidative and rustic on opening, but it seems to improve with air to become pretty good. Top
- Chablis 1er cru Montmains 2004 (Michel) Straight down the middle - very linear and clear. Seems quite forward - it's drinking pretty decently now. Top
- Champagne Grande Reserve NV (Vilmart) 70% Pinot, the fruit quite bright (no malolactic here) with a very strong yeasty green apple character. Rather unappealing right now - this demands more time.
- Champagne Grand Cellier NV (Vilmart) 70% Chardonnay, this has more intensity and a bit more depth too. Still much in need of a few years ageing. A good
- Champagne Grande Cellier d'Or 2001 (Vilmart) Very nice balance, with vanillan notes overlaying the apple fruit. Excellent for what is apparently a poor vintage. Possibly even
- Champagne Coeur de Cuvee 1999 (Vilmart) A huge step up in presence and depth - old vines, the very best from the first pressing and it probably helps that it is from a decent vintage. The use of wood is evident in the broadness of the flavours. Great persistence in the mouth. Lovely.
- Champagne Cuvee Creation 1998 (Vilmart) The vines are slightly younger (from a different place) and a different wood is used. That and perhaps the forwardness of 98 make the wine quite different from the Couer - more tropical fruits, more exotic in every way. Very lovely.
- Champagne Cuvee de Reserve Brut NV (C. Saves) 60% Chardonnay apparently - softer and less rustic than the Carte d'Or. Pleasant.
- Champagne Carte d'Or Brut NV (C. Saves) Apples, quite Pinot (it's 60% I believe), burley, slightly oxidative. I have mixed feelings -I need to drink rather than taste some wines from this house. For now a bare
- Champagne 1999 (C. Saves) Finer, longer, seems quite good. I bought a couple of bottles and reserve real judgement until I can drink one. For now, top
- Champagne Special Club 2000 (Jose Michel) Half and half, Chardonnay and Meunier - really quite flowery and elegant - drinking nicely. Will this keep for the next generation, as Michel's wines are supposed to? I'm not sure, but it is very attractive now. Top
- Champagne Le Nombre dŽOr Sablet Blanc des blancs 2002 (Aubry) Made from all allowed white grape varieties! The nose and palate are quite different from anything I have tasted elsewhere in Champagne, very individual and a nice persistence. Top
- Champagne Le Nombre dŽOr 2000 (Aubry) From all six permitted varieties - meatier and less elegant than the BdB, still with good intensity. This and the above individual and interesting, but very much proper wine too and not just curiosities. Top
- Champagne Cuis 1er cru NV (P. Gimmonet) A half-bottle before dinner - rather a shock to the system after a day mainly spent around the Montagne de Rheims: this is lean, fresh Cote de Blancs fruit, pretty dry and reserved. It opens up well in the glass. A good
- Nuits St George 1er cru Clos de La Marechale 2001 (Faively) The one bottle of red for the trip, drunk with dinner. High-toned nose, rather fine. On the palate, this had a bit of a gap towards the finish. I don't find it easy to decide if it's just at an awkward stage. Say
- Champagne Cuvee Tradition NV (Marguet Pere et Fils) Blanc de Noirs from out in the sticks, 25% Meunier. Yeasty, nice fruit. Well made. Bare
- Champagne Cuvee Reserve Grand Cru NV (Marguet Pere et Fils) Half and half, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, 2004 with some 03 in this case. Lemony and buttery, suggestive of barriques (apparently only 20% in fact). Pretty good.
- Champagne Grand Cru 2000 (Marguet Pere et Fils) 70% Chardonnay (there's a fair amount in Ambonnay and surrounding villages but I seem to recall this is mainly from the Cote de Blancs). Nice balance, quite rich, dosage fairly substantial. There's good fruit here and this is drinking very well. Top
- Champagne Carte Or NV (Cazals) Dry, lemony, quite strong. Very good.
- Champagne Cuvee Vive NV (Cazals) An Extra Brut, dry and austere, very attractive to my taste and with good length. (2000 the dominant vintage currently.) Top
- Champagne 2000 (Cazals) Long and quite taught, very strong, but without the easy, forward presence of the 1998 tasted a while ago. Needs some time, I think.
- Champagne Grande Reserve NV (Launois Pere et Fils) Stony and austere, mineral and lemony, less giving than the Cazals wines. Needs some time. Le Mesnil fruit, apparently. A good
- Champagne Cuvee Clemence NV (Launois Pere et Fils) According to our host at the property, this is Cramant fruit whereas the G. Reserve is Le Mesnil. (She also said that the vintage wine is Mesnil and Special Club is Oger.) More rounded, with hints of orange peel and toffee.
- Champagne Blanc de blancs Grand Cru NV (Bonnaire) A touch of coffee again, or perhaps caramel. Very creamy and luxurious - a sensual moreish sort of wine. Probably the most attractive "basic" NV of the trip. Lovely. Bare even.
- Champagne 2000 (Bonnaire) Creamy again, terribly attractive and with lovely length too. Delicious.
- Champagne Brit Perle NV (Lilbert) This used to be a Cremant de Cramant but the name is outlawed. Bone dry, lemony and fragrant. Quite a contrast from Bonnaire's creamyness, but both I think do malolactic and eschew oak. Pretty dry (a 5g dosage). Delicious in a different way and a bit young currently. Top
- Champagne Cuvee Prestige NV (Diebolt-Vallois) Back to a richer style, with some of Bonnaire's creamyness and lots of complexity. Excellent.
- Champagne Vertus Reserve Blanc de blancs NV (Veuve-Fourny) Floral and frothy, quite elegant. This seems a bit lacking compared to other wines we have tasted today. Bare
- Champagne Vertus Grande Reserve NV (Veuve-Fourny) Floral again, and quite light - my impression was that it was more than just an elegant style - the wine just did not quite have the persistence and presence. Elegant, and certainly decent. Top
- Champagne Cuvee R NV (Veuve-Fourny) Altogether richer and longer. Still, I was not as bowled over by this as by many wines on this trip. Top
- Champagne Terre de Vertus non-dose NV (Larmandier-Bernier) Although NV, this wine is apparently always a single vintage - in this case 2004. Bone dry (as you would expect), green apples and a touch of smoke. Quite floral on the nose. Good persistence. I like this a lot.
- Champagne Vieilles Vignes de Cramant 2004 (Larmandier-Bernier) A pre-release taste. This is intense, hard and really quite closed right now. Still, there is clearly a lot to come. The dosage is 2g for this vintage (there was none for 2003 - and even in the basic wines L-B are rarely above 5g). This will be a treat.
- Champagne 1996 (Henriot) With dinner on our last night - gamy, farmyard straw, splendid fruit. Surprisingly, this seems to be drinking well already and there is none of the marked acidity that makes many wines from this vintage rather backward. Very good.
Tasting notes added to Fine Wine Diary 21/10/2007 Return to top