WorldWine Tasting Report

2013-11-26

Champagne season

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It was an unusual number of tasting samples from Champagne which arrived in my office during this summer and late summer. Although I should have known that, considering the growing difficulties in Britain and even in France, Champagne producers would be trying harder on the rest of their export markets, the amount and the quality of bottles were quite a surprise. I therefore seized the opportunity and asked the German Champagne office to organize a more comprehensive tasting for me which they promptly did.


The autumn vineyards of Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims (above). No matter what kind of event it is: Modern Champagne glasses have nothing in common any more with the bowls or the very narrow flûtes of older times. They resemble much more white wine glasses with a slightly more pointed lower end and a longer shaft, which keeps the wine away from the warming hand. The glasses of the new Sommelier restaurant series (lower right) were supplied for our tasting courtesy of Riedel. (photos: E. Supp)
 

The three "dosage" categories which we choose for our tasting were "brut", "extra brut" and "brut nature", and many producers, big companies and smaller estates, sent us their samples. At the end I had tasted about 60 wines and the only thing I regretted was that some of my personal favorites such as Salon, Krug oder Selosse were not on the list. In some cases this was probably not even the fault of the producers themselves as the call for samples had only been sent to German Champagne importers.

Who ever believes that sparklers like Cava, Prosecco or others have long closed the quality gap which separated them from Champagne or even doubled the latter, might think about this presumption a second time when reading our tasting notes. I personally have not yet come across a region or appellation with a comparable density and homogeneity of top products.


At Gosset's they don't make a secret of the fact that the traditional "pupitres" are "for tourists" whilst the "remuage" is generally operated with the help of automatic gyropalettes.

When it comes to the fact that so many Blanc de Blancs and Extra brut wines scored top ratings in our tastings, this could be due to my personal taste preferences. But then you would have to explain why a group of "laymen" whom I made taste about 30 or 40 of the samples, came more or less to the same verdict. Another possible explanation could be the fact that producers select their best crus / grapes for this kind of wine especially as in the case of the Extra bruts the legal possibilities of "correcting" the quality with the help of sweetening "liqueur d'expédition" are relatively limited.

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***** +Gosset (Epernay) - Champagne Extra brut Célébris Vintage 2002
 
*****Devaux (Bar-sur-Seine) - Champagne Extra Brut Ultra 1 o. J.
 
*****Larmandier-Bernier (Vertus) - Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru 1 o. J.
 
*****AR Lenoble (Damery) - Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Gentilhomme 2006
 
*****Gosset (Epernay) - Champagne Brut Rosé millésimé 1998
 
*****Louis Roederer (Reims) - Champagne Brut Rosé 2008
 
*****Eric Rodez (Ambonnay) - Champagne Brut Cuvée des Grands Vintages 1 o. J.
 
*****Lanson (Reims) - Champagne Brut Black label 1 o. J.
 
*****Gosset (Epernay) - Champagne Brut Grande Réserve 1 o. J.
 
*****Gosset (Epernay) - Champagne Brut Grand Blanc de Blancs 1 o. J.
 
*****Jean-Pierre Bouchard (Celles-sur-Ource) - Champagne Brut Blanc de Noirs Inflorenscence 1 o. J.
 
*****Jacquart (Reims) - Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs millésimé 2005
 
*****AR Lenoble (Damery) - Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Chouilly millésimé 2006
 
*****Louis Roederer (Reims) - Champagne Brut millésime 2007
 
*****Gosset (Epernay) - Champagne Extra brut Rosé Célébris 2007
 
***** ?AR Lenoble (Damery) - Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Chouilly 1 o. J.
 
**** +Devaux (Bar-sur-Seine) - Champagne Brut Grande Réserve 1 o. J.
 
**** +Taittinger (Reims) - Champagne Nocturne Sec Purple Edition 1 o. J.
 
****Leclerc Briant (Epernay) - Champagne Brut Cuvée Extra 1 o. J.
 
****Larmandier-Bernier (Vertus) - Champagne Extra brut Blanc de Blancs 1 o. J.
 
****Gosset (Epernay) - Champagne Extra brut Rosé Célébris 2003
 
****Deutz (Ay) - Champagne Brut Cuvée William Deutz millésimé 2000
 
****Coessens (Ville-sur-Arce) - Champagne Brut nature Largillier 1 o. J.

 


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