Monday, April 11, 2011

2004 Cédric Bouchard “Le Creux d’Enfer Rosé de Saignée”

100% Pinot Noir

Vineyard: 0,032 ha

Age of vines: 31 years

Production: 300-500 bottles

Dosage: 0 g/l

Glass: Spiegelau Adina ”Red wine"

Champagne is not a thing – it’s a wine. To really discover Champagne you have to get beyond that it’s a thing, meant only for special occasions and it’s really rather simple to do that. Just start drinking it like it was any kind of wine and suddenly you take it down from the pedestal and you are truly in love.

Having said that – I needed a “wine” to celebrate my wife’s birthday. What to pick? - Champagne, but of course. But not any kind of Champagne – something special, something I knew she would like. She is not that difficult – in fact I consider her to have, what I would call an exceptional spontaneous palate. It might be a surprise to hear – but she has no idea what we are drinking, even though I do my best to enlighten her wine education. Five minutes after I am done with the sales speech, she has forgotten every single word I have said. But rest assured that the verdict would be swift and unmerciful, if I serve her something she doesn’t like.

I had numerous choices, but knew exactly which one I wanted.

This is the fourth time I taste this rosé, which has to be one of the most limited Champagne productions, but it’s the first time at home, which gives me the opportunity to focus and follow it over a couple of hours.

Already at glass number one, you know you have entered a spaceship set for a journey into the unknown. No rosé, I have tasted, has this profile and Cédric Bouchard has once again proven that some of the best wines in the world doesn’t necessarily fit in on the aroma wheel, but have a dimension of their own. The nose consists of notes, which I am not really sure of. It’s on a degree of guessing, searching in darkness, as if I had just landed on an unknown planet. Here is what I found; boysenberry, cranberry, liquorice, pata negra ham, currant, black olives, red fruit and rosehip. The tonality of these notes is so subtle – yet so intense. It’s a lesson in making a statement you will never forget, but at no time raising your voice. It’s beyond good class and it’s outrageously complex, just to sit there and smell. Tasting it just brings everything in place and the mousse is so fragile, but again so intense perfumes of those mysterious aromas breaking like small swaying waves on the palate.

When the bottle was finished, it was like coming back from hypnosis. I felt uplifted, as I have witness something extraordinary, but also hunger, loneliness and I missed it already. Next time I wish for magnum, even though it will be in my dreams, as it doesn’t exist.

This is truly one of the most significant bottles of Champagnes I have ever tasted.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What else February & March 2011

I'll better write this small wrap-up before it evolves into another 48 wines post.


NV Selosse " Version Originale / V.O." (Disgorgement date 16. November 2009)

Under normal circumstances the V.O. starts slightly oxidized and then firms up. However this was not the case here. This bottle used no time at all to strip and it was an outrageous sexy beast from glass one. One of those "sniffer" Champagnes, where you spent most of the time looking like someone that was born with a wineglass glued around your nose. It's typical Selosse; with vanilla, freshly ground butter, ripe apple juice and an utterly divine note of pistachios. But it's the intensity of these aromas, which makes it a really special bottle. Taste is beyond the scale of enjoyment with an incredible rewarding style. Is it the best V.O. I have ever tasted? I think so. So I checked again and had it two weeks later, where I was almost even better. Bravo

2005 Ulysse Colin Bdb, Champagne

I have experienced tremendous amount of bottle variations with this cuvée. Some bottles as tight as a Chablis and others quit evolved. This belongs in the latter section and on day 1 it felt like the Champagne had had it's peak and was heading down. Some of the notes are pleasing enough; acacia honey, warm croissants, browned melted butter - but the notes have very little life and on top they present themselves too overripe. Taste is dull too, even with bitter components and all action (and it's not much) takes place in the front of the mouth. Not good. I didn't drink it all and had already written it off on day two, but it actually was much better (how odd). Still not great Champagne, but some freshness had emerged. So...hmmmm, what to think? After day one I would have suggest "hurry up" and despite the come-back on day two, I would still recommend to drink it now. If looking for cellar potential I would go for the 2006 vintage.

1999 Bollinger "La Grande Anné"

It's natural that you begin to detect components of autolysis. I like those notes, but there is no doubt that drinking more and more breeds of young Champagnes with delightful pure fruit has an affect on me. When autolysis gets companionship of spices, it's required for those spices to be really delicate and fresh. Otherwise it can happen – like with this bottle, the impure spices starts blending themselves with the autolysis notes and it can end up in notes of a dusty sofa. This was the case here and even if I was presented with; black cherries, milk, butter, malt, dark bread it couldn't take away the focus from the "dusty sofa", which took purity and allure massively down. Taste plays with those darker phrasings, where you get those spices again and it's not at all good for the purity hunter like me. I felt disappointed and it's rare I feel that about Bollinger.

1999 Bollinger "La Grande Anné rosé"

I have had this a few times before and it's always a consistent performer. It's the kind of rosé which gives more perfumes of red fruit and doesn't feels like red wine with bubbles. Its gives a more salty style and brings everything to a subtle tonality. However with Bollinger you will always get some of the house classic tense and bold style. It suits this Champagne perfectly and adds a note of plum to the red raspberry aromas. There are only slight fractions of autolysis involved and in general I found it much better than the normal GA.

(Expecting guests)

2002 Vilmart " Grand Cellier Rubis Rosé"

When I bought this Champagne I was ecstatic about it - then it turned into too much happy tutti frutti red fruit with dull oak flavours. But this summer the 1999 vintage really took me by surprise (positive) and me thought why not tango with the 2002 vintage.

Well well has improved and its obvious the equation with these overly red fruit birthday party rosé's is to let them cellar in order for the fruit to dry out a bit and for the notes to be saltier. This is exactly was has started to happen here, but it's not there yet - give it another 2 years. Notes are pretty intense and consist of; Currant, Pinot Noir influence, *iron, spices (there are quit hot) and iodine. Taste is very deep warm and intense and you still get the impression that you are drinking red wine with bubbles. If to say something remotely negative, it's the level of oak, which is quit heavy loaded, but it's something, which I suspect will be better integrated in two years time.

Glasses: For the first time - the Spiegelau Adina gave out some *iron components, which didn't show up in the Zalto white wine. In Zalto the wine was racier and just better. The Zalto White wine has recently been rather interesting to drink Champagne from and I want to test this glass a little more before I begin to write my glass conclusion.

NV Billecart-Salmon Rosé (@ Roka London)

Solid standard NV Champagne. Maybe not overly pure, but still has good harmony of red fruit and spices.

2007 David Léclapart "L'Amateur" (@Fiskebaren, Copenhagen)

Tasted a glass of this in a restaurant. It seemed very shy and almost impossible to approach. I hope to taste it again.

2006 Cédric Bouchard “Les Ursules” (@ The Ledbury, London)

Wonderful – loved it again.

NV Chartogne-Taillet "Cuvée Sainte-Anne" (@ Vijante, London)

Simple refreshing and flowery. Really nice


2009 Dard et Ribo Saint Joseph "Pitan"

Last summer the 2009 Crozes-Hermitage Rouge, 'C'est le Printemps' renewed my love for Rhône, simply because it wasn't very Rhôn'ish. So I gave Dard et Ribo another try and bought a new wine from them after have tasted small samples of their 2009 portfolio. This is incredible juicy stuff without being intrusive with notes of blackcurrant, menthol and Licorice. Taste is round, juicy again, incredible precise and there is a splendid floating style to the wine, which might well be related to the moderate alcohol level of 12.5%. The wine is an ambassador of that thing we call drinking pleasure and I would drink it young despite it can easily cellar another 10 years.

2008 Vogüé "Chambolle-Musigny" (@Fiskebaren, Copenhagen)

A delicious wine, with sweet cherry plum appeal and a velvet mouth feel. Maybe a tad too sweet from the oak, but so pleasing.

2004 Soldera Brunello “Case Basse Riserva” (only one glass)

Sad thing it was only one glass, because it’s outrageously good. I think it’s the most fruit driven young Case Basse I have tasted so far. Juicy, intellectual, sensual and so Italian. WOW!!!!

2004 Giacomo Conterno "Barbera d'Alba"

My last bottle - so I thought (just found an extra one last week), but what a bottle. When this wine was released it was singing with that delightful red fruit so few Barbera's has. Then is shut down and I had my doubts if it ever would shine again. This bottle was bloody nice and so Italian, just how I like it. Notes are; fresh thyme, rosemary, leather, dust, menthol and the fruit have just reached that classic stage of dry elements, which is superb. Taste warms my second Italian heart, but oozes some menthol notes on the last meters, which I think is the result of 14.5% alcohol. Despite feeling a bit more blurry than usual after the last drops, I still consider it to be a great bottle.

2004 Quinta Sardonia “QS”

Horrible. Smelled of animal blood, bacon and with a viscosity close to floating lava.


2006 Kongsgaard Chardonnay "The Judge" (@ The Ledbury, London)

My best friend Anders is a dedicated fan of this wine. It's fun to taste this wine with him and see his passion. Wine is also about sharing and learning what drives our palates.

The wine is very oak driven from start with notes of coconut, burned butter, caramel and nail polish. It's a real beast and not really my type of wine. Taste moulds a lot in the mouth and doesn't do much to the term freshness and ends way too muscular and warm.

2002 Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles” (Only one glass)

Very classy and sleek wine. Nose has lots of flowery components, freshly ground butter and smoke. Taste is still very tight with firm and vibrant acidity. A bit of smoke on the mid-palate is the only critique – preventing full mineral explosion, but 3-4 years of cellaring could be the trick.