Many of these wines are tasted either at home or in the company of good friends without any notes taken.
3 Champagnes tasted in London with my friend, Anders.
2006 Georges Laval “Les Hautes-Chévres”
They say Vincent Laval have made his best vintage ever in 2006. Now, that would be impossible for me to judge, as I am somewhat of a novice when it comes to Laval. But my God what a Champagne I was about to taste. Mind-blowing complexity with a deep scented Pinot Noir frame, holding slightly overripe fruits and yet it has such a sleek presentation driven by a mineral overload. A very young Champagne, but with such vitality ,who can keep hands of now?
2006 Larmandier-Bernier “Vieille-Vignes de Cramant blanc de Blancs”
Hard to follow Laval’s quality and I needed a few minutes to level with this Champagne, which of course is a different grape and terroir. It’s not as deep as Laval (few are), but this is beautiful Champagne, holding creamy sensations of milk skin, banana and pastry. Cristal clear taste with good mineral bite.
2006 Georges Laval “Les Meuniers de la butte”
Fell rather lucky getting the pleasure of tasting this rare release once again. This bottle was slightly more reserved compared with my previous experience in Dec-2011. Still a one of a kind and the most exotic Pinot Meunier I know of.
At home again:
NV Laherte “Les Clos"
My last “Les Clos” in June-2011 was the first disappointment ever and I have been eager to erase that experience ever since. It happened a weekend in March-2012, were this Champagne once again won my heart. I loved it – find it absolutely stunning with sizzling fresh appeal of both greenish fruits, citrus overload, sophisticated spices (like black tea) and a great acidity game. I believe this bottle was disgorged in early 2010.
2004 Georges Laval “Cumiéres Brut Nature” from Magnum
Served for lunch at my wife’s birthday. Everyone around the table loved it – including me. Just plain a simple adorable with solid baseline of spicy scented fruit, matched up with citrus sparkling and vibrant mineral bite.
2006 Christophe Mignon “Millésimée”
First time I taste Champagne from this producer. This cuvée is based on 100% Pinot Meunier. A Rich Champagne, with honey fruits, brioche, flowers and some caramel associations. There is deep baseline of dark phrasings, spice-window adding to its density and rich appeal. Despite such bold a character it’s also holds decent purity and a very vibrant acidity keeping everything in balance. I found it very pleasing to drink. Very interesting new Champagne discovery.
NV (2007) TH & V Demarne-Frison “Goustan”
Another pleasurable reunion – yet it’s evolving a bit faster than anticipated. A Champagne born with really splendid sensorial sweetness, despite the absence of dosage. It’s now accompanied with deeper honey flavours and even some brioche notes, taking the seductive appeal higher. The acidity is still firm, but I believe it will have it’s peak now + 4years.
2009 Cédric Bouchard “Les Ursules”
It’s a shame I didn’t shoot an image of the colour on this Champagne. The 2009 have an incredible dark glowing colour and it’s a beautiful treat for the eye. The inside of the bottle is not bad either, yet I would like to cellar it some two years more before I try it again. It shows how compact and well build Les Ursules are. You can already tell the material is there – however it’s not unfolding yet and the dark cherry notes create too much bitter components for the moment. I am confident it will be better to wait.
2006 Bérèche “Instant Rosé No.1”
I have always loved this Champagne, but when I bought my six-pack just after its’ release I had no idea it would become a cult Champagne - and Raphaël’s best Champagne. It’s been a year since I last tasted it (April-2011 @ Terre et vins de Champage from Magnum) and it has gained even more intensity. For me it’s a textbook rosé Champagne with salty red perfumes of strawberry and apricot. There is a bit more smoke providing a deeper spectrum and a solid intense baseline. It never get’s too much and it’s so focused and complex. Also a Champagne ,which you can easily raise up to 16 degrees in temperature without it loosing nerve and focus. Absolutely adorable Champagne. Disgorged 4th of May 2009.
Mostly tasted Alexandre Jouveaux and my favourites “Chez Charles” and “Selves”. But I did also have a Riesling:
2005 Müller-Catoir Riesling “Breumel in den Mauern” Grosses Gewächs
Extremely bold Riesling opening without any kind of focus and pleasure. In the glass I had an opulent and alcoholic Riesling. It gave away a lot of unfriendly spice scents – sadly leading to reductive tones and in the end giving away some sulphur resemblance. I couldn’t continue the journey and rested it for another day. Day two and three it was still horrible, but at day four some signs of improvement came forward - with a bit more clarity setting in. I liked the structure more than the bouquet itself, but overall it never became a successful date. Maybe it’s in need of further cellaring?
2001 Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve
Highly sensual and seductive Italian Sangiovese wine, with a mouth coating appeal. It starts with eat-me-tiger notes of vanilla, leather and dark cherries – all wrapped up in a tense and velvet styled finish. As you pour yourself one glass after another the wine becomes more and more monotone as main attraction is not complex notes, but a wine masked by a way too high level of new oak. That said – it’s not a wine that is hard to drink – it’s just a wine that doesn’t tell a story.
2008 Julien Courtois “100%”
I told the retailer that I was looking for a wine with higher purity and preferably fragile red fruit. “Here is one I think you will like, but it’s not a wine with fragile red fruit”, he said.
First impression was something like “hmmmmm”…yes for sure not that fragile red fruit I am always hunting for – but instead dark luxurious fruits. The wine has certain sensuality, flowing with blackberries, dark cherries, forest floor and a sophisticated note of celery. The taste is incredible fresh, juicy, silky and best of all really light weighted. Very delicious.