Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bulles Bio 2016 – Copenhagen Edition

A must for real Champagne lovers. 
Date: 29th of October 2016
Time: 11:00-17:00
Location: Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Nyhavn 2, 1051 Copenhagen K
Price: DKK 250,- (approx: €34)


Champagne Barbichon
Champagne Barrat-Masson
Champagne Bourgeois Diaz
Champagne Bruno Michel
Champagne Charles Dufour
Champagne David Léclapart
Champagne Durdon-Bouval
Champagne Fleury
Champagne Georges Laval
Champagne Lelarge Pugeot

Champagne Marguet
Champagne Pascal Doquet
Champagne Ruffin
Champagne Ruppert-Leroy
Champagne Thomas Perseval
Champagne Val'Frison
Champagne Vincent Couche
Champagne Vouette-et-Sorbée

See you there.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

2008 Jérôme Prévost “Les Béguines”

How do we inspire each other when it comes to wine?

There is the somewhat odd accountant exercise; we call the Tasting Note, where we put together the fragmented pieces into a final result. I hate it – yet I have done it thousand of times before and continue to do it. It’s the poor mans version of an individual emotional experience, which somehow only tells the story of what we can measure and weigh.

So I end up in the same blind alley as everyone else. Yet sometimes – like yesterday - I can’t hold back the experience I had. I want to share. I want to inspire.  Don’t we all? I think most of us know that fragmenting wine is ridiculous.  The real mojo of wine lies in the things we can’t explain. 

Before I take you into my Champagne experience, I should write a small disclaimer.

For some Champagne growers and I am no way neutral, when I share my opinion. Why should I? I am not your consumer guide, but merely a kind of diary storyteller on wine. I like to think of true wine lovers as constant subjective individuals, emotional effected by all the impressions they have obtained. When it comes wine, we should throw away reason and embrace chaos.

A glass of Champagne from Jérôme Prévost is not just a bubbly neutral thing, which I can compare neutrally with wine A to Z.  It’s the work of a dear friend. Jérôme have showed my so much kindness and made me understand how he thinks.
There is laugh, joy and inspiration stored in my memories and I constantly wish I could visit him more often. I want you all to know how gifted Jérôme are and how he like no other can tame the Pinot Meunier grape.

Just one thing more. I have often said, that I really don’t pay much attention to vintages. It’s not that I think it’s both important and educational to know as much as possible about each vintage. Vintages are fascinating in terms of how unforeseeable nature is and how dramatic each growing season can be. I am just saying, that sometimes we, as consumers, miss out on the smaller vintages because we are constantly trying to cherry pick. Small vintages are not to be missed, as they often just add to the diverse understanding of wine.

But here it’s the other way round. The glorified 2008 vintage in Champagne. So can it (and Jérôme) live up to the expectations or was it just another overhyping coincidence?

Recently I have become somewhat allergic to Champagne with some age. Allergic is a strong word. I know. But the more Champagne I drink, the more I see myself drawn to the youthful side of Champagne. I will hopefully come back to this in other thread, where I will illustrate my thoughts on; “Young”, “Mature” and “Old-Champagne”.

2008 Jérôme Prévost, La Closerie “Les Béguines”

Blend: 100% Pinot Meunier
Terroir: Sand & Calcareous elements
Vinification: Oak 450- to 600-liter barrels
Age of vines: 45 years old
Location: Village of Gueux – located west of Reims.
Dosage: 1-2 g/l.
Glass: Zalto “White Wine”

When I opened the 2008 "Les Béguines" I immediately detected some classic notes of mature Champagne. Some autolysis notes came forward, presenting themselves rather conservative with its notes of dark bread, touch of mild caramel and hazelnuts. The more Champagne I drink – the more tiresome I find these secondary notes, as they are rather monotone and overpowering both terroir, freshness and singularity.

But it took about 30 seconds before all of my reservations were proved wrong. Like the sun burned away the morning mist, the last drops of funky aromas were cleared. Underneath a landscape of beauty unfolded. Never ever have I smelled such sophistication from Pinot Meunier. We are again at a level, where it makes no sense to fragment the Champagne and list each note. Once again I am even sure I can get them right and I paid only attention to the superb balance of this Champagne. You had all imaginable things in play here. A super rich Champagne, filled to the brim with the most healthy fruit zest you can image. You feel these fruit driven notes all the way from nose – to the tip of the tongue  - to the finish line, were it delivers so much sizzling energy, clarity and acidity kick. 
They are all kinds of herbs and spices flying around and lots of them have Asian roots. The oak is present – but just filling in superb roundness and highlighting how complex it is. You sense it has some evolvement present, but just with small pockets of oxidation. No way near a nutty nightmare, but it felt more like the aromas from when you toss in freshly churned butter in a bowl of pasta.

But here comes the interesting part. I rested (or should I say, hid1/3 of the Champagne from my wife) and returned 2 hours later.  The Champagne has completely contracted. Where it before felt like a Champagne just entering a perfect maturity window, it now felt like a one year old Champagne. The deeper and rounder notes, where replaced by freshly squeezed green apple juice. The clarity was even higher, still so complex and constantly fired up with a frightfully high acidity.

Completely insane Champagne and by far the finest "Les Béguines" I have ever tasted.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

2010 Cédric Bouchard “Le Creux d’Enfer”

This Friday I hosted a Champagne tasting for my old wine club.

It’s always an extra treat to taste wine with these guys. Though we have our individual preferences we seemed to have joined forces in the appreciation of elegant and lighter wines. We all love to share our designated preferences, but none of us claim to know the true meaning of wine. I regard these rare tasting occasions as the perfect window to share -inspire and be inspired.

Fridays theme was Champagne + a few extras
2012 Benoît Déhu “La Rue des Noyers”
2010 Cédric Bouchard “La Bolorée”
2013 Vouette & Sorbeé “Textures”
2010 Cédric Bouchard “Le Creux d’Enfer”
2010 Jacques Lassaigne “Tirade Rosé”
2008 Agrapart “Venus”
2008 Georges Laval “Les Chênes”
2008 Cédric Bouchard “La Haute-Lemblé”
2011 Benoît Lahaye “Le Jardin de la grosse Pierre”
2010 Jacques Lassaigne “”Autour de Minuit”
1999 Jacques Selosse “Vintage”


2001 Soldera Brunello di Montalcino “Case Basse”
2001 Poggio di Sotto “Il Decnnale

I want to focus on one Champagne in particular, which took us all into wonderland.

2010 Cédric Bouchard “Le Creux d’Enfer”

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Terroir: Argilo-Calcaire
Vineyard: 0,032ha  - Lieu-dit west-facing parcel planted in 1994.
Style: Crushed by foot – maceration “Saignée method”
Viciculture: Organic
Dosage: Zero
Production: approx. 550 bottles
Disgorgement: April-2014
Glass: Zalto White Wine

The Champagnes from Cédric Bouchard have never been about a check-box exercise, were you end up with a long list of aromatic notes. Fragmenting is in general irrelevant in my opinion and with Cédric’s Champagnes it’s completely pointless. They always play on a feeling were you focus much more of the overall personality of the Champagne. “Le Creux d’Enfer” is no exception. Sure you have notes of verbena, mild liquorice, roses and some boysenberry. However I am not really sure I got those notes right and it doesn’t really matter. Because the Champagne is the most fragile, complex and delicate Rosé I have ever tasted. “Le Creux d’Enfer” have that sublime perfumes of  “red” and a touch of saltiness, which makes it so appealing. Despite its insane seductive appeal it makes it’s impression with no noise at all. Its understated character signals so much class and fuels it’s graceful profile.
The balance….talk about balance. Never ever have I tasted a rosé with such harmony. The low pressure of Cédric Champages naturally suppresses the bubbles and it’s feeding an almost silky and luxurious mouth feel.

Probably the best rosé Champagne I have ever tasted.