(2020) Part of Lidl's Wine Tour, made up of limited parcels, this is Brut, and employs all three of Champagne's principal varieties. Foamy and lively in the glass, the nose has a yeasty, lightly nutty edge to red apple fruit. In the mouth, there is a definite sweetness - presumably this is at the higher end of the Brut scale - and that impression of sweetness plays through to the finish, though acidity does balance. Straightforward stuff, and worth its £10.99 price.
(2020) The wine is based on the 2014 vintage (60%) with reserves from 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 making up the other 40%, and aged five years on the lees, this bottle disgorged in October 2018. Very delicate, ethereal nose, fresh-sliced apple and a touch of something jasmine-like and floral, then some biscuity autolytic notes come through. In the mouth it is ripe and quite sweet. The dosage was not revealed for this wine, but it has some residual sweetness as well as fruit ripeness I think, but all beautifully refined and poised, fresh and with a touch of saline into the finish.
(2020) Composed of equal parts Chardonnay (from Chouilly, Avize and Mesnil-sur-Oger) and Pinot Noir (from Mailly, Verzy and Vezernay) only the second vintage of Hemera spent 12 years on the lees, and has a modest dosage. What a beautiful golden glow to this 14-year-old Champagne. The aromas are somehow golden and glowing too, a burnished hazelnut and brioche richness from its 12 years on the lees, golden toffee moving into a Seville orange and truffle. But against the depth and richness, there is a luminous edge to this; a keen mineral and salt undertow of freshness. On the palate the mousse is fine and creamy, and that sense of saline, mineral, terroir intensity is striking. It is a Champagne with autolytic nutty characters and that pure core of citrus running through it, but that edgey, mouth-watering ozone-fresh finish in many ways defines this wine.
(2020) A touch of gold to the straw colour and lovely, streaming small bubbles. On the nose there is brioche and hazelnut, but a delightfully bready yeastiness, golden delicious and a crisper note of Asian pear and citrus. That focus tighten up even more on the palate, despite a great sweetness and ripeness to the fruit, and a healthy level of dosage, the rounding of waxy lemon and apple skins also gives bite, with beautifully judged acidity into the finish. A terrific wine from one of Champagne's best recent vintages.
(2020) Fruit for this wine comes from the vineyards rated as Premier Cru, though I have little information on the blend or the specific vineyards that are the source of the fruit. It pours with a nice steady stream of small bubbles and pale colour, and an appealing biscuit and vanilla note to citrussy fruit. On the palate the dosage feels relatively high to me - a hint of sweetness even against the copious lemon jelly fruit and acidity - but it is stylish and easy to drink, and gets a thumbs up from me as a good buy at the price.
(2020) You don’t sense the 10% oak fermentation aromatically, although you do feel it in the creamy, textural finesse. Zesty notes of grapefruit lead into lush, slightly tropical notes, a weighted Champagne without heaviness. More broadly structured than 2008, with less angularity (certainly less toasty), the vintage 2012 is already showing the first flush of fruity generosity (and perhaps lacking a bit of complexity because of that). Fine potential as one expects, yet eminently approachable, I suspect many will struggle to keep their hands off it (I know I will). Enjoy from now until 2028.
(2020) The blend is 92% Pinor Noir from Ambonnay (4%), Aÿ (14%), Bouzy (23%), Verzy (37%), Verzenay (14%), and 8% of Chardonnay (Le Mesnil-sur-Oger). The wines was disgorged January 2018, with a dosage of 6g/l. Biscuity aromas to the fore, with notes of almond and chocolate. The palate has a firm line of acidity that gives way to stone fruits mid-palate, the aromas then turn full circle and closes down to a long, chalky minerality on the finish. The long lees aging has enriched the wine with a complex, yeasty richness that feels immediate, but experience tells me to wait for the fruit to build. Impeccably balanced, this will reward cellaring and should drink well from 2023-2040.
Beautiful colour, a burnished hint of gold to the straw yellow, masses of streaming, miniscule bubbles. Absolutely beguiling nose, with the subtle oxidative notes from the 12 years on lees, some toast and custard, but fresh orchard fruits, little greengage and yellow plum notes, and really very multi-layered. The wine tightens up considerably on the palate, immediately citrussy and bright, but with a supple, smooth and rounded texture. There is a definite lick of salty minerals in the finish, further tensioning the picture. Really very lovely, intriguing balance between the open, matured flavours and youthful zest and energy. Odilon thinks it will age extremely well, because of that long contact with the lees. 12,000 bottles produced.
(2020) The 2002 Belle Epoque is 50% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir with 4% Pinot Meunier. Some critics have claimed it is too soft and too forward for a deluxe cuvée from the outstanding 2002 vintage, but I have to say I found this to be both seductive and beautifully pitched. The colour has a little golden hue and there is loads of creamy, nutty, gently toasty development, but ripe rosy apple fruit too. In the mouth it is generous and sweet-fruited, a pillow of soft mousse flows across the tongue, then suddenly there's an initial spark of citrus and salt, that develops nicely into a long tantalising finish playing sweetness against sharpness delightfully. Possibly not a wine for extended cellaring, but a joy now.
(2020) From Grand Cru vineyards in Avize and Oger, this is a blend of the 2014 and 2015 Chardonnays, disgorged in November 2017, with a dosage of 9.17g/l - all of that information on the back label. Pale straw-gold in colour, lots of miniscule bubbles stream in the glass, the nose taut, with lemon and Cox's pippin, a hint of hazelnut, and nice breadiness. In the mouth the combination of ripe fruit and dosage gives this initial sweetness, but there's a lolvely mineral salts and citrus clarity, the finish long and bone dry, a deliciously drinkable Champagne yet with just enough austerity to please lovers of the purest styles.
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