(2023) This blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from the 2015 vintage exhibits plenty of toast, hazelnut and brioche on the nose, with a peachy fruit undertow. The palate perhaps lacks a touch of verve, the fruit peachy and soft, the acidity moderate, but it is delightfully gluggable and finishes with good balance.
(2023) It's hard to argue with Justerini's Champagne buyer, Julian Campbell, when he says: "Itâ€™s a hard act to beat at this price." From a sixth-generation winemaker whose family farm nine hectares of Pinot Noir in the Montagne de Reims, it's a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. Crucially however, there are around 50% of reserve wines in the blend, and it spends a full 30 months on the lees so the style is toasty and rich. Nuttiness, brioche and a lovely yeasty development join crisp green apple on the nose. In the mouth, the mousse is cushioning but fresh, the the citrus brightness of the fruit and acidity cuts through those buttery, nutty layers of development. A very fine Champagne at a good price.
(2023) A blend of Grand Cru Pinot Noir grown in AÃ¿ and Chardonnay from Chouilly. There's lots of ripe, upfront fruit here, tethered by an umami meatiness and savour. Based on a perpetual reserve started in 1996, this release was bottled in 2017 and the extensive time under cork has allowed it to settle into a harmonious but intense wine. There is such sweetness here, super-ripeness to the fruit, but acidity flashing through the long finish.
(2023) A blend of the three main Champagne grapes, though dominated by Chardonnay, this is a typically fresh and dry wine from Legras & Haas. It is not without fruit, elegance or charm. A fine, foamy mousse reveals plenty of sour lemon and lime, mouthwatering fruit and a long, delicately saline finish. Nice touch of creaminess to the texture.
(2023) A Chardonnay-dominated blend (55%) with a modest dosage of 6g/l, the fruit comes from various vineyards and top villages such as Cramant and AÃ¿, the wine spending three years on the lees. It's a beautifully clear and crips style; not austere in the slightest, and not simple and lemony either. The nose has some lovely biscuit character and the palate walks a line between peach, salts and crystalline iced lemon. Refined and elegant, yet has a teasing hint of generosity. Very good.
(2023) A blend of 2009 (60%) and 2008 (40%) Chardonnays, bottled in April 2010 and disgorged January 2018. More or less eight years on the lees has imbued this organic wine with a golden colour and buttery richness, yet a lowly dosage of just 3.5g/l ensures it has attack and clarity too. There's lovely meatiness to the fruit, perhaps enhanced with the use of wild yeasts for fermentation. The mousse is quite soft, but biting citrus and that core of acidity means there's nothing blowsy here. An incisive wine yet with that generosity of its long ageing and, I believe, some barrel ageing for a propprtion of the base wines.
(2023) From Les Ricys, this is 90% Pinot Noir, with 10% Chardonnay. Aged a minimum of three years on the lees, there's lots of biscuit and yeasty freshness overlaying a light umami character and hints of red fruit ripeness. The palate has a sweet attack and very fine, rolling, cushioning mousse. There is a mouth-filling breadth to this, quite sumptuous, then the excellent acid code pushes through, extending the finish.
(2023) Lallier's cellarmaster is Dominique Demarville, whose C.V. is impressive, having held that position at Mumm, Perrier-JouÃ«t and Veuve Clicquot. This blends 55% Chardonnay with 45% Pinot Noir, and was bottled with a modest dosage of 8g/l. The mousse is fine, with small persistent bubbles. Biscuit and brioche overlays a fruity opening, notes of lemon sherbet and green apple are crisp and appetising. On the palate it is a very finely honed Champagne, delicate and filigree weight and flavour is etched by fine chalky acidity, but there's a hint of peach and sweetness from the dosage that gives lovely balance.