(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) 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) 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.
(2019) Brut Réserve is hte cornerstone of Taittinger's extremely impressive portfolio: indeed the selection of Grande Marque Champagnes featured in this report includes many of the best and most reliable 'standard' Brut wines from the major houses, and that certainly includes Taittinger. It's also widely available in supermakets and indepedent merchants, and for Christmas many have offers on, bringing the price down to around £27/£28 which is an excellent price for the quality. It's an approachable and crowd-pleasing style with its upfront, fragrant aromas of peachy fruitiness, floral notes and biscuit, the 40% Chardonnay and three years on the lees enhancing that (also 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier). The palate is on the sumptuous side, expansive and creamy, a level of sweetness making it feel rather luxurious, thought that's not at the expensive of excellent acidity and clarity in the finish. On offer in Ocado until the 2nd January 2020, but use the wine-searcher link for many other stockists and plenty of festive discount prices.
(2019) From a fantastic vintage, the Chardonnays for this wine are sourced from villages of the Côte des Blancs, Sézannais, Montgueux and Montagne de Reims. It was aged for eight years in bottle and has a dosage of around 8g/l, so towards the drier end of the Brut scale. The pale gold colour also shows plenty of tiny bubbles, and the nose has biscuit and pastry, and a delicate yeastiness to baked apple pie fruit. There's a lighter touch of floral character in there too. In the mouth it is racy and long, a really good, elegant and dry core of white fruits, a roundness and hint of richness and a long, shimmering finish. A lovely 2008. Apparently this is also in John Lewis in a fancy neoprene carry-bag, but at time of review I saw only the straight vintage (not Blanc de Blancs) on the JL website.
(2019) Arlaux is a Champagne grower, the family having farmed only Premier Cru vineyards in the Montagne de Reims since 1852. The Grande Cuvée spends a full three years on the lees (this bottle disgorged 3rd July 2017 according to the label), and is a blend of the three Champagne grapes. It is immediately appealing, the toast and depth of nutty autolysis melting into a deep orange fruitiness, a little spice and the zest of lemon completing a very alluring picture. The palate does not disappoint, both ripe and relatively full-bodied, creamy and toasty depths of flavour shot through with fine salt and lime freshness of acidity. Long and very beautifully balanced, this is my first experience of Alaux, and most impressive it is too.
(2019) Famously the oldest house in Champagne, founded in 1584, Gosset is a small, premium house and their Grande Reserve spends a full four years on the lees - way beyond the legal requirement. A blend of 46% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier the blend has 12% of reserve wines from previous vintages. It's a fruity, bright and vinous style, miniscule bubbles leading on to a creamy mousse and flavours of spiced orange and fig. Some biscuity, toasty and smoky notes develop, but it maintains its fresh, zesty and cool elegance into a long finish.
(2019) With 40% of reserve wines in the blend, from harvests up to 15 years old, this is always one of the most complex of the Grande Marque Brut NVs. The wine is also unusual in that the 60% of the base vintage is made from one-third each of the three main Champagne grapes. It has a sumptuous nose, creamy, toasty, with fig and hazelnut, a hint of ripe peach then onto the palate where that toastiness is alluring, but the sweet nectarine of the fruit fills the mid-palate before excellent, shimmering acidity gives great accuracy to the finish.
(2019) A blend of 40% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier, this seems meatier, less overtly summer berry fruity than the 2009 on the nose, but the palate shows dazzling acidity that seems more taut than the 2012. Really good intensity, thrust and focus here. Long, shimmering grapefruit zest acidity gives this real vitality too.
(2019) There is 50% Pinot Noir in this blend, Chardonnay having dominated previous vintages, with 36% Chardonnay and a relatively low 14% of Meunier. A powerful wine, this also spent seven years in the cellars before release. Real salinity, yeast and biscuit, candied lemon and lime. Lovely sweetness on the mid-palate, the thrust of citrus and salt surge through to the finish.
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