(2022) The base wine here is the excellent, low-yielding 2012 vintage. As always, reserve wines from previous vintages make up a substantial proportion of the Grande Cuvée, in this case 10 different vintages adding up to 42% of the final blend. It opens with very gentle biscuit and hazelnut, touches of yeasty, lightly earthy quality. On the palate so taut and lemony, but with a breadth of texture, showing some honey and nuttiness that adds weight and richness.
(2022) 100% Chardonnay, from Grand Cru vineyards in Cramant, Oger, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Chouilly. After 18 years on the Lees, the wine was disgorged on 21st September 2021. The dosage is 6 g/l. There is a burnished depth to the colour. I found it took a few minutes for the nose to open up, then revealing lots of yeasty, nutty and meaty umami character. Slow to evolve notes of buttery pastry become creamier. In the mouth, there's a certain lemony strictness to this. The meatiness continues, bready rather than fruity flavours, but bags of mouthwatering lemon acidity. A touch of saline makes itself felt right on the finish.
(2022) Grapes are sourced exclusively from Grands Crus sites in the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims, Chardonnay (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%). The dosage is 6g/l. There's a meatiness and bready depth on the nose once again, with complex yellow plum and little charcuterie notes flecked with floral and preserved lemon nuances. In the mouth the mousse is creamy, and this develops as such a sumptuous and complete Champagne, textured and ripe in terms of the mid-palate fruit, then the cool, sheer apple and lemon acidity of the finish. Gorgeous stuff.
(2022) The latest release of Roederer's cuvee that launched with number 241. The numeric indicates that this is the 243rd blend created by the Champagne House since its creation in 1776. It also contains a significant proportion of wine from a 'Perpetual Reserve', a version of a solera system set up in 2012, and a selection of reserve wines aged in large oak foudres. It has a beguiling nose, a little more perfumed than the 242 for me, plenty of almondy, almost toasty biscuit notes, but an impression of feather-light, delicate fruitiness. In the mouth a lovely combination of substantial pink grapefruit and ripe pear fruit mid-palate density, but a streaking lemon and mineral salts definition to the acidity. There is a touch of orange bitters, and rounding depth from the aged components, in a wine that remains terrifically sheer and precise. Please note: at time of review on offer at £45 from North and South Wines.
(2022) My first tasting of the deluxe Cuvée des Hussards from Frerejean Frères, a house created by Guillaume, Richard and Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger in 2005. It is 85% Chardonnay from Cramant, Avize, Grauves and Chouilly, and 15% Pinot Noir from Vertus. All vineyards are rated Premier or Grand Cru, with vines more than 40 years old. It is Extra Brut that spent eight years in the cellars. Even with a very low dosage, there is obvious ripeness and a suggestion of lusciousness on the nose. There are characters of its long ageing, with maturing notes of fig and honey, truffle too, but then a cleansing note of citrus and firm pear that balances. In the mouth the fruit sweetness belies the lowly dosage, the palate is nutty and caressed by creamy sweet flavours, but the sheer acid core gives a shimmering lemon brightness, flitting touches of saline and spices adding to the complexity of the long finish. I think this certainly ready to drink now.
(2022) What a lovely Champagne, all 1er Cru Chardonnay, fermented with 20% in barrels, and aged 48 months on the lees. It has 8g/l dosage, and this bottle was disgorged November 2018. Beautifully biscuity and toasty, with a crushed almond sheen of elegance and obviously ripe fruit exhibiting a certain generosity. The mousse is cushioning and creamy, and the palate poised between hazelnut richness, peachy fruitiness and a generous line of limey acidity. The richness keeps this decadent, the acid line sharp, in a delicious and elegant wine.
(2021) Launched in 2014, this all-Chardonnay cuvée is sourced from top villages of the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims. Malolactic is blocked, the dosage is only 7g/l, but the wine does rest on the lees for four years before disgorgement. This is in Gosset's more open, rich and nicely creamy style with almond notes and a formidable oranges and lemons fruit intensity. Quite like white Burgundy in some ways, but delightful elegance, freshness and zip on the palate. Acidity slices through some ripe mid-palate fruit, though the whole picture is gossamer light. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) All Chardonnay from Villers-Mamery (the eastern facing sector of the Montagne de Reims), the wine sees 100% malo, with 25% aged in wood. After four years on the lees it was disgorged 12/201, with 8g/l dosage from a Solera 'super cuvée'. Pale lemony straw coloured, I love the nose, which has bready and meaty aromas, a touch of flint, and great umami depth. In the mouth the mousse is cushiony and full, and there's a striking vibrancy of lemon fruit: really punchy, vivacious, with a full, rich texture and bright orange and pink grapefruit acid thrust to extend the finish. Just lovely. Price and stockist quoted is for 2013 vintage at time of review.
(2021) 'C.M. 1993' is not a vintage date: it refers to the 1993 metre height of the Col de la Madeleine. In 2013, when the components of this wine were assembled, it was one of the 'Hors Categories' climbs of the Tour de France. Ninety percent of the base wine was barrel fermented, in new barrels from forests in Champagne. A slightly lower liquor de tirage has also reduced the pressure slightly, for a less aggressively bubbly style. It is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. 5,100 bottles were disgorged in July 2019 with a dosage of 6g/l. A terrific nose, where there is vanilla and a touch of toast overlaid on mushroom and truffle, confit lemon and a suggestion of sweeter peach. It is fresher than the C.C.F 2067, for me it has more nerve and vitality, the rolling mousse leading onto mouthfilling but super-fresh flavours, a beautifully elongated palate where acidity shimmers to a fine, tapering point.
(2021) This cuvée named after the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Hors Categories stage of the Tour de France, where riders climbed to 2067 feet to the summit. That was in 2012, when this wine was laid down to be disgorged in May 2017. It blends 45% Pinot Meunier with 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, with 85% of the blend being 2010 vintage (fermented and aged for a year in barrel), along with 15% from 2011. Only 3,600 bottles were produced, and once again a lower tirage means it has lower pressure than most Champagnes. Dosage is 5g/l. Somewhere between butercup yellow and gold, the nose shows lots of vanilla, dominating a light earthiness and bruised apple fruit. In the mouth it is gently effervescent, and the maturity of this bottle, #3,151, gives more of the lightly oxidative but honeyed style, before freshening citrus and apple acidity, plus a lick of saltiness, balances the finish.