(2019) This is a terrrific Champagne from Bruno Paillard, an equal blend of Chardonnay from Oger and le Mesnil and Pinot Noir from Mailly, of which 20% was barrel fermented. It has been aged for 10 years in the Maison’s cellars, seven of which were on the lees. It was disgorged in September 2017, and has a low dosage of 5g/l. With very fine and persistent bubbles, it has elegantly brioche- and biscuit-like notes that sit among creamy and nutty aromas, but lovely fruit freshness too, a direct, crisp character even with the leesy and biscuity autolysis of age. In the mouth the rolling mousse has luxurious texture and firmness, the fruit is all about crunchy Asian pear and citrus, then the delicate hazelnut and oatmeal character comes through. The finish is long, elegant, and although dry, there is charm, ripeness and no lack of approachability. A very fine Champagne this, pin-point accurate and taut, yet in no way austere or difficult.
(2019) A tricky year to choose for the first vintage, this 2005 is surprisingly fresh and balanced. The ripeness is still palpable, a wine of linearity rather than complexity. More importantly, heaviness has been avoided! Honeyed, slightly peachy style. With a little warmth and aeration, creamy walnut aromas begin to emerge from the glass. An attractive wine that hits the balance between fruit and maturity. I probably wouldn’t age this wine as long as some might, I feel it is almost ready to go, so drink from 2019 until 2025. Price quoted at time of review is in-bond.
(2019) This is the 2012 base, a mix of Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims Chardonnay. Toasty aromas dominate the nose, rather less flowery than usual. Lovely citrus freshness on the palate, nicely structured with a saline-reductive quality that contributes to the impression of minerality. Drink now until 2023. Price quoted when bought by the case of six.
(2019) From a Jeroboam! This is lot number beginning L17033 (disgorged February 2017) and is in fact the 2008 base, and the wine of the tasting. Extolling the virtues of the large format, such precise, anaerobic freshness gives us the opportunity to dive down and examine each individual facet in vivid detail. A focused, finely toasted, and painfully austere wine. This Champagne coats the palate with the sheer intensity of its underlying core of dry extract. It will need a few years in the cellar to develop some creaminess and further complexity, and to move beyond the smoky (reductive), bitter stone fruit flavours. Currently at 91/100, wait until 2023 for the 95/100 experience. Drink until 2033. At time of review, the Jeroboam in stock is on 2006 base.
(2018) My word but I loved this. Two-thirds Pinot Noir, one-third Chardonnay, coming from Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy, this has a moderator dosage of around 8g/l and a nose filled with buttered toast and wheatgerm, a spiced pear fruitiness beneath. Racy and fine on the palate, the mousse crisply textured, so much sweet fruit, yet a dazzling, orangey acid structure and textural richness, toast again in the finish, giving this sumptuous presence and making for fabulous drinking.
(2018) Pierre and Sophie Larmandier are among the leading growers in Champagne, farming biodynamically (though un-certified) and with parcels of old vines, in this case Chardonnay from Cramant that is up to 90 years old. It is Extra Brut with a lowly 2g/l of sugar. It's a singularly powerful Champagne, pouring with a golden hint of richness and tiny bubbles, the aromas are firm and gently earthy, with touchs of herbs, lemon and a brioche and biscuit background. In the mouth that intensity is striking: there's a powerful impression of salty minerality, fat lemony fruit that fills the mid-palate, and real length and layered complexity. It's a terrific Champagne and would be wonderful with roast chicken or other poultry. One of my two sparkling wine picks for Christmas 2018, watch the video for more information.
(2018) A one-off and exceptional wine from Gosset, 100% Pinot Meunier, aged for a full nine years on the lees in Gosset's cellars. The base vintage is 2007, with 10% reserve wines added. The Meunier comes from south-facing vineyards around Epernay, and it is very dry with only 3g/l of residual sugar. The colour immediately speaks of the age of the wine, a burnished yellow/gold, then very fine bubbles and a cushion of mousse, revealing lovely biscuit and toast and a yellow plum fruitiness. It is full and charming. In the mouth it is expansive and creamily rich, the mousse quite luxurious, and the pitch of the acidity - very noticeably saline - gives great freshness to the toasty, creamy, weighty fruit. Just lovely and a real treat to taste a truly exceptional Champagne.
(2018) It was interesting to compare the bottle with this large format version in Magnum. Instantly a step away from bottle generosity and one towards magnum sternness. The magnum character shines through with its struck match reductive character on the nose, the peach flavours are replaced with a zesty-lemon bouquet in this format. A distinct aroma of coffee is beginning to develop on the finish, completing a contrarian wine that is both nervy and open at the same time. Drink this from 2019 until 2025.
(2018) I’m fed up of recommending Champagnes from 2008 (almost), it would be far easier to simply list the bad wines! Another lovely wine, this has the authority and resonance one has come to expect from this vintage. A fragrant bouquet of apple, supported by a note of almond. A palate redolent of crunchy red-fruits, aromas of plum and quince emerge from the glass as the wine warms. Impeccably balanced, the aromatic volume is cranked up for the Pinot Noir dominated finish. Superb, but a real baby that is currently hovering around the 92/100 mark. Should start drinking well from around 2021 until around 2032.
(2018) The second wine from the oenotheque, disgorged 2016, with 57% Chardonnay, and 43% Pinot Noir. Creaminess is building, biscuit notes emerge from a peachy core of fruit. An excellent wine for the vintage, this will certainly evolve further in the next couple of years, but I rather like it now! Drink from 2018 until 2022, and again not listed for sale in the UK at time of review.
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