(2021) There is no Nicolas Courtin (or at least not one who has anything to do with this Champagne) as it is a brand name, exclusive to Majestic, as far as I can see. The wine has a fairly deep rosé colour for Champagne, and there is a nice biscuity quality that pink Champagne doesn't always show, and small red berry fruitiness: think cranberry and redcurrant. In the mouth a creamy mousse and plenty more depth of red fruits. There's a hint of sweetness to this Brut wine that makes it soft and easy to drink, so a pretty good choice all round if your Valentine's day requirement is for a pink fizz suitable for sipping on its own or with poached or smoked salmon perhaps. £16.99 as part of a mixed six is the price to be on for this one. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) Pommery doesn't enjoy the greatest of reputations among Champagne afficionados, but I really rather enjoyed this wine, made with around 9g/l dosage and with around 30% reserve wines in the blend. Bready and lightly toasty on the nose, the bubbles are tiny and rise steadily in the glass, and the palate it taut with a lemony thrust of fruit and acid, but a certain peachy sweetness on the mid-palate, with a reasonably long and nicely balanced, tangy finish.
(2020) For me one of the absolute 'banker' Grand Marque Champagnes, of excellent quality and yet widely available and often on discount. Shop around to find it for £25 or so, but until 2nd January 2021 it is just £21 in Tesco and that is bargain central. It's a superbly refined blend of mostly black grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with 15% - 20% of Chardonnay and 9 - 10g/l of dosage. Around 10% -20% reserve wines give depth and a certain biscuity richness, but it is a direct, focused wine with wonderfully clear fresh-cut pear fruit quality and pristine acidity. There is nuttiness and a fine line of smokiness into a long tapering finish that is very elegant, classy, but also fruity and terribly easy to drink.
(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.