(2018) This rosé from the island of Evia is made from 100% Mavrokoudoura, a new variety for me, and is a medium- to pale-coloured peachy-pink with intriguing aromatics that are quite ripe and lychee, or passion fruit-like, but something stony and gravelly too. In the mouth it is bone dry and grippy, a big grapefruity hit of sour citrus and acidity, this has mouth-watering presence, some pulpy strawberry character soon swept along in the acidity of the finish. Different, and plenty of personality here.
(2018) Crémant wines are undergoing something of a mini-boom, finding many new fans for these traditional method sparkling wines from French regions outside of Champagne. This, from Chablis producer Simonnet-Febvre, is a blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir, aged 24 months on the lees in bottle. It is a crisp and zippy style, but a creaminess and touch of biscuit adds to the pear and lemon fruit of the nose. In the mouth it is razor-sharp as befits a wine from vineyards surrounding Chablis, but there is a juiciness and peachy generosity to the mid-palate fruit before that long, shimmering core of acidity extends the finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(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.
(2018) I often struggle with this vintage, the combination of over-the-top ripeness and botrytis can be rather cloying. Fortunately for us, this Champagne possesses neither in excess, although I wouldn’t age it for too long. Elegantly toasty, with a touch of mushroom on the nose. The palate is all about youthful stone fruits that turn quite juicy in the glass. I suspect a short and sharp evolution for this wine, maybe wait one or two years for the walnut richness to emerge. Drink from 2019 until 2023.
(2018) A new cuvée about to hit the market, so not in UK retailers at time of review. Vanilla and toast on the nose, a balanced, linear palate, lightly honeyed with a candied orange peel aroma. Again, the reserve wines add an extra, savoury depth to the ensemble. A great new cuvée! Drink 2019-2024.
(2018) Nicolas Jaegar’s second vintage, and what a monster: Upon release, a wine of remarkable precision, dazzling pear-like fruit with thundering acidity on the palate. This has already mellowed in the last year or so, the pear aromas giving way to something creamier, but still firmly in its 'fruit' phase. Waiting for the nutty aromas, but what a scintillating wine! Currently at 93/100, this will drink from 2020 through to 2030, and should hit 95/100. A real bargain though not yet in stock in the UK at time of writing.
(2018) Based upon the 2013 vintage (Usually 1-2 years older in magnum), this release feels a bit more constricted than normal, and will need a bit of time to reveal its potential. At the moment, enjoy the zesty grapefruit palate and toasty reserve wine complexity. Leave some bottles in your cellar for a year or two to gain that extra roundness and realise the 91/100 potential, drink 2019-2025.
(2018) I’m not usually a fan of low dosage Champagne (I find many of them severe and unbalanced), but the longer lees aging in combination with the reserve wine provide us with a fine example of the genre. Fresh and bracing, citrus, spicy, and honeyed with fine acidity. Smooth, well balanced on the mid-palate, the lack of dosage is only felt in the slightly clipped finish, but an excellent wine in this style. Drink upon release.