(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.
(2021) From the second-oldest, dedicated Champagne house founded in 1730, this is 48% Pinot Noir (mostly from Les Riceys), 39% Chardonnay, the balance Pinot Meunier. Coming from a cool year, but now with seven years under its belt, there is some gold to the colour and an attractively creamy, nutty and bruised apple fruit quality. On the palate the dosage is apparent, giving a sweet attack, but a fat and juicy lemony fruit corew and acidity sweeps through. The finish shows a little salts and minerals, in an easy drinking and stylish vintage Champagne. £24.99 as part of a mixed six at Majestic at time of review.
(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.