(2021) This is Esclans estate wine, no cuvée name except 'Château d’Esclans', made from Grenache and Rolle, partly vinified in demi-muids (600-litre big barrels). There's a white peppery, stony character here, taut with lemon zest and cool Asian pear fruit aromas, the oak transparent. In the mouth the texture is creamy (the barrel ageing and lees stirring no doubt helping with that) and the fruit is bright, a little red apple but mostly a dry redcurrant, a hint of peach, then zipping, saline acidity to extend the finish.
(2019) Beautiful, resolved nose, a touch of delightful oxidation, coffee and chocolate but still that cherry ripe red fruit clarity. In the mouth it is silky and dense, a flood of quite meaty and fleshy black fruit, super ripe tannins and lovely plum and cherry skin acidity giving length. A beautifully resolved and complete wine.
(2019) Bouchard's monopole vineyard is one of the most famous in Burgundy, a 1er Cru often rated as having Grand Cru credentials, and its unusual name stemming from the time when the vineyard was worked by Carmelite nuns, one of whom prayed for the birth of the child that would one day become Louis XIV of France. It's a fabulous Burgundy, laden with chicory, spice, sweet chestnut, so much perfume here, old roses and earl grey nuances. Gently smoky, there's a buoyant cherry compote fruitiness. The palate is positively silky - especially given its lowly 12.5% alcohol - with a smooth, mouth-filling supple red fruit depth, coffee and chocolate, sandalwood and tobacco spice. Long and beautifully balanced by refined acidity and silky tannins. This wine is also renowned for its longevity, so it is a 'baby' in its own right.
(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) 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) 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.
(2018) A lovely nose, very clear, very crisp and brightly focused, with a little of that developed meaty Umami showing though, with a hit of truffle and lovely Chardonnay fruit still; a touch of yellow plum or peach to the citrus. Long, and beautifully focused into a long finish. Disgorged 2009. Stockist quoted is offering magnums at £440 at time of writing.
(2018) This certainly has more creaminess and an elegant white fruit character, but there is suppleness immediately suggested on the nose, that pillow of cream and gentle oatmeal. The structure on the palate is all framed around the acidity, again a savoury, quite tight character that is complex and gastronomic, but fruit is delightful, open and this is still juicy and so attractive.
(2018) Big, complex nose, a touch of bruised apple and pear, with plenty of that savoury Umami character, with again truffle and ripe nutty English apples. The palate deliciously complex, but so approachable with almost 20 years of age: nutty and sweet fruited, but has loads of concentration and biting character of the taut acid and that structure. Disgorged 2012.