(2021) Cereza is the variety here, coming from a vineyard planted in 1940 on sandy soils, farmed organically and fermented in concrete 'eggs' with natural yeasts. Unusually for a red wine, it does not go through malolactic fermentation. The grape skins are also removed part-way through fermentation to give a very pale, deep rosé colour as much as red, offering herbal and underripe cherry aromas, subtle and earhty, a light undergrowth character too. In the mouth it has that higher acid style that reminds me of some red Vinho Verde made from Vinhao, though mid-palate sweetness of fruit emerges, cherryish again, with a very light finish of negligible tannin and fresh, juicy acidity. Very unusual, and for me very enjoyable if approached with an open mind. Watch the video
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Beautiful colour, a burnished hint of gold to the straw yellow, masses of streaming, miniscule bubbles. Absolutely beguiling nose, with the subtle oxidative notes from the 12 years on lees, some toast and custard, but fresh orchard fruits, little greengage and yellow plum notes, and really very multi-layered. The wine tightens up considerably on the palate, immediately citrussy and bright, but with a supple, smooth and rounded texture. There is a definite lick of salty minerals in the finish, further tensioning the picture. Really very lovely, intriguing balance between the open, matured flavours and youthful zest and energy. Odilon thinks it will age extremely well, because of that long contact with the lees. 12,000 bottles produced.
(2019) Famously the oldest house in Champagne, founded in 1584, Gosset is a small, premium house and their Grande Reserve spends a full four years on the lees - way beyond the legal requirement. A blend of 46% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier the blend has 12% of reserve wines from previous vintages. It's a fruity, bright and vinous style, miniscule bubbles leading on to a creamy mousse and flavours of spiced orange and fig. Some biscuity, toasty and smoky notes develop, but it maintains its fresh, zesty and cool elegance into a long finish.
(2019) As is traditional, the Malmsey is the sweetest in this 10-year-old range, with 125gl of sugar. Again into walnut and shellac tones over the Christmas cake fruit. So intense on the palate, but that thrilling balance with the searing acidity shimmering through.
(2019) Lovely waxy, lemon rind quality, lanolin and hints of butteriness in this cool Elgin Semillon. There is a creamy smokiness too in the background from some French oak. Packed with orange and orange blossom notes, that sheer and dry lemony acidity drives this lovely wine.
(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.
(2017) Though their prestige cuvée, Belle Epoque, is also an all-Chardonnay wine, a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs is a new addition to Perrier-Jouët's repertoire as of summer 2017. Cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps selected his most elegant and floral Chardonnays for this blend, and it certainly fulfills its brief. From its clear glass bottle the wine pours a very pale colour and opens with fresh, bright floral and summery aromas, a subtle biscuit character, but much more focused on light fruitiness. In the mouth the mousse is crisp and the fruit clean and snappy, an elegant acid framework around cool, quite vivacious fruit. It's a lovely wine and no doubt precisely what Perrier-Jouët intended, but I have to say it feels just a little too simple at its price.
(2016) The high proportion of Chardonnay (45%) in the blend perhaps adds to the sense of creamy finesse in this wine, though with 18% of Pinot Noir blended in too it does not lack attractive small red berry fruitiness and a bit of texture and structure too. Wonderfully fresh and with a creaminess to the mousse, it is an utterly charming, rose-hip scented rosé Champagne, beautifully balanced and long too. Widely available with prices ranging from the low £40s on special deals to £60 per bottle.
(2013) 110+g/l RS. Quite a dry, nut husk aromatic, with subtle shellac and nuttiness. The palate has a luscious texture and glycerine richness, that along with moderate sweetness adds to the sense of richness, plenty of orange and lemon zest freshness again.
(2013) Paler, orange and tawny colour, immediately fine and subtle, a lemon marmalade character. In the background touches of walnut and even a hint of something floral. Deliciously mouth-watering dryness, with racy, fine, lemon zest and spices, lots of dry, racy acidity and deliciously moreish and tangy, rich. 45g/l sugar hidden behind that terrific acidity