(2017) Taittinger's 2008 is a great wine, there's no doubt about that. With its pale yellow colour and streaming, minuscule bubbles, the initial aromas are of citrus and salts, with a touch of pasty in the background, and an elegant hint of white flowers. In the mouth it is full of verve and vitality, loads of crisp lemony fruit, but that subtle biscuit and brioche is there, a lovely saline lick of acidity, tightening and extending the finish into an ultra-fine point. Drinking very well, it has finesse and concentrated power, and undoubtedly some serious cellaring potential for those who prefer their Champagnes to show more development.
(2017) This Blanc de Noirs sourced only from Grands and Premieres Cru villages spent some nine years slowly developing in Gosset's cellars. Bottled with only 5g/l of residual sugar, and made from 100% Pinot Noir, it has a burnished light gold colour and immediately involving aromas: it is meaty and dense, with pastry notes and lemon, but there's a sense of grip and concentration too. In the mouth it is a glorious mouthful of Champagne: concentrated, searingly intense, yet shimmering with light and elegance. A delicate, featherweight mousse and fine, long acid structure sees to that, the sheer weight of the initial attack tapering beautifully to a crisp, focused and precise finish.
(2017) Partially vinified in oak barrels and blended from 12 hectares of organically certified and cultivated vineyards, this new cuvée is 42% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Meunier and 21% Pinot Noir with less than 6g/l dosage. It's a fresh and lightweight style, though almost four years on the lees has added some nuttiness and brioche character. But free-flowing and elegant on the palate, it's crisp, lemony and finishes with a lick of pleasing salinity.
(2017) For Deutz, a brand new prestige wine to the Portfolio as of October 2017. It is 100% Pinot Noir from Aÿ, and comes from two vineyards, La Côte which lies immediately above the cellars, and Meurtet. In future single vineyard bottlings from the 2012 vintage will appear from each vineyard as part of the Hommage series. Very nice fruitiness here, a hint of small red berries - cranberry and redcurrant - as well as a real lemony freshness. A touch of creaminess from the lees ageing before lots of bold orange flavour, and again that lovely freshness and elegance that is the hallmark of Deutz.
(2017) A fascinating new wine from the rejuvenated Piper-Heidsieck, one of Champagne's hottest names right now. This is effectively a 2011 wine, though not released as a vintage Champagne: the information-packed back label reveals that 84% is from 2011, with 16% reserve wines, that it was bottled in 2012 and disgorged in June 2016. That extra 18 months or so of ageing beyond the regular Brut, plus much lower dosage (5g/l as opposed to 10g/l or so) makes the difference. And what a superb wine it is: a little depth to the colour, then a savoury and salty, instantly gastronomic set of aromas, linear white fruits, lots of nutty notes of development, but lovely clarity. In the mouth it combines a fairly magical marriage of creamy expansiveness, almond and ripe stone fruits, with a searing mineral and citrus core, the low dosage helping propel that saline, ozone-freshness of the finish. Terrific and well priced. This wine will mainly be in restaurants, but some high end retailers will also carry it.
(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.
(2017) It's pretty much unbelievable that this review covers a Champagne priced - for two days only - at only £7.99 (2nd & 3rd September 2017). Though that's only a £2 reduction on its regular price, this is a wine that has gone down very well on Lidl's stand at my Festivals of Wine, a bona-fide Champagne from the Lanson and Besserat de Bellefon stable, it is a blend of the three main Champagne grapes, and has a fine, lemony nose, just a trace of biscuity development and creaminess, then a palate that shows plenty of sweetness. It is presumably close to maximum dosage for Brut, but there's no denying its easy-drinking pleasures, the oranges and lemons freshness of the finish being absolutely correct. My score cannot reach the dizzying heights of Decanter magazine's 91/100, but with quite smart packaging and more than acceptable quality, it is an astonishing value Champagne that will not disgrace your dinner table. Be quick on the 2nd as I suspect it will fly off the shelves for those planning parties or fish and chip Fridays.
(2017) This for me was a lovely Champagne at its modest price. Made for Rude Wines by the house of Leon Launois (itself owned by Charles Mignon), its mostly Pinot Noir with a smaller percentage of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, and has an open, creamy, attractive character, the fine mousse and pear and lemon fruitiness joined by just a little hint of biscuit and pastry, staying sweetly focused on fruit before a good balancing acidity pushes through the finish.
(2017) Produced for Morrison's by Champagne Lombard, this has a relatively deep colour and cherry pit fruity but dry character on the nose, a hint of earthiness and bracken. The palate shows lots of zesty orange. Clean and long - and dry.
(2017) Beautiful aromas here, a hint of meatiness and damp forest floors, then the small red fruits, very clear indeed, a haunting glimpse of something floral, like rose-hip perhaps in this blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Dry, delicate, but there is good length and it does have substance and a touch of meaty, earthy character beneath the charm of the fruit. Drinking now.