(2019) I have very fond memories of Paillard's very low dosage 'Nec Plus Ultra' cuvée, which I haven't tasted for a while, so it was intriguing to taste this new zero dosage wine. A lot - 50% - is comprised of reserve wines with vintages going back to 1985 in a solera-style system, and the majority of the blend was fermented in oak barrels. This bottle was disgorged in February 2018 after 36 months on the lees, as stated on the back label.
The mousse is fine and racy, the nose yeasty and bready, a touch of coffee, but a pure citrus and ripe pear and apple fruitiness too. On the palate this is a smooth and sophisticated glass of Champagne, the fruit cool and slick, the absence of sugar nicely balanced by ripe fruit and that weight and creaminess of autolysis. Quite full, even touching on peachy on the mid-palate, it is long and has a salty, moreish finish that is long and elegant.
(2019) This tasting note comes from the launch of the 2008 vintage of La Grande Année at Champagne Bollinger's cellars. A full report on an extraordinary event and other wines tasted will follow. The blend is 71% Pinot Noir, 29% Chardonnay from 18 crus, mostly Aÿ and Verzenay for the Pinot, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Cramant for the Chardonnay. The wine has 8g/l of residual sugar.
Super fresh, intense and tight at this stage, gentle creamy autolysis from nine years on lees, lovely delicate truffle and floral notes, subtle nutty apple and creamy fruit in a wine that is tightly-wound, but just hints at hazelnut polish and depth. The palate is sweet-fruited and has an apricot and peach flesh juiciness, it is also long and beautifully fresh with a shimmer to the acidity. This is a taut and vital Bollinger LGA, fabulous concentration and surely destined to be a great wine within the considerable lineage. Tasted from magnum the immediately has more sense of depth and sumptuousness, but so incredibly vibrant. Obviously the same wine, but the expressive dial just notched up half a point. And tasted from jeroboam, superb again, a little tighter and more obviously youthful character. So nutty, the reductive notes very apparent, but tight and fabulous streaking freshness. Note that the wine will sell-out very quickly.
(2019) A tricky year to choose for the first vintage, this 2005 is surprisingly fresh and balanced. The ripeness is still palpable, a wine of linearity rather than complexity. More importantly, heaviness has been avoided! Honeyed, slightly peachy style. With a little warmth and aeration, creamy walnut aromas begin to emerge from the glass. An attractive wine that hits the balance between fruit and maturity. I probably wouldn’t age this wine as long as some might, I feel it is almost ready to go, so drink from 2019 until 2025. Price quoted at time of review is in-bond.
(2019) Based upon the 2013 vintage, dosage around 9 g/l. Biscuity, yeast complexed Pinot dominating, and a lovely yellow fruited juiciness on the mid-palate. An unconscious sipper of a wine, blink and its gone. Drink now until 2022, great quality to price ratio.
(2019) Based upon the 2014 vintage. Aroma of slightly unripe pear on the nose with hints of white pepper. The palate has a crunchy red fruit feel, interplaying with a tangerine grip. A little bitter on the finish, perhaps a wine that needs to recover from its disgorgement? Leave in your cellar for around six months, and drink from 2019 until 2021.
(2019) This is the 2012 base, a mix of Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims Chardonnay. Toasty aromas dominate the nose, rather less flowery than usual. Lovely citrus freshness on the palate, nicely structured with a saline-reductive quality that contributes to the impression of minerality. Drink now until 2023. Price quoted when bought by the case of six.
(2019) From a Jeroboam! This is lot number beginning L17033 (disgorged February 2017) and is in fact the 2008 base, and the wine of the tasting. Extolling the virtues of the large format, such precise, anaerobic freshness gives us the opportunity to dive down and examine each individual facet in vivid detail. A focused, finely toasted, and painfully austere wine. This Champagne coats the palate with the sheer intensity of its underlying core of dry extract. It will need a few years in the cellar to develop some creaminess and further complexity, and to move beyond the smoky (reductive), bitter stone fruit flavours. Currently at 91/100, wait until 2023 for the 95/100 experience. Drink until 2033. At time of review, the Jeroboam in stock is on 2006 base.
(2019) The dosage here is 6gl, in a wine disgorged in March 2018. Fully mature (perhaps overly so). Honey, apricots, dried fruit, and oxidative spiciness are the themes here, and I certainly wouldn’t age it further. Instead, enjoy the evolved nature of the bouquet by pairing with food. Drink upon release. £622 (case of six), Crump, Richmond & Shaw.
(2019) The neckband of all of the ‘D’ non-vintage wines states "Aged 5 years," a considerably longer period than most Champagnes, especially rosé wines, that tend to forsake some of the yeasty development in favour of fruitiness. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is also a low dosage Brut, with 8g/l of residual sugar. It retains delicacy, though there is a meaty, earthy character with small red fruit notes, a touch of redcurrant, but a shimmering lemony freshness. The palate is driven by the red fruits, but the time on the lees comes through giving this a more complex layering of flavour, some umami and salts, and a lovely acid freshness. An excellent rosé Champagne. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2019) All-Chardonnay from the villages of Chouilly and Cuis in the Côte des Blancs, Steve describes 2010 as "An "ordinary" vintage, but the Chardonnays are surprisingly good," and indeed I thought this wine was excellent. Nice fine bead and pale in colour, the nose has that authentic Champagne autolytic character, yeasty and very slightly cheesy, but bursting with ripe fruit on the palate, before a crunching lemony acidity sweeps through. Quite a chewy mid-palate feel to this, a pretty substantial style, that I really enjoyed on its own, and with a creamy fish pie. The vintage Blanc de Blancs from Diebolt-Vallois appears not to have UK distribution, though at time of review a couple of vintages were available via Fine+Rare wines 'marketplace' service, the price around £40 per bottle.