(2017) What a beautiful Champagme from Marc Hébrart, a blend of old vine Pinot Noir (around 60%) and Chardonnay, the vines more than 40 years old. It has a richly toasty nose, plenty of depth and lightly earthy, terroir substance here, the crispness of the mousse giving fine initial attack on the palate. Everything comes sharply into focus here, an incisive, thrusting core of citrus and taut Asian pear, but that coolness balanced by real depth of creaminess and that powerful, much more broadly painted toast. A touch of salinity completes a very complex but utterly delicious Champagne.
(2017) Deutz rosé is mostly PInot Nor from the Montagne de Reims, with a touch of Chardonnay. It has a very delicate and attractive peachy-pink colour, the nose creamy with small red berry fruits but a certain biscuity note too, not always found in pink Champagnes. In the mouth it is vibrantly packed with reducrrant, raspberry and crisply defined dry red fruits, but it is ripe and sweet-edged too, the delicate mousse and fine acidity balancing beautifully. With a touch of chocolate or coffee adding roundness, the finish is quite intense, but never losing that elegance and delicacy.
(2017) A 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir from Grand Cru vinyards in Verzenay and Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, I have to say I loved the easy-drinking charm, balance and delicate, fruity but gently creamy character of this Champagne. The nose has a pleasing touch of brine and nettle, but the cushioning softness of the mousse becomes quite sumptuous, with plenty of ripe pear fruit easing into peachiness, but all sharpened to a fine point by the acidity. Long and so harmonious, it's a gorgeous style.
(2017) A Blanc de Noirs made from 100% PInot Noir, this was disgorged 2nd September 2016 and is Extra-Brut, so with less than 6g/l of dosage. It has a touch of gold to the pale colour, and steady, minuscule bubbles. On the nose it is immediately 'serious', with some herbal and meaty, earthy aromas, wheatgerm and a background of lemon rind. In the mouth this is a powerful and intense wine. The mousse is creamy, but the onslaught of fruit and attack of acidity is formidable. Almost chewy in its intensity, it is a profound and mouth-filling Champagne of exceptional richness.
(2017) A grower family, bottling their own wines for and based in the Grand Cru village of Verzy, this is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, with 8g/l of dosage. Bottled in April 2014 I am presuming it is a 2013 base, with one third of the blend reserve wines. It was disgorged on 8th April 2016. It has a taut, fresh nose, with a little biscuity richness just showing through, some herbal touches too. Lots of fruit ripeness on the palate, the mousse quite firm, and a clean, incisive palate, pristine fruit with not too much development, and a racing fresh finish.
(2017) Made from 100% reserve wines, this first release is a blend of six years: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 1996 and 1988. The dosage is just 3g/l and the blend is 50% Pinot Noir, around 33% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Meunier. Lovely hint of age, a gentle meat and smoke, vinous, with creaminess of texture, the palate dense and long, very vinous again, almost like an aged white Burgundy. I detected a lower pressure in this wine and indeed it is confirmed that it is bottle at just 4.5 bars rather than 6 bars for the yellow label. There is peachiness and lemon zest delicacy, but it is a fine, rounded food wine.
(2017) This Yellow label release is a 2013 base along with reserves from 2012, 2011 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 3% from 1999 making up almost 50% of the blend. It's always great to stop and think about such a familiar wine as Veuve yellow label, and realise just what a good wine it is. This has delightful autolysis, a touch of biscuit and light floral notes, which move elegantly on to a palate that's beautifully orangey and fresh, those nutty notes still there, a creamy but light mousse and fabulous clarity of acidity. Drinking beautifully. Widely available at around £40 - £45.
(2017) Also quite delicate, this is a blend of Pinots Noir from 2008, 2009 and 2010, disgorged in June 2016 to just 2,333 bottles. There is a more earthy character in comparison to the BdeB, the sweetness of the fruit on the palate is generous and easy, although it tightens up crisply on the finish, a fairly dense character that suggests a couple of years in the cellar might benefit the wine.
(2017) This brand, colloquially known as 'Ace of Spades', attracts a lot of scepticism because of the bling packaging and the fact that it is owned by musician JayZ. But analytically this is a fine all-Chardonnay blend of the 2009, 2010 and 2012 vintages that is pretty and floral on the nose, with some rosy apple and a touch of creamy oatmeal. Lots of juicy, lemon and lime fruit and acidity, though there's a certain silkiness to the texture and mousse too.
(2017) Richard Geoffroy used the highest ever proportion of red Pinot Noir wine in this blend, 27%, making it a decidedly meaty, Burgundian Champagne, with truffle and forest floor, vinous with red berry fruit. That welterweight of flavour slightly butts up against the acidity at this stage for me, tannins too against grapefruit, suggesting perhaps that a few years in the cellar will do this no harm.