(2021) A proportion of this Pinot Noir-dominated wine (72%, Chardonnay, 26% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier) was vinified and aged in oak barrels. It is based on the 2016 vintage, but with 35% of reserve wines in the blend. The dosage is 9g/l and around 7-8% of the blend was vinified as red wine. It has a relatively deep, bronze-pink colour and there is a definite biscuity depth to the strawberries and cream of the nose. Something just a little bit truffly adds extra interest. In the mouth the mousse is rich and cushioning, and the bite of raspberry and a little spicy nuance makes for attracive and balanced drinking. Both savoury and sippable, with good intensity into a long finish, it's a very fine and characterful rosé from Philipponnat.
(2021) From Grand Cru Pinot Noir vineyards in Äy, plus 28% Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger, this rosé spent eight years on the lees and is Extra Brut with 4.5g/l dosage. 5212 bottles were disgorged in March 2019. It's a remarkable and serious pink, the nose smoky and mineral, crammed with small, tight red berries and streaking citrus, just a little biscuit character too. There's an immediate sense of concentration, borne out on the palate, which is intense and beautifully fruited, with raspberry and redcurrant, again that smoky, stony, mineral base, some natural fruit sweetness gathered up into a sweep of acidity through to the finish.
(2021) Henriot's rosé is 50% Pinot Noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims, with 40% Chardonnay and a 10% Pinot Meunier. Reserve wines make up 35% of the blend, which spent three years on the lees and has 9g/l dosage. The colour is a medium-pale bronze/peach, with aromas of small red berries, and a touch of biscuit. In the mouth the mousse is cushiony and rich, but the zestiness of the acidity gives good energy to the wine, the soft fruity character also making it approachable and easy to drink.
(2021) All Chardonnay from Villers-Mamery (the eastern facing sector of the Montagne de Reims), the wine sees 100% malo, with 25% aged in wood. After four years on the lees it was disgorged 12/201, with 8g/l dosage from a Solera 'super cuvée'. Pale lemony straw coloured, I love the nose, which has bready and meaty aromas, a touch of flint, and great umami depth. In the mouth the mousse is cushiony and full, and there's a striking vibrancy of lemon fruit: really punchy, vivacious, with a full, rich texture and bright orange and pink grapefruit acid thrust to extend the finish. Just lovely. Price and stockist quoted is for 2013 vintage at time of review.
(2021) What a fabulous wine this DP 2006 is, from a generally dry and warm vintage. There's a fabulously flinty, seal-salt and minerals quality on the nose, the wine immediately suggesting power and great concentration. It is gently toasty, all those complex reductive notes making for endlessly fascinating aromatics. In the mouth it is taut, intense and equally concentrated, but this is not a brawny wine; instead the sinew connects clean, powerful lemon rind and creamy fruit notes that have a certain fat, but no excess. It's a wine that edges on phenolic, with some tannin giving real authority, but somehow it is charming too with its balance and fruit purity. A terrific DP.
(2021) 'C.M. 1993' is not a vintage date: it refers to the 1993 metre height of the Col de la Madeleine. In 2013, when the components of this wine were assembled, it was one of the 'Hors Categories' climbs of the Tour de France. Ninety percent of the base wine was barrel fermented, in new barrels from forests in Champagne. A slightly lower liquor de tirage has also reduced the pressure slightly, for a less aggressively bubbly style. It is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. 5,100 bottles were disgorged in July 2019 with a dosage of 6g/l. A terrific nose, where there is vanilla and a touch of toast overlaid on mushroom and truffle, confit lemon and a suggestion of sweeter peach. It is fresher than the C.C.F 2067, for me it has more nerve and vitality, the rolling mousse leading onto mouthfilling but super-fresh flavours, a beautifully elongated palate where acidity shimmers to a fine, tapering point.
(2021) This cuvée named after the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Hors Categories stage of the Tour de France, where riders climbed to 2067 feet to the summit. That was in 2012, when this wine was laid downm to be disgorged in May 2017. It blends 45% Pinot Meunier with 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, with 85% of the blend being 2010 vintage (fermented and aged for a year in barrel), along with 15% from 2011. Only 3,600 bottles were produced, and once again a lower tirage means it has lower pressure than most Champagnes. Dosage is 5g/l. Somewhere between butercup yellow and gold, the nose shows lots of vanilla, dominating a light earthiness and bruised apple fruit. In the mouth it is gently effervescent, and the maturity of this bottle, #3,151, gives more of the lightly oxidative but honeyed style, before freshening citrus and apple acidity, plus a lick of saltiness, balances the finish.
(2021) From the second-oldest, dedicated Champagne house founded in 1730, this is 48% Pinot Noir (mostly from Les Riceys), 39% Chardonnay, the balance Pinot Meunier. Coming from a cool year, but now with seven years under its belt, there is some gold to the colour and an attractively creamy, nutty and bruised apple fruit quality. On the palate the dosage is apparent, giving a sweet attack, but a fat and juicy lemony fruit corew and acidity sweeps through. The finish shows a little salts and minerals, in an easy drinking and stylish vintage Champagne. £24.99 as part of a mixed six at Majestic at time of review.
(2021) There is no Nicolas Courtin (or at least not one who has anything to do with this Champagne) as it is a brand name, exclusive to Majestic, as far as I can see. The wine has a fairly deep rosé colour for Champagne, and there is a nice biscuity quality that pink Champagne doesn't always show, and small red berry fruitiness: think cranberry and redcurrant. In the mouth a creamy mousse and plenty more depth of red fruits. There's a hint of sweetness to this Brut wine that makes it soft and easy to drink, so a pretty good choice all round if your Valentine's day requirement is for a pink fizz suitable for sipping on its own or with poached or smoked salmon perhaps. £16.99 as part of a mixed six is the price to be on for this one. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) Pommery doesn't enjoy the greatest of reputations among Champagne afficionados, but I really rather enjoyed this wine, made with around 9g/l dosage and with around 30% reserve wines in the blend. Bready and lightly toasty on the nose, the bubbles are tiny and rise steadily in the glass, and the palate it taut with a lemony thrust of fruit and acid, but a certain peachy sweetness on the mid-palate, with a reasonably long and nicely balanced, tangy finish.