It is not often one have the possibility to taste a vertical of all vintages made by the wonderful Fleur de Passion. Burt now it has happened twice in a couple of months. My dear friend ‘Miss Champagne-Marina’ invited me to this fabulous tasting this Saturday @ Vinkällaren Grappe in Stockholm.
We gathered some members from Richard Juhlin Champagne Club this Thursday to taste some mature Vueve Cliquot’s. The Tasting took place @ The Champagne bar by Richard Juhlin in Stockholm.
Where do our readers come from? It’s fantastic to see that the love of Champagne is spread all over the world!
British Virgin Islands
RJ on EGLY-OURIET This firm was established in 1930 and nowadays Michel Egly owns 7,7 hectares at Ambonnay, a third of a hectare at Bouzy and one and a half a hectare at Verzenay as well as 2 hectares Meunier in Vrigny. The average age of the vines is 35 years, with 60 years for the prestige wines. The wines are phenomenally great and rich. The grower is very close to gaining five stars through his fantastic development in recent years. Probably the foremost grower of Pinot Noir in the entire Champagne region nowadays. His much sought-after Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes comes from grapes from Pinot vines grown in 1946. They give this wine extra weight and density. The fruitiness is massive and soft, and the potential for maturation is enormous. He succeeds better and better for each issue. Nowadays this is a Selosse-like, exotic, oaky and biodynamically influenced giant among champagnes. The taste layers are fantastically generous and many-headed. Very close to 5 stars.
nv EGLY-OURIET ‘BRUT TRADITION’ | Ambonnay | Champagne | France | Egly-Ouriet | 70PN 30CH | RJpoints 84(88)
TASTING NOTE A copy of Bollinger’s nonvintage Champagne. Chocolate, hazelnut and ripe apples. A broad, masculine fleshiness and vigor. Better and better with greater depth, elegance and Selosse-like barrel quality and organic style. Avoid the youngest and most recently disgorged specimens of all.
The House of Krug is celebrating the annual recreation of Krug Grande Cuvée by highlighting the parallels between conducting a symphony orchestra and composing Krug Grande Cuvée, the signature Champagne of the House, with a pop-up immersive exhibition, in the heart of London from the 7th to 11th of April. Tickets.
Eric Lebel, winemaker & Esa-Pekka Salonen, Principal Conductor
Monday morning, the cold and the snow got back to Sthlm … Let’s cheer up. We need a reason to open a great bottle of champagne today … Let’s celebrate St Patrick’s Day!
2006 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘CRISTAL’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Louis Roederer | 60PN 40CH | RJpoints 95(97)
TASTING NOTE Just fantastic from the start. A colossal power and beautiful rumbling pinot maturity. It’s like chewing on the ripest grapes from Aÿ and Verzenay. At the same time ultra stylish down all the unmistakable cristal essence, peach and mango sweetness, pineapple coconut, vanilla and unreal sprightly acidity and citrus flowery. Many similarities with 2002, but with a clearer pinot touch.
RJ ON CRISTAL
Cristal, just the name makes most of us burst into an enjoyable smile. Either we feel a historic reverence before the Russian tsar witch we have gratitude for the magical wine or that we associate the proudest of all champagne bottles and everything in its glittering wake. Think about all the classic film scenes which have been glorified by the clear bottle with its golden wrapping. Cristal is now the foremost choice in Hollywood when illustrating a luxurious situation, even thou Hip-Hop stars recently got pissed off that they did not get recognition from Louis Roederer despite their Cristal worship. However the symbol has already become so strong that it is impossible for the stars to get their fans to change to another brand.
That a music movement has appreciation for this world famous wine is well in order. What’s worst is when I was in Saint Tropez and saw young jetsetters squirting Cristal from magnum bottles in known racing drivers fashion just to show of their economic muscles, and unwittingly exposing their minimal brain capacity.
The history behind the mythical wine derives from the time when Russia was the largest export market for many of the famous champagne houses in Reims. Foremost reputation among the most powerful Russians had Louis Roederer. But the Russian tsar Alexander II was not satisfied with serving the same champagne as his subjects, so he called Louis Roederer to a meeting where it was decided that he would get his very own remarkable and fantastic bottle to show his guests. In 1876 he placed a special purchase order for the first transparent Cristal bottles with a flat bottom, which at that time were made of genuine crystal.
The wine was incomparably sweet and caused Roederer certain sales problems after the Russian revolution as they had unpaid invoices and a stock of sweet champagne that no one wanted. Rumors flourish frequently that there may still be bottles left from the days of the tsar in Russia, or on the bottom of the sea in sunken ships. How ever nothing suggests that any such bottles exist. After World War II Roederers management felt that it was time to renew the Russian connection when they wanted to find an equivalent to Moet & Chandons successful prestige champagne Dom Pérignon. It was an easy decision to reintroduce the tsar’s old bottle in a modern shape filled with a bubbly dry wine.
The wine is made since 1970 solely in stainless steel tanks with grapes from their own vineyards in Aÿ, Verenay,Verzy and and Cumiéres, mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Avize and Le Mesnil. It´s style is ultra sophisticated with a wild silky softness in combination with a nutty fireworks backed by exotic fruitiness in a caramel filled body. When Cristal is at it´s best I discover tones of everything that makes life worth living. In short one of the most perfect classic champagnes the world has to offer. Cristal Rosé is an even more expensive and uncommon product which has been cast in a similar form, but in it´s lovely figures it moves slightly more to strawberries with cream. It gets it´s color from contact with peelings from Pinot grapes which have grown on old grape vines in Aÿ. Composition of grapes is most often 70% Pinot Noire and 30 % Chardonnay. To me this rosé wine is without a doubt the worlds foremost rosé all categories.
How is the quality today seen from a historical perspective? In august 2007 I updated my already voluminous testing register of this fantastic wine at an extremely extensive Cristal testing at the great and now starred Solleröd Kro north of Copenhagen. A private Danish real enthusiast that performed the same type of testing last year of Dom Pérignon had collected the wines during thirteen years. The whole event was superbly conducted. The Scandinavian testing group enjoyed a wonderful day with colossal quantities of first class food and Cristal in equal amounts.
Winner this time was found among the middle aged wines. Most impressive where vintage 1979 and 1982, taken into account that older vintages cost a fortune purchase should be made among the younger vintages. It should how ever be mentioned that vintages 40-, 50-, and 60- when in perfect condition, are worth every penny. Below you can see what I consider be the quality of almost all vintages that has been produced during the beginning years of 2000. The left column reflects today’s status and the right its potential top ranking.
What then is the greatest Cristal ever made? If you want to learn it so I would suggest a dinner preceded by the 1988 Cristal Rosé and Cristal Rosé 1979 followed by a generous serving of duckliver with the 1949 and 1955. I hardly think that the old tsar would turn in his grave.
Richard Juhlin is the DWWA 2014’s Regional Chair for Champagne. Author of six books on Champagne, Juhlin is a freelance writer, runs The Richard Juhlin Champagne Club, and is currently working on a series about drinks and restaurants in Europe for American and Chinese TV. Through The Richard Juhlin Champagne Club he arranges events and tours to the region, and members have access to his Champagne bars in Sweden and a tasting note database.
Read the interview with Richard Juhlin below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
I would love to be born today and have the rest of my life ahead of me. I think in that we live in a very exciting time where fewer people are poor, wars are less frequent and there is better understanding between cultures. I feel very positive about the future.
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
I think I’d had a few sips already at the age of six but my first real wine moment was when I was eight. I had a small tasting of four lovely Rieslings with my parents in Trittenheim in the Mosel Valley.
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
It varies, but somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 bottles. My most recent one is a bottle of 1982 Comtes de Champagne.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
My interest started in 1986 after a visit to Reims. By 1988 I was already hosting tastings but I only left my job as a sports teacher when I released my first Swedish book about Champagne, which was in 1995.
☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
A mixed case of 1985 Domaine de la Romanée Conti. I had the chance but thought it was too expensive at the time. I regret that now.
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
Chardonnay as per usual.
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
Bolgheri, which for me is the best wine region outside of France. During my long summer holiday at Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina, Sicily, I drank a lot of the big names from Tuscany and rediscovered their greatness. They also tasted better in Southern Italy than at home in Scandinavia.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
Serena Sutcliffe MW and Anselme Selosse.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
- My first gulp of a 1978 Chambertin Rousseau when I was 20 years-old, with a beef of elk.
- 1928 Pol Roger Grauves with black truffled chicken from Bresse.
- Tasting the first German white asparagus with Le Mesnil Champagne each spring.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
1985 Romanée Conti with John Cleese or 1979 Krug Clos du Mesnil with Michelle Pfeiffer.
☆ What are you most looking forward to about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
Meeting all the fantastic wine tasters and discussing the beauty of Champagne with people who understand its greatness.
source: Decanter Magazine 7th of March 2014