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.
RJ ON DIEBOLT Jacques Diebolt and his family are some of the nicest people I’ve met in Champagne, and the fact that they produce Chardonnay wines of world class doesn’t hurt either. Several producers in the village make supremely enjoyable Champagnes, but personally I think Diebolt gives the cru another dimension, especially with those wines that haven’t gone through malolactic fermentation, and which were harvested from the sixty-five-year-old vines in Les Pimonts or Les Buzons. There is a thought-provoking depth reminiscent of Le Mesnil, combined with Cramant’s creamy structure. Unfortunately, the demand for Diebolt’s wines is so great that they are forced to sell the Champagne far too early. Diebolt was an unknown name before the firm was awarded Champagne Producer of the Year in 1992 by the magazine Gault Millau, but since then the connoisseurs of the world have fought over their bottles.
RJ ON FLEUR de PASSION Jacques’s most recent inventions are Fleur de Passion some of the foremost young Champagnes I have tasted, and the ’53 and ’61 are already legendary. Terribly close to five stars because everything Diebolt does is perfect in its way. 2002 Fleur de Passion will become a legend.
APÉRITIF – 2005 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘MILLÉSIME’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 84(87)
TASTING NOTE A nice and wellrounded Champagne without the potential for cellar storage. But in it’s charming buttery style it will be nice to drink during the forthcoming year or so.
2006 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 89(94)
TASTING NOTE Considerably weaker oak influence than usual. Throughout the entire experience is a steel like purity and a delicate youthful aroma of yellow plum and yellow apples. Beneath the surface lurks a depth of vanilla and spices . Certainly this enjoyable, but given how rare these bottles are, they should be stored at least five years after the launch to convert the volatile floral unit to classical nuttiness.
2005 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 88(93)
TASTING NOTE Naturally a very difficult wine to assess when we kidnapped it on its third birthday. The structure and the rich, fluffy fruitiness make me convinced that this essence-like wine is going to be wonderful. Rich and fresh. Slow development for being a 2005.
2004 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 92(93)
TASTING NOTE Young and graceful with chiselled elegance and floral beauty. Some oakiness starting to emerge. Suddenly grand and a year later rocky and mineral salty.
2002 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 94(96)
TASTING NOTE Extremely young and floral with a massive oakiness and great seriousness at present. Tough acidic. Beautiful roundness started to develop summer 2010. Later more toasty, almost pinot-like smokiness.
2000 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 90(90)
TASTING NOTE Still very influenced by the oak. A lot of pear aromes and flowery notes with unique personality. A wonderful champagne with a lot of freschnes and layers.
1999 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 93(93)
TASTING NOTE It is of course extremely difficult to predict what will happen with this youngster. A somewhat prickly svavelton meets the nose initially because the wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. Large round exotic fruit and eminent purity. Mineral finesse. Today great creamyness . Last almost Bollinger-like.
1998 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 94(95)
TASTING NOTE Surprising style that differs completely from other vintages of this wine. It is extremely easily drunk, even though it still has a few years before being released onto the market. Lightly roasted, smiling Dom Pérignon-ish flavor with a large dollop of passion fruit. Very good and charming.
1997 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 89(89)
TASTING NOTE Slightly greener nose than usual. Mild, harmonic palate that still feels a bit neutral. The weakest Passion yet. Nevertheless, a first-class, concentrated, and delightful wine.
1996 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 94(96)
TASTING NOTE A wine that Jacques has made in his most passionate way. This is supreme Champagne with purity, oak aroma, and power. Which one is more supreme, the ’95 or the’96, I leave for the future to decide. Today the oaky ’95 is more impressive, but the elegance in this wine is difficult to beat.
1995 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | BJ 93(95) LGP96
TASTING NOTE A new super-wine is born. Jacques Diebolt has put his heart and soul into the 3,000 bottles that are sold under this label. The philosophy is to copy earlier generation’s methods of craftsmanship: only the oldest vines, no malolactic fermentation, storage and fermentation in small oak barrels, lengthy maturation in the bottle. The result is astonishing. Vintages ’95, ’96, ’97, and ’98 are all exceptional wines, with a concentrated Chardonnay flavor that one only finds with Clos du Mesnil, Selosse “N” and a number of grand cru wines from Burgundy.
REFRESCHEMENT CHAMPAGNE – 2002 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘MILLÉSIME’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | BJ 85(90)
TASTING NOTE Like a summer meadow featuring most flowers. A weak element of almond and light pear fruitiness. Charming and promising.
1985 GUY VALLOIS ‘BLANC de BLANCS CUIS’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 83(83)
TASTING NOTE Disgorged Oct11th’04. Since Jacques Diebolt has bought up the entire family stock of Guy Vallois’s older undisgorged vintages, he has the right to label them Diebolt-Vallois. This wine is actually made by Vallois and comes from Cuis. The difference is that Jacques has disgorged the bottles and added a small dosage of three grams of sugar. For the time being, the wine is almost identical, with the same attributes of cream and passion fruit as the aromatic guiding stars. The aftertaste of this deep and elegant Champagne exudes summery feelings of strawberry and whipped cream.
1979 GUY VALLOIS ‘BLANC de BLANCS CUIS’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 90(90)
TASTING NOTE Disgorged Dec10th’04. One of the vintages that Jacques has bought from Guy Vallois—in other words, a pure Cuis disgorged by Diebolt during 2003 and dosed with three grams of sugar. Up until now, the wine has behaved completely differently on the occasions I have tasted it. The first time, elegance and floweriness were the focus and the points were way over 90. The second time, the Champagne was unattractive and slightly clumsy, with certain coarse mature notes, despite a medium-deep color and good mousse. The trilogy of ’85, ’79, and ’76 is fascinating because the wines are still undisgorged and they truly allow the taster to see how individual bottles develop after this much contact with the yeast residue.
1976 GUY VALLOIS ‘BLANC de BLANCS CUIS’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 93(93)
TASTING NOTE Disgorged Jun17th’05. This is a great wine that comes from Guy Vallois in Cuis, but which has been disgorged and dosed by Jacques Diebolt and thus carries his name—that’s how strange the laws in Champagne are. The wine is deliciously butterscotchy and exotically rich with tons of browned butter and créme-brûlée tones. Big and impressive, as you would expect from this warm year. In regular bottle a bit up and down but in magnums really great and consistent.
1973 GUY VALLOIS ‘BLANC de BLANCS CUIS’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | BJ 94(94)
TASTING NOTE Disgorged Oct20th’00. What depth! A pure Cuis wine from Guy Vallois, disgorged and dosed by Diebolt. Unfortunately the number of bottles left is limited. But those who get to taste this rare wine will have a powerful experience—notes of forest mushrooms, mocha, cacao, nuts, and tart fruit acting in perfect harmony. The wine has a rare attack and explosive intensity, actually a little reminiscent of Diebolt’s really old wines from ’61 and ’53.