4.30 Monday morning and we arrived for lunch in Aÿ at long time favorite Champagne Bollinger. This was the start of The VIP trip oct’15!
After a well deserved summer break, The Champagnebar by Richard Juhlin will open this Friday. We start with a new house Champagne – from Gosset in Aÿ – ‘Grande Reserve’.
It’s not everyday that one has the opportunity to taste a new vintage of one of Champagnes true legendary wines – Bollinger ‘Viewless Vignes Françaises’.
August Strindberg and his bohemic friends discussed politics and poetry all day long in this dining room, which is named from his book, Röda Rummet. The book was published in 1879. Richard & Björnstierne was invited to lunch @ Röda Rummet – Berns Asiatiska by Fabrice Rosset, CEO of Champagne Deutz to taste 5 new releases on the Swedish market.
nv DEUTZ ‘BRUT CLASSIC’ | Aÿ | 38PN 32PM 30CH | SBnr 7487 | 380 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘The Champagne is always of a high quality, but has previously been sold too early. If you put the wine aside for a few years in the cellar, a fine, bready note will develop, which will tone down the exaggerated apple-like fruit. I tasted a couple of bottles at the beginning of 2001 that already had a classic maturity. Very good, exuberant, and complex at the moment. I hope this tendency continues.’ RJpoints 76(84)
1995 DEUTZ ‘MILLIÉSIME VINOTHÈQUE’ | Aÿ | 60PN 10PM 30CH | 1 349 SEK | Swedish allocation 36 bottles | TASTINGNOTE ‘It feels like Deutz vintage wine has finally found its true self. Classic, irresistible style, without forgetting its past. Everything is in its place in a totally satisfying way. Mature Pinot Noir and sublime, crispy fruit in lovely harmony.’ RJpoints 96(96)
1995 DEUTZ ‘BLANC de BLANCS VINOTHÈQUE’ | 100CH | 1 349 SEK | Swedish allocation 48 bottles | TASTINGNOTE ‘40% Le Mesnil-sûr-Oger, 50% Avize & 10% Villers Marmery. Fantastic and indeed somewhat oilier than the usual issue. I suppose that the autolytic character will give this wine an amazing base for acceleration a little further on in the future.’ RJpoints 96(96)
2002 DEUTZ ‘CUVÉE WILLIAM DEUTZ’ | 62PN 11PM 27CH | 1 100 SEK | Swedish allocation 360 bottles | TASTINGNOTE ‘Pinot Noir: 62%, from vineyards in Ay, Mareuil-sûr-Aÿ, Bouzy, Louvois and Ambonnay. Chardonnay: 27%, from vineyards in Avize, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, with a small proportion from the Montagne de Reims. Pinot Meunier: 11% from vineyards in Pierry and Chatillon-sur-Marne. Golden hue with crystal glints. Extremely fine bubbles. Delicate, rich and complex on the nose, developing floral and cooked white peach aromas, underpinned by lovely honey-sweet notes of spice and candied ginger. Well defined and clean on entry. Captivating, rich and full on the palate, the champagne releases a mélange of delicate cherry, wild peach and honey aromas. Its fine, harmonious balance shows promise. The finish is silky, complex and refined, with long lingering aromas.’ RJpoints 90(95)
2007 DEUTZ ‘MILLÉSIME’ | 65PN 5PM 30CH | 499 SEK | Swedish allocation 1 200 bottles | TASTINGNOTE ‘Pinot Noir: about 65%, from the terroirs of Bouzy, Mareuil-sûr-Aÿ, Verzenay, Aÿ and Ambonnay. Chardonnay: about 30%, from the terroirs of Avize and Villers-Marmery. Pinot Meunier: about 5%, from Binson-et-Orquigny. Soft pleasing vanilla-scented and cacao-orienterad aroma and a soft fruit and bread dominated taste for relatively early consumption.’ RJpoints 82(85)
2009 DEUTZ ‘ROSÉ MILLÉSIME’ | 80PN 10CH | 499SEK | Swedish allocation 360 bottles | TASTINGNOTE ‘The vineyards, or crus, that supply the Pinot Noir are a gage of its qualities: Aÿ, Mareuil-sûr-Aÿ, Bouzy and Verzenay. They epitomise the subtle and yet powerful qualities of the finest pinot noirs in Champagne. The style of this wine and its colour owe a lot to the incorporation into the blend of 8% red wine made by Deutz from a plot of old vines on the hillside at Aÿ – a plot known as « La Pelle » – and other specific plots at Mareuil-sur-Aÿ: « Cumaine » and « Charmont ». Tasted together with the worlds most expensive (!) caviar, the arctic char caviar – Northern Light Spirit at about €25 000 per kilo. The wine felt slightly dryer and and firmer then usual. The nose is very much Aÿ and has great potential, with the slightly heavy charachter of the vintage.’ RJpoints 83(88)
Champagne Deutz also launched a world premier – 2006 DEUTZ ‘AMOUR de DEUTZ ROSÉ’ | 65PN 35CH | aprox 1 500 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘Fabrice Rosset has long wanted to profile of William Deutz Rosé from a gastronomically burgundy influenced wine into something sleeker and more modern. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced that the style change was necessary, although I obviously understand and respect the decision. The bottle is incredibly beautiful, cool and elegant as a Greta Garbo in black and white. The purity and minerality sharpness is surgically precise, but the intensity and the fruit is a little too toned down this time. More like a dry Belle Epoque than William Deutz at present.’ RJpoints 86(92)
RJ ON DEUTZ Two Germans, William Deutz and Pierre Gelderman, founded this prestigious firm in 1838 in Ay. Deutz was hit hard during the champagne uprising in 1911. For a long time the house was run by André Lallier, who made large investments in other wine regions. These include properties in the Rhone Valley, Maison Deutz in California and another sparkling wine from the Loire Valley. 1993 Louis Roederer acquired majority of Deutz. Today the firm is run proficiently by the sympathetic Fabrice Rosset. Winemaker Michel Davesne. 75% of the grapes are sourced from Grand- and premier cru plots. Deutz owns land in five villages. The property is among the most beautiful in Champagne and wines are also very distinguished. The style is laid-back, elegant and sophisticated with a medium full body and crystal clear fruit as well as an exemplary mousse. All wines are good, but Cuvée William Deutz Rosé is something special. Even the Vinothèque-wines and the white edition of William Deutz is world class. Deutz has launched an ultra sophisticated prestige champagne under the name Amour de Deutz selling like hotcakes since Madonna took it to heart. One of my real favorites!
nv POL ROGER ’BRUT RESERVE’ | EPERNAY | 33PN 33PM 34CH | aprox 389 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘I love the entire range of the firm’s products, from the regular non-vintage all the way to the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, and I guarantee you that every sound bottle you drink will impart a life-enhancing experience of pure joy. Some of the best bottles of nonvintage Champagne I have tasted have been well-stored Pol Roger. The ability to age with grace despite its Pinot Meunier content is the wine’s best asset. After a bad patch they are back on track again.’ RJpoints 75(85)
2000 POL ROGER ’CUVEE WINSTON CHURCHILL’ | EPERNAY | ASSEMBLAGE SECRET | aprox 1 295 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘Not at all exciting when it was released. The tones are here but in an unusually weak form. Will time provide enough evolving to provide the desired push? Oh, yes. Already very worthy of its label. Nice smokey complexity. Fat and already matured.’ RJpoints 94(94)
nv LOUIS ROEDERER ’BRUT PREMIER’ | REIMS | 62PN 8PM 30CH | aprox 399 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘Up to 20 percent of the oak-aged reserve wine is used in the nonvintage Champagne Brut Premier. Roederer has no set recipe regarding malolactic fermentation the personal qualities of the wine differ from case to case. Roederer is without doubt a brilliant Champagne house with an exceptional portfolio of wines. The nonvintage Champagne is brilliant. Invariably praised, nonvintage Champagne with a high proportion of reserve wines that had been stored in big oak barrels. Four years in the bottle before disgorging only the first pressing is used. For several years, an appley, storable, and decently good nonvintage Champagne. Today, a Cristal-like Champagne with outstanding finesse. Fantastic in magnum.’ RJpoints 83(91)
2006 LOUIS ROEDERER ’CRISTAL’ | REIMS | 60PN 40CH | aprox 399 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘I quake at the thought of how much Cristal is going to be stolen from the cradle at nightclubs and fashionable restaurants in the rich parts of the world. But this version is 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.’ RJpoints 95(97)
nv BOLLINGER ’SPECIAL CUVEE ’ | AŸ | 60PN 15PM 25CH | aprox 439 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘Yet again, one of my absolute favorites among nonvintage Champagnes. Since the beginning of the 1990s the wine has only been four years old when it enters the market and is vinified in steel vats. Even so, it’s fascinating to see how much 12 percent old reserve wines, vinified in oak barrels and stored in magnums, do to lift the product. The oakish, smoky, and deep Bollinger style develops after a couple of years in the bottle.’ RJpoints 81(89)
2004 BOLLINGER ’LA GRANDE ANNEE’ | AŸ | 60PN 40CH | aprox 899 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘Richer and greater than I had expected. The oak maybe a little too obvious, but in the process of integration. Nice fresh fruitiness, delicious unobtrusive vanilla tones and a crisp minerality that in the current situation overshadows the mushroom tones.’ RJpoints 93(94)
For the members in The Richard Juhlin Champagne Club we set up at monthly tasting. The theme this time was ‘odd auction bottles’. The bottles has been purchased at Swedish Champagne auctions the last three years.
2004 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ’FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | 100CH | aprox 1 000 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘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. Young and graceful with chiselled elegance and floral beauty. SoYoung and graceful with chiselled elegance and floral beauty. Some oakiness starting to emerge. Suddenly grand and a year later stony and mineral salty.’ RJpoints 93(94)
1999 DEUTZ ’CUVEE WILLIAM DEUTZ’ | Aÿ | 55PN 10PM 35CH | aprox 1 500 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ‘William Deutz is a Champagne that impresses me more and more. It is early days still in the life of this young wine. The fruity loveliness and complexity in this closed bud of beauty are however quite unmistakeable. Yet another magnificent William with which to gild the future.’ RJpoints 90(94)
1998 DEUTZ ’CUVEE WILLIAM DEUTZ’ | Aÿ | 55PN 10PM 35CH | aprox 1 500 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ’A bit mean and apple-tinged up to now. The almost earthy stoniness of this vintage is not something that contributes to giving the wine charm, either. It will certainly improve well and truly, but it is hardly likely to be one of the great Williams, is it? The sudden strawberry maturity in the finish makes me ask the question.’ RJpoints 93(93)
1999 DEUTZ ’CUVEE WILLIAM DEUTZ ROSE’ | Aÿ | 55PN 25CH | aprox 1 500 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ’Yet another magical edition of this wine. Please do not drink it yet. Of course the wine is seductively delicious with its focused strawberry essence, but the layers will split up and they have the potential for becoming even more subtle and captivating with time. Be patient!’ RJpoints 92(94)
1992 VILMART ’CUVEE CREATION’ | RILLY-LA-MONTAGNE | 60PN 40CH | aprox 900 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ’Vilmart has quickly established cult status, only topped among growers by J. Selosse. A transparent bottle, small barrels, but younger vines. Surprisingly oxidative and miles from Couer de Cuvée from this vintage. A rich, rustic flavour of honey, toffee, leather and fallen fruit.’ BJpoints 90(90)
1998 VILMART ’CUVEE CREATION’ | RILLY-LA-MONTAGNE | 60PN 40CH | aprox 900 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ’Reminiscent of 1980 Noble Cuvée at the same age. Exactly the same aroma of meringue, sabayone and Brie. Creamy-sweet fruitiness with an element of vanilla. Not at all as compact or barrel-influenced as the Coeur de Cuvée.’ BJpoints 88(88)
1990 JACQUESSON ’CUVEE EMPEREUR NAPOLEON NON DOSE’ | DIZY | 54PN 46CH | aprox 4 500 SEK magnum | TASTINGNOTE ’A highly successful Champagne, where finesse and richness go hand in hand in excellent fashion. Hazelnut, white chocolate, honey, licorice, and a hint of oak are found in this refreshing and clearly youthful taste. Brilliant winemaking!’ RJpoints 94(95)
1990 JACQUESSON ’AVIZE BLANCS de BLANCS’ | DIZY | 54PN 46CH | aprox 2 000 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ’Their first vintage Blanc de Blancs was released in October 1994, replacing the much-praised nonvintage version with a lot of fuss and bother. I don’t know if this remarkable vintage was the reason for the huge jump in quality, but it is clear that this is a much broader and richer Champagne. The mousse melts in the mouth like the finest caviar, the nose is rich in bread aromas and Granny Smith apples, the flavor is soft and harmonious with a long, buttery, burgundy-like aftertaste. Ah, they are just so clever at Jacquesson’s! I am greatly charmed by this wine since the dryness, sometimes exaggerated, is bridged over by the buttery, rich, exotic fruitiness of the vintage. Very typical of the vineyard.’ RJpoints 94(95)
1989 HENRIOT ’CUVEE DES ENCHANTELUER’ | REIMS | 45PN 55CH | aprox 2 500 SEK | TASTINGNOTE ’The firm’s new cuvée de prestige is identical to Cuvée Baccarat. Tasted newly disgorged before the wine had gone onto the market. That’s why it was not so strange to detect a slightly restrained, unevolved characteristic about this—in all other ways—classic, house-typical Champagne. Vanilla, peach, lemon, rolls, bread, and mineral clothed in a fat, balanced exterior. Beautiful and developable. Highly reminiscent of Henriot’s delightful ’76s.’ RJpoints 94(94)
1996 BOLLINGER ‘VEILLES VIGNES FRANCAISES’ | 100PN | aprox €1 500 | RJpoints 98(99)
TASTINGNOTE‘Just as expected: a monumental wine experience! The wine belongs to the select few that behave with such evident, obvious authority that commentary and comparison feel superfluous. Still, to me the ’90 is its closest cousin, with its vigor and velvety, young creaminess. Deep golden hue with extremely small bubbles that slowly make their way up through the glass. The bouquet is mute, tight, and powerful, like a distant rumbling thunderstorm. The palate is met by an oily, creamy essence of dark fruit and licorice. Long and wide as an American highway. A complete Champagne in its make-up. Drink it soon or wait ten years for the next phase. There’s a great risk that it’ll go hide in a tunnel for a few years—the second bottle I opened six months after launching already showed signs of heading into that tunnel.’
- Bolinger only produces their own champagne. No wines are bought as ‘vins sûr lattes’.
- A large ownership of vineyards, 60 percent, which will garanteea consistent house style.
- 325 crus, which 17 are grand crus & 41premier crus.
- Pinot Noir is the base in all Bollingers Champagnes.
- Bollinger only uses ’la cuvée’.
- First fermentation only in oak barrels.
- Réserveviner matures in magnums under natural corks.
- Long maturation sûr-lie.
- Only four winemakers during the last 60 years.
- Low dosage. 7-9 grams for Spécial Cuvée & La Grande Année & Vieilles Vignes Françaises, 3-4 grams for R.D.
RJ ON BOLLINGER Joseph Bollinger was the German from Würtemberg who founded this ancient house in 1829. The French called him simply “Jacques.” The firm’s large estates in the best Pinot villages were bought by his sons Georges and Joseph, and in 1918 it was time for the next Jacques to take over the property. He became the mayor of Aÿ, but died during the German occupation at the age of forty-seven. The most colorful person in the history of the house is his widow, Lily Bollinger, who kept a watchful eye on every bunch of grapes by cycling through the vineyards regularly. Her rigorous demands for quality still run through the house to this day. Now Bollinger is run by Jérôme Philipon, who control over 144 hectares, providing 70 percent of the grape supply. The winemaker today is Gilles Descôtes. Besides the house’s exceptional vineyards, they also use very expensive vinification methods. All the vintage wines are fermented in small, aged oak barrels and are never filtered. Malolactic fermentation—which would probably take place very late in the process—is not encouraged either. The reserve wines are stored at low pressure in magnums. Bollinger make the heaviest and most full-bodied champagnes of any house, and their wines always have a smoky and hazelnut-y complexity that is very hard to beat. The vintage wines are among the very best, but the question is whether the rare and fantastic Vieilles Vignes Françaises, made with grapes from non-grafted Pinot vines, can reach even greater heights. All wines highly recomended.
The history of champagne is full of enterprising widows. Louise Pommery was already a widow at the age of 39 and she probably would have proudly smiled in her grave if she had found out that she was going to give her name to the prestige champagne that was created in her honor in 1979. Pommery, currently owned by Vranken, was founded in 1856 and is today one of the largest champagne houses with their 5.6 million bottles a year. Given that most equivalent champagne houses launched their prestige champagnes during the 50s and 60s, it is a bit surprising that they waited until 1979 before the giant in Reims stepped onto the prestige stage. The reason is said to be that the monegasque Polignac family for a long time was against this novelty, stating that the vintage wine was already perfect.
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DEUTZ ‘BRUT CLASSIC ROSÉ’ │AŸ │ DEUTZ │100PN │RJ 81(86) │TASTING NOTE ‘A new non-vintage rosé champagne with depth if as yet a rather too young Pinot character with 8% Aÿ Pinot for colour. Cherry and beetroot dominate over raspberry and strawberry up to now, but time will change all that and a warm vanilla-draped beauty is going to show itself in due course.’
2005 AGRAPART ‘BLANC DE BLANCS MINERAL’ │ AVIZE │ AGRAPART │100CH │RJ 92(94) │TASTING NOTE ‘Made from old vines at Cramant and Avize. Fantastically buttery and round. Especially so with regard to the comprehensive aroma. Love at first sight and more directly so than with Agrapart’s wines from 2002. Not as multi-facetted however but totally dependent upon its plumpness, intensity and charm. One of the bull’s eyes of the vintage.’