Delectable aromas waft through the air, along with laughter and the sound of glasses clinking for a toast. You’re invited to the party. Featuring amazing, majestic flavours. Food prepared with both skill and passion.
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)
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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The bus took us to Reims again. Some free time at the hotel was nice and som ewanted to be guided around the Cathedral and wine shops by Richard. For the evening we met up Hôtel du Marc for a Winemakers dinner at the wonderful private house of Madame Clicquot especially for our little group.
RJ on VEUVE CLIQUOT In Sweden, no Champagne is as well known as the “Gula Änkan,” the Yellow Widow. The house was founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot. His son, François, married Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin, who took over the company at the age of twenty-seven when she found herself a widow. By her side was Comte Edouard Werlé and the firm’s chef de caves, Antoine Müller. Together with Müller she developed “remuage” using “pupitres.” One Heinrich Bohne then helped to take the Russian market by storm. Throughout the nineteenth century and right up to the 1970s, Clicquot was reckoned as one of the top four or five Champagne companies, a position they still are very close to obtain. At first the company merged with Canard-Duchêne, but today it is a part of the powerful Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) group. The 284 hectares owned by Clicquot in twenty-two villages are enough for around three of the almost 18 million bottles produced each year. The most important crus for La Grande Dame and the vintage wine are Ambonnay, Bouzy, Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil, Oger, and Verzenay. Since 1962 modern vinification techniques and stainless-steel tanks have been used. If you find old, well-kept vintages they’ll be very like Bollinger and Krug. Despite the factory scale, the house has managed to keep its Pinot-based classic style, where dough, bread, and pepper are clear elements. Jacques Peters, who is brother to François Peters in Le Mesnil and an equally gifted winemaker, should get the credit for Clicquot’s quality today. The talented new winemaker Dominique Demarville follows smothly in the same tracks. The rich and honeyed La Grande Dame is a wonderful champagne, but the powerfull and nutty vintage wine often gives best value for money. Cave Privée is probably the best bargain on the market. A classic house that is one of the greatest!
The theme for the dinner was 2004. | RJ ON 2004 *** | A mild spring followed by a summer with unstable weather. Fortunately, the first weeks of September were hot and sunny and created good prospects for the harvest. In my opinion, the wines have a good structure with a rather floral bouquet but with a bit rough, stony mineral profile. The charm is missing, and it needs a fairly long storage before the cavities are filled in. Promising favorites that have reached the market include prestige champagnes from Thierry Perrion, Diebolt- Vallois, David Léclapart, and of course Jacques Selosse. Among the big elephants that are launched, I choose Mumm de Cramant, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, Dom Pérignon, and Louis Roederer Cristal.
But we started out on the beautiful terrace with a wonederful glass of rosé | nv VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘ROSÉ’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 50PN 20PM 30CH | RJpoints 84(88)
TASTING NOTE A new rose wine from the old lady made in a modern, somewhat lighter style. A tribute to the added red wine is really feels well integrated and all blue notes are conspicuous by their absence. However, I lack Clicquot customary bready richness in this fairly light creation. Cyril Brun’s latest mint toffee scented titbit is astoundingly great!
2004 VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘RICH RÉSERVE’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 59PN 8PM 33CH | RJpoints 82(85)
TASTING NOTE Nice together with foie gras, but the sugar is otherwise mostly in the way in this issue where the wine’s body is a little too round to completely fit in a sweet costume.
2004 VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘MILLÉSIME’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 62PN 8PM 30CH | RJpoints 88(91)
TASTING NOTE Embarking very promising but gets ‘dark’ to quickly in the glass, indicating that it should be enjoyed sooner than many of the greatest wines from the house. Bright and toasty in magnum.
2004 VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘ROSÉ’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 71PN 9PM 20CH | RJpoints 87(92)
TASTING NOTE Extremely charming from start. Lots of beautiful berry tones however, also stylish animal touch from the start. Unprecedented charm and the balance from the start with stylish features of summer romance.
nv VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘DEMI-SEC’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 56PN 16PM 28CH | RJpoints 52(67)
TASTING NOTE Precisely as with Roederer, Clicquot has even more bottle maturity in its sweetest wine before sale. A trouser-opener, as the Germans say. Honey, strawberry and toffee, but sickly sweet after a while. A good way to introduce someone to champagne.
AFTER-DINNER BOTTLES SERVED BLIND IN THE BAR | 1952 VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘EXTRA RARE VINTAGE’ magnum | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 67PN 33CH | RJpoints 98(98)
TASTING NOTE Absolutely outstandingly good! One of all these carzy magnums that Cyril and Dominique serves me and my VIPgroups instead of coffee at the Hôtel du Marc. Now it was a long time ago I tried the incredible ’55, but we’re on the same level of quality. The scent is more animal and reminds of the truffle-oozing ’61, but the taste is ultra sleek, smooth, toffee and multilayered as a novel by Shakespeare! The best Champagne of the trip?!
1996 VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘LA GRANDE DAME’ | Reims | Champagne | France | Veuve Clicquot | 64PN 36CH | RJpoints 94(96)
TASTING NOTE A surprisingly tranquil, high-octane, elegant La Grande Dame that will probably develop into one of the greatest vintages of this wine ever made. The balance is extraordinary and the wine has a silky appearance, devoid of both sharp edges and an exaggeratedly chocolaty, muscular body. Hints of hazelnut and white chocolate are present, but for the moment handsome fruit and fine mineral notes from Oger and Le Mesnil dominate. A uniquely long aftertaste that should convince doubters that something big is happening here.
|15 champagne lovers | 8 champagnes | 3 vintages | 120 glasses | 4 dishes|
The day after we visited the cellars of Veuve Clicquot (the name Ponsardin has been retired). Cyril Brun set up a Vin Clairs tasting for us:
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs pinot meunier Villedomagne||2013||btl||100PM|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs pinot noir Verzy||2013||btl||100PN|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs chardonnay Vertus||2013||btl||100CH|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs chardonnay Cramant||2012||btl||100CH|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs pinot noir Verzy||2012||btl||100PN|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs pinot noir Verzenay||2008||btl||100PN|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs chardonnay Villiers-Marmery||2008||btl||100CH|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs Bouzy Rouge||2013||btl||100PN|
|Veuve Clicquot||Vins Clairs Final Blend||2013||btl|
|Veuve Clicquot||La Grande Dame||2004||btl||64PN36CH||RJ 94(96)|
|15 champagne lovers | 1 champagne | 9 vins clairs | 4 vintages | 150 glasses|
The bus left from Hotel L’Assiette Champenoise for Champagne Diebolt-Vallois @ 84 rue Neuve in Cramant. A huge tasting of Fleur de Passion and vintages down to 1953 Vinothèque conducted by Jacques Diebolt himself.
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.
2008 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 92(96)
TASTING NOTE Pre-release-tasting. Despite its extreme youth a great wine today full of beautiful pear-dominated fruit and delightful oak-oriented Montrachet tones.
2007 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 92(96)
TASTING NOTE Pre-release-tasting. Pre-release-tasting. Slightly more rustic and today it feels more oaky than normal at this stage. Here are some nice acidity and one for the vintage impressive richness of extract, but the balance is not what would be expected.
2006 DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘FLEUR de PASSION’ | magnum | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 90(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.
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.
One of our members catched the cork with …. This bottles was disgorged à la Volée. But as You can see it went wrong …
1961 DIEBOLT- VALLOIS ‘VINOTHÈQUE’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 97(97)
TASTING NOTE I’ve been present several times when a producer has opened a new bottle of the same vintage because he wasn’t satisfied with the first. Jacques, on the other hand, is the only one I know who opens a new bottle in order to show how bad the wine can be! At its best the ’61 has a fantastic, almost Pinot-like nose of truffles, decaying autumn leaves, barrels, and boiled vegetables, while the other he opened was more like mushroom soup. The structure was impressive in both, however.
1953 DIEBOLT- VALLOIS ‘VINOTHÈQUE’ | Cramant | Champagne | France | 100CH | RJ 96(96)
TASTING NOTE This bottles was disgorged à la Volée. One of the best Champagnes I have tasted. Drunk newly disgorged, undosed, in Diebolt’s cellar. The wine was made in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation. The color was brilliantly, beautifully golden. The bubbles continued to wind their way up the glass two hours after the wine was poured. The nose was given the maximum numbers of points! The entire wine was like a grand symphony by Sibelius—full of sadness, joy, nature, and romance. The freshness and playful ease, combined with the wine’s length, were exceptional, but the nose’s complexity was probably the most impressive part of the Champagne: coffee, treacle, bergamot oil, brioche, walnuts, limes, and passion fruit were the clearest aromas. A disappointment at the Millennium Tasting. Large bottle variation.
|15 champagne lovers | 10 champagnes | 10 vintages | 150 glasses|
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.