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champagne spring trip – day 3 – Dom Pérignon 6 maj 2014

Bus left for l’Abbaye d´Hautvillers. We stoped at Champagne Dom Pérignon in Hautvillers and together with the world´s most famous winemaker Richard Geoffroy we tasted several vintages of regular Dom Pérignon and the rare black labeled Dom Pérignon Oenothèque. (mer…)

champagne spring trip – day 3 – Deutz 6 maj 2014

We were specially invited to a timeless and luxurious Lunch at Deutz with amazing Vinothèque-wines. As one of the greatest high spots of the journey we would taste one of the very few remaining magnums of Deutz Blanc de Noirs d´Aÿ Vinothèque. One of the best and most famous champagnes in the world with an auction price of 14 000 euros.

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RJ ON DEUTZ In 1838 two Germans, William Deutz and Pierre Glederman, founded this distinguished firm in Aÿ. Deutz was hit hard during the Champagne Uprising of 1911. The house was long run by André Lallier, who has made large investments in other wine districts. Notable among these properties are Delas in the Rhône Valley, Maison Deutz in California, as well as another site producing sparkling wine in the Loire Valley. In 1993, Louis Roederer gained a majority stockholding in Deutz.

Nowadays the firm is ably run by the very likeable Fabrice Rosset. Winemaker is Michel Davesne. Seventy-five percent of the grapes are bought from grand cru and premier cru villages. Deutz themselves own land in five villages. The property is among the most beautiful in Champagne, and even the wines are very distinguished.

The style is laid-back, elegant, and sophisticated, with a medium body, crystal-clear fruit, and an exemplary mousse. All the wines are good, but the Cuvée William Deutz Rosé is something special. Their Vinothèque wines and the white William are also world class wines. Recently Deutz launched Amour de Deutz, a new ultra-sophisticated prestige Champagne. It has sold like hot cakes since Madonna took a liking to it—they say that there is always a chilled bottle ready wherever she goes.The 2002 is pure essence.

One of my absolute favourite houses.In 1838 two Germans, William Deutz and Pierre Glederman, founded this distinguished firm in Aÿ. Deutz was hit hard during the Champagne Uprising of 1911. The house was long run by André Lallier, who has made large investments in other wine districts. Notable among these properties are Delas in the Rhône Valley, Maison Deutz in California, as well as another site producing sparkling wine in the Loire Valley. In 1993, Louis Roederer gained a majority stockholding in Deutz.

Nowadays the firm is ably run by the very likeable Fabrice Rosset. Winemaker is Michel Davesne. Seventy-five percent of the grapes are bought from grand cru and premier cru villages. Deutz themselves own land in five villages. The property is among the most beautiful in Champagne, and even the wines are very distinguished. The style is laid-back, elegant, and sophisticated, with a medium body, crystal-clear fruit, and an exemplary mousse. All the wines are good, but the Cuvée William Deutz Rosé is something special. Their Vinothèque wines and the white William are also world class wines. Recently Deutz launched Amour de Deutz, a new ultra-sophisticated prestige Champagne. It has sold like hot cakes since Madonna took a liking to it—they say that there is always a chilled bottle ready wherever she goes.The 2002 is pure essence. One of my absolute favourite houses.

Deutz lunch-line-up

Lunch @ 16 rue Jeanson – Aÿ

Deutz Bdb08

2008 DEUTZ ’BLANC de BLANCS’ | Aÿ | Champagne | France | Deutz | 100CH | RJpoints 90(94)

TASTING NOTE From the start, extremely voluptuous, round and generous. Here are all the cute yellow-white dessert assiocitionS. Creamy sweet, meringue-like and light citrus exotic. Perhaps a bit too rich and ripe, but I think above all hope that the acid is sufficient for further development. 

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2005 DEUTZ ’AMOUR de DEUTZ’  | Aÿ | Champagne | France | Deutz | 100CH | RJpoints 90(93)

TASTING NOTE The wine lives on a lovely generosity and also wonderfully delicious easy drinkability. A highly appreciated and popular wine. As usual, I grumble some about the lack of airiness between the various components of the dense 2005.vintage wines Brie de Meaux tone in the fragrance in some bottles.

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2000 DEUTZ ’CUVÉE WILLIAM  DEUTZ VINOTHÈQUE’ | Aÿ | Champagne | France | Deutz | 55PN 10PM 35CH | RJpoints 91(94)

TASTING NOTE I’m not quite a grip on how some wines from the hills surrounding Aÿ has become extra powerful, dark and concentrated monumental one usually fairly easy and tutti frutti scented soft year. Clos des Goisses and even clearer in this wine ,illustrates what I mean. Wonderful! Unfortunately, some oxidation tons the last times.

1975 DEUTZ 'BdN VINOTHÈQUE'

1975 DEUTZ ’BLANC DE NOIRS d’AŸ VINOTHÈQUE’ | Aÿ | Champagne | France | Deutz | 100PN | RJpoints 99(99)

TASTING NOTE This wine that was too good to be sold and that is only intended for internal use has been made available for me to taste thanks to the generosity of Fabrice Rosset. The recently disgorged magnum is at its best after decanting and is surprisingly light in colour. Fairly soon the most beautiful Pinot aromas start to bombard one’s nose. Distinct layers of satiny-smooth strawberry essence, leather, liquorice, roasted nuts and gunpowder smoke make their appearance with accelerating strength. A masterly wine to follow for many decades in the future.

Deutz Rosé08

2008 DEUTZ ’ROSÉ ’ | Aÿ | Champagne | France | Deutz | 100PN | RJpoints 89(93)

TASTING NOTE The flowing rich vintage! What balance! What a prodigious Burgundy-like strawberry aroma and wonderfully generous softness!

 

15 champagne lovers | 5 champagne | 4 vintages | 75 glasses | 3 dishes

champagne spring trip – day 2 – Veuve Clicquot 4 maj 2014

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.

Veuve Clicquot Cellar

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!

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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.

Veuve Rosé on the terrace

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!

Veuve Hotel du Marc

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.

Veuve Demi-Sec Carafé

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.

Extra Rare Vintage '52

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?!

Veuve Hotel du Marc the bar-h_PQYT3ywFPAbt4EW8

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

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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 ClicquotVins Clairs pinot meunier Villedomagne2013btl100PM
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs pinot noir Verzy2013btl100PN
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs chardonnay Vertus2013btl100CH
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs chardonnay Cramant2012btl100CH
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs pinot noir Verzy2012btl100PN
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs pinot noir Verzenay2008btl100PN
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs chardonnay Villiers-Marmery2008btl100CH
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs Bouzy Rouge2013btl100PN
Veuve ClicquotVins Clairs Final Blend2013btl
Veuve ClicquotLa Grande Dame2004btl64PN36CHRJ 94(96)
15 champagne lovers | 1 champagne | 9 vins clairs | 4 vintages | 150 glasses

champagne spring trip – day 2 – Diebolt-Vallois 29 april 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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One of our members catched the cork with …. This bottles was disgorged à la Volée. But as You can see it went wrong … 

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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.

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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

 

champagne spring trip – day 1 – Louis Roederer 28 april 2014

Late afternoon we checked-in at the magnificent hotel in Reims L’Assiette Champenoise (Now 3 stars in Guide Michelin). Round 6p.m. the bus left for unbeatable Champagne Louis Roederer. first we had  a visit at the cellars at 74, rue de Savoye followed by a splendid world unique Cristal vinothèque dinner served at the Golden room in Louis Roederer private mansion with the winemaker, the charming  Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon. (mer…)

champagne spring trip – day 3 – Château Saran 4 april 2014

At 6 pm we had a grand welcoming at the most splendid mansion in Champagne, Château Saran and check-in for all in the group. Apéritif followed by Dom Pérignon dinner and last night champagne party.

DP Oenothèque96

1996 DOM PÉRIGNON ’DP OENOTHÈQUE ’ magnum | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 50PN 50CH | RJpoints 95(97)

TASTING NOTE Has won yet to be in contact with the lees even longer. A further shift in this masterpiece. Put the magnums away magnum and drink from 2025. IN bottle it’s already sweet with a strong seafood elements, classical toasty, nutty richness backed by a senseless acid and length.

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1990 DOM PÉRIGNON ’DP OENOTHÈQUE’ magnum | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 42PN 58CH | RJpoints 94(96)

TASTING NOTE Richard Geoffroy’s first vintage. During a big Gala night full of celebrities in London in 2004, several bottles exhibited problems with their corks and a mineral-laden introversion that few of us had expected. The finer specimens had an exciting nose – sea water, oyster shell, minerals, and spices. The taste was dry, anorectic, and clear as a bell, but will become seductive again in its next phase of life. 

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1990 DOM PÉRIGNON ’DP ROSÉ OENOTHÈQUE’ magnum | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 50PN 50CH | RJpoints 95(96)

TASTING NOTE Richard Geoffroy’s first vintage. Incredibly stylish and a marvel of yummy richness wrapped in velvet. Deep Burgundian, and an almost religious experience on magnum of Château Saran.

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1976 DOM PÉRIGNON ’DP OENOTHÈQUE’ | Epernay | Champagne | France | Dom Pérignon | 50PN 50CH | RJpoints 97(98)

TASTING NOTE Fabulously chewy and powerful with an indestructible power and a layered richness. Multifaceted nose with an elusive, almost flowery undertone and beautifully nutty, toasted, and honeysuckle elements. An embracing richness is combined with a fleshy, soft sensation in the mouth. The twist exudes ruby grapefruit and coffee-flavored candy. In April 2014 some signe of decline in 5 bottles opened. A phase or slow way down the hill?

 

15 champagne lovers | 11 champagnes | 8 vintages | 165 glasses | 3 dishes