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the Juhlin tasting 2014 – the 100 best cuvée préstige champagnes of the world 24 juni 2014

Champagne expert Richard Juhlin hosted the greatest tasting of the Cuvée Prestige Champagnes ever arranged – ’The Juhlin Tasting 2014’. 2012 the theme was Blanc de Blancs & 2013 it was time for the world’s 100 best rosé champagnes. 50 of the best grower champagnes and the 50 absolute best houses were tasted blindly. The jury was set up by eight highly skilled members of the Champagne Club. Amongst them our champagne writer, champagne blogger, champagne lover  & sommelier Björnstierne Antonson.

Champagne Club

THE RICHARD JUHLIN TASTING LIBRARY  is the world’s largest independent member database of tasted and rated Champagnes. Richard Juhlin is continuously cataloging all sampled Champagnes in real time, which gives you a great treasure to explore! Nowadays, the database contains more than 8700 unique tasting notes.

Richard Juhlin are continually and promptly adding tasting notes, and other relevant facts, on all tasted Champagnes. Everything is included and can be methodically and efficiently searched for specific information, or just a quiet read, enjoy and be inspired by Juhlin texts.

Each ’tasting note’ contains information about a specific Champagne. From the producer and in which village the producer is located, vintage, when it is tested, the composition of grapes, which point Richard Juhlin has given the Champagne during the test, and the wine’s maximum potential future credit for optimum storage. Of course, also included Juhlins uniquely personal description of a wine.

To get access to the tasting notes of Richard Juhlin You need to be a member in Champagne Club.

WHY BECOME A MEMBER?

The primary purpose of the champagne club is to be a serious global source of freshly updated information about the world of champagne. A membership will give you unlimited access to the unique Richard Juhlin Tasting Library, functioning as your informational hub. Here you can read about, and search among, over 8 000 different champagnes, including Mr Juhlin´s tasting notes and the grades he has awarded each wine, both for current and potential character. On the same day that he has tasted a new champagne, you, as a member, can go in and read about the wine in question. If you have doubts when purchasing, or want to know how the bottles in your own wine cellar are progressing, you can stay au jour with notes on the development of thousands of champagnes over time.

Because Mr Juhlin deals with so much more than just sparkling wines, you will also get a chance to read about other wines, restaurants and gastronomic experiences that appeal to his nose and palette. Through the club you will also find it easier to take part in some of the tours that are organized, as well as have the chance to meet kindred spirits either on the Internet or at tastings and other events that are continually arranged.

 

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CUVÉE PRÉSTIGE CHAMPAGNE Prestige Champagnes are usually the firms most expensive wines and should be the essence of the very best the producers can perform. Prestige Champagnes is almost always the wines that each firm considers to be their ”top of the line”, but no law in the world can prevent them from package a simple standard Champagne in a showy bottle and then shout from the rooftops that this is the house’s crown jewel.

PARTICIPATING PRODUCERS Salon, Krug, Jacques Selosse, Veuve Clicquot, Louis Roederer, Pol Roger, Taittinger, Charles Heidsieck, Ruinart, Perrier-Jouët, Deutz, Dom Pérignon, Claude Cazals, Charles Heidsieck, Piper-Heidsieck, R & L Legras, Bollinger, Laurent-Perrier, Henriot, Pommery, Léclapart, Pierre Peters, de Sousa, Diebolt-Vallois, Deutz, Perrier-Jouët, Guy Charlemagne, Philipponnat, Vilmart, Mumm, Agrapart, Billecart-Salmon, Gosset, Jacquesson & Fils, Joseph Perrier, Duval-Leroy. Gimmonet, Egly-Ouriet, Henri Giraud, Philippe Gonet, Lanson, Bonnaire, J-L Vergnon, Alfred Gratien, R.H. Coutier, Cattier, Paul Bara, de Venoge, Palmer, Dampierre, Michel Genet, Gonet-Medeville, Gosset-Brabant, Lasalle, Tarlant, Drappier, Veuve Fourny, Roger Brun, Henri Abelé, Leclerc-Briant, Mailly, H. Billot, Georges Vessellse, Marguet, Dehours, Paul Déthune, Lamiable, Pascal Doquet, Bourdaire-Gallois, Michel, Gonet, Legras & Haas, Michel Arnould, Chartogne-Taillet, Canard-Duchêne, José Michel, Colin, Ayala, Charles Ellner, Thienot, Ployez-Jacquemart, Michel Turgy, Mandois, Boizel, Roger Coulon, Beaumont de Crayeres, Lenoble, Jacquart, Goutorbe, Launois, Tornay, Loriot, Maillart, André Clouet, Coessens, Nicolas Feuilatte, Roland Champion, Telmont, Nominée-Renard, Gimmonet, Hebrart, Gaston Chicquet, Esterlin, Paul Bara, Bruno Paillard, Jean Milan

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TOPP-TIO by RICHARD JUHLIN

  1. Salon – 2002 Cuvée ‘S’ de Salon  (95) 97
  2. Louis Roederer – 2006 Cristal (95) 96,5
  3. Dom Pérignon – 2004 Cuvée Dom Pérignon (95)96,5
  4. Taittinger – 2005 Comtes de Champagne (95)96,5
  5. Jacques Selosse – mv Substance (96)96
  6. Krug – mv Grande Cuvée (94)95,5
  7. Pol Roger – 2000 Cuvée Sir winston Churchill (94)95,5
  8. Veuve Clicquot – 2004 La Grande Dame (93,5)95
  9. Perrier-Jouët – 2002 Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs (93) 95
  10. Piper-Heidsieck – 2002 Rare (93)95

TOP-TIO by THE JURY

  1. Salon – 2002 Cuvée ‘S’ de Salon – 96,285
  2. Krug – mv Grande Cuvée – 96,071
  3. Jacques Selosse –  mv Substance – 96,000
  4. Veuve Clicquot – 2004 La Grande Dame – 95,571
  5. Louis Roederer – 2006 Cristal – 95,285
  6. Pol Roger – 2000 Cuvée Sir winston Churchill – 95,214
  7. Taittinger – 2005 Comtes de Champagne – 95,142
  8. Charles Heidsieck – 1995 Blanc de Millénaires – 95,000
  9. Ruinart – 2002 Dom Ruinart – 94,714
  10. Perrier-Jouët – 2002 Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs – 93,857

 

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 1 – Krug 24 april 2014

We converged at CDG Terminal 1 in Paris level Arrivée porte 34 indoors. Richard Juhlin and our bus driver met and welcomed us there on the spot.

We started with the best and arrived in the world´s most famous vineyard, Krug Clos du Mesnil. The Krug´s treated us in an unforgettable way with a tasting of the latest vintage of the best champagne in the world.

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Champagne tasted @ Clos du Mesnil

2000 Krug ’Clos du Mesnil’ │100CH TASTINIG NOTEPrerelease!  Not at all a Clos du Mesnil stylistically in the early stages. Very charming and alluring tropical passion fruit, lollies and sugary soft tones, but the spring of 2012 it had been transformed into classical incomparable beauty from my favorite winery in the world. The elegance is amazing and brilliant. The buttery, slightly fudge scented Montrachet layer dances beautifully with stunning citrus acidity and a thousand tiny bright sounds from paradise.’ RJ 97(98)

After that we had a splendid lunch in the company of Olivier Krug himself followed by visit in the cellars.

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RJ ON KRUG For me, Krug is more than a Champagne. It is a word that stands for artistry, tradition, craftsmanship, and moments of pure pleasure. The Krug family has used the same methods since the house was founded in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug from Mainz.

It is hardly likely that the Krug philosophy will be abandoned in the foreseeable future, since it has brought so much success. Put simply, that philosophy means that all the wines are fermented cru by cru in well-aged 205-liter barrels from the Argonne and central-east France. The wines are seldom filtered: they undergo just two rackings, by gravity, from cask to cask. Nor do they induce a malolactic fermentation, which is one of the reasons for Krug’s fantastic aging potential. None of the wines is disgorged before it is six years old, and the reserve wines are stored in stainless-steel tanks from the Swedish company Alfa Laval.

The firm’s least costly wine, Grande Cuvée, is made from 118 wines from ten different vintages. Naturally the raw materials are also of the very highest class. Twenty hectares in Aÿ, Ambonnay, Le Mesnil, and Trépail are owned by the house, but above all it is the network of prestigious contracts with some of the region’s best growers that answers for the quality, as the growers consider it an honor to supply Krug with grapes.

Johann-Joseph Krug, the founder, learned his Champagne craft at Jacquesson and, when he regarded himself as qualified after nine years there, he set off to Reims to start his own house. After Joseph’s death his son Paul took over and built the powerful Krug dynasty, followed as he was by Joseph Krug II in 1910 and Joseph’s nephew, Jean Seydoux, in 1924. It was he, together with Paul Krug II, who created the famous cuvées, and it was only in 1962 that the legendary Henri Krug took over.

Today the wines are made by Eric Lebel and Olivier Krug is the president. They work undisturbed and independently, despite the fact that the firm is owned by LVMH. All Krug’s wines are small masterworks, and although Grande Cuvée may be lighter and fresher than its predecessor, Private Cuvée, after a few extra years in the cellar it outshines the competitors’ vintage Champagnes.

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CLOS du MESNIL Unfortunately I have to note a small question mark for the latest blend. Clos du Mesnil is a charmer that combines the best Blanc de Blancs while simultaneously distinguishing the wine with the house’s own distinct style. For me, Krug Clos du Mesnil is he best wine in the world! The Clos d´Ambonnay is a shockingly expensive rarity that has only just been launched. The most costly young champagne in the world is worth 3,000 euros per bottle which does not seem to frighten away Krug fans since all 3,000 bottles are already booked up. The wine itself is fantastic most especially since it is clearly a brother belonging to the same sibling group in the Krug family. This wine is much more the breath of Krug than of Ambonnay, just as the Clos du Mesnil is in its own niche. It feels as though all Krug wines receive a last tiny squirt of Krug perfume that distinguishes them from everything else wherever their origins. It matters not if others copy the methods with old, small oak barrels, no malolactic fermentation, aging for 12 years and other technicalities. It is still impossible for them to copy Krug.

CLOS d’AMBONNAY I think that the Clos d’Ambonnay is very reminiscent of the ordinary vintage and is astonishingly enough only marginally more full-bodied than the latter. A blanc de noirs with fantastic finesse far beyond all ungainliness. Its freshness and phenomenally long aftertaste are however the most striking things about this magnificent wine. The bouquet is richly creamy with a hint of hazelnuts and brioche along with papaya preserves and mango. The flavour balances between fairytale mellowness and a freshness that is similar to a 96. A new world-class wine has been born.

The vintage Krug is now in competition with the Clos wines, but if we go backward in time, this is without doubt the best champagne of them all. The 1996 is pure magic and the 82 Collection is super. If the opportunity arises, never miss the chance to drink a Krug! Vintage Krug competes with today’s Clos du Mesnil, but if we go backward in time, it is without doubt the best Champagne. The 1990 is pure magic. If the opportunity arises, never miss the chance to drink a Krug!

 

Champagnes tasted @ 5 rue Coquebert – Reims

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2000 Krug ’Millésime’│43PN 15PM 42CHTASTINIG NOTE ’Prerelease! A very young and delicate wine that will require long time before you ease the cork. In the current situation extremely mineral-driven and sea-splashed. Iodin, iodine, oyster shells, and small nice bredy tone in the fragrance. Crispy clean and beautiful balanced flavor. Impressive acidity and lvely elegance.’  RJ 95(96)

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2003 Krug ’Millésime’ 43PN 15PM 42CH│TASTING NOTE ’A much fresher and more well made wine than Bollinger this year for example. A little dull, but noticeably large nose with dark brush strokes. When it opens up it  feels like  the vintage is a bit heavy & clumsy. Otherwise, the wine is again an unmistakable Krug with a structure and building as more than a little reminiscent of the heroic ’76.’ RJ 92(95)

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Krug ’Grande Cuvée I.D. 211021’ (03 base) 50PN 15PM 35PM│TASTING NOTE Krug’s nonvintage wine costs about $150. They themselves would rather call it a “multi-vintage.” Strangely enough, this exceptional wine is one of the Champagnes I’ve drunk on the greatest number of occasions—more than 200 times, in fact. Almost every time, some new element is revealed. Because it’s been blended from ten different vintages and forty-seven different wines from twenty-five crus, variation is understandable. However, I have only missed spotting it on one occasion at a blind tasting, proving that its basic character is unique. The extremely tough acidity, together with the heavy, rich Krug aromas, are the foremost clues. Always check how straight the cork is in order to decipher when it was disgorged. When young, the acidity can be too hard. When middle aged and older, the Grand Cuvée has a fabulously complex nose and palate, dominated by nuts and honey. The aftertaste is always long and majestic, like a great symphony. The best bottles deserve even higher points than I’ve given here. Little bit less impressive lately. I thought it was just bad luck, but it seams like the wine has lost a bit of magic. I am crying!’  RJ 92(94)

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Krug ’Rosé’ (06 base) 55PN 20PM 25CH│TASTING NOTE Krug Rosé is a relatively new invention of the Krug brothers. Their goal was to make a wine with proper style house where the color would be only indication that there had been a rosé. The color is very pale salmon pink, the scent is definitely Krug! Their unmistakable symphony of heavy complex aromas are here backed by a sprinkle of raspberries. The taste is extremely tight and acidic, but less generous than Grande Cuvée and definitely a storage wine. Some times a little too oaky. Last cuvée the least agreeable so far, unfortunately.’ RJ 92(95)

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Krug ’Grande Cuvée I.D. 312036’ (05 base) 50PN 15PM 35PMRJ 92(94)

15 champagne lovers | 6 champagnes | 2 vintages | 90 glasses | 3 dishes

Leaving Krug with great memories and smiling faces in the bus… for check-in at the magnificent hotel in Reims L’Assiette Champenoise. 

 

Mature Veuve Clicquot – the tasting in sthlm 27 mars 2014

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.

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Krug celebration – Krug Grande Cuvée Recreation 19 mars 2014

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.

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Eric Lebel, winemaker & Esa-Pekka Salonen, Principal Conductor