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Visit @ Charles Heidsieck – Reims 10 juni 2014

Me (Björnstierne) and my sommelier college ’TheWineBurglar’ flew down to Reims and meet up with the team from Champagne Charles Heidsieck, old time favorites. We we’re treated royaly with a grand vertical of their splendid Champagnes. The tasting was held by the humble and enthusiastic Chef de caves Thierry Roset.

2000 Charles Heidsieck ’Millésime’ won the title ’Best Champagne in the World’ in September 2013 amongst 1000 tasted Champagnes for Fine Champagne Magazine. Charles Heidsieck ’Brut Réserve’ got the title ’Best non-vintage’ in the same publication 2014. 1995 Charles Heidsieck ’Blanc de Millenaire’ won the  International Trophy in DWWA’13 – Decanter World Wine Awards.

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2000 Charles Heidsieck ’Millésime’ | Reims | Champagne | France | price €65 | 60PN 40CH | TASTING NOTE  Enormously voluptuous and classical. Gorgeously nutty, with creamy Chardonnay character and sunnily replete with orange. Yet another fantastic Heidsieck. BJ 90(92) 

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1995 Charles Heidsieck ’Blanc de Millenaires’  | Reims | Champagne | France | price €150 | 100CH | TASTING NOTE  Heidsieck’s new cuvée de prestige is a constant winner at blind tastings all over the world. I’m less impressed by the deep yellow drink with its fine but rather miserly classical nose and buttery Chardonnay flavor. So silky-smooth and with such intensive nut toffee! The toastiness is there, but lying swimming in an oily nectar which prevents it from really making its way forward as it does in many other vintages. Pretty mousse and uplifting charm. BJ 95(95) 

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1990 Charles Heidsieck ’Blanc de Millenaires Vinothèque’  | Reims | Champagne | France | price unknown | 100CH | TASTING NOTE  The foremost vintage so far of this acclaimed prestige Champagne. The scent is clear as a bell with Grand Siècle’s beautiful note of sun-dried, newly laundered sheets, along with more than a dash of famous coffee-roasting house. Clean, focused, lemony-fresh, and sporty taste. A Ferrari of the wine world! BJ 95(96)  

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1985 Charles Heidsieck ’Blanc de Millenaires Vinothèque’  | Reims | Champagne | France | price unknown | 100CH | TASTING NOTE  I must admit that I did not expect this from the beginning a bit over-polished ingratiating wine could reach such amazing heights. Absolutely incredibly tasty giving a languorous euphoria-creating need to flood oneself by drinking this wine in big gulps. BJ 97(97)  

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1985 Charles Heidsieck ’Millésime Vinothèque’  | Reims | Champagne | France | price €200 | 70PN 30CH | TASTING NOTE  A trifle more austere perhaps, but instead somewhat more elegant than the normally disgorged wine. Just as delicious. BJ 92(93)  

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1985 Charles Heidsieck ’Champagne Charlie Vinothèque’ | Reims | Champagne | France | price €250 | 70PN 30CH | TASTING NOTE  Actually very different from the usual Charlie! Perhaps a little less complex but here you will find the unexpected super availability as some 85s suddenly shows. It feels like a vanilla scented candy bag in the style of the gorgeous William Deutz with short aftertaste á la Heidsieck. Extremely volatile plenty! Nowadays one of the most perfectly roasted sshoolbookschampagnes the house has made. BJ 98(98)  

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1983 Charles Heidsieck ’Champagne Charlie Vinothèque’ | Reims | Champagne | France | price €350 | 70PN 30CH | TASTING NOTE  What a fantastic bouquet! Super-elegant, flowery undertone of the finest Chardonnay. Those tones, however, must be content to play second fiddle, because the Dom Pérignon-like coffee-roasting house aroma is so extremely pronounced. This is, for sure, a conscious house-style, and one would have to look far and wide to find something stronger than here in the company’s ’83s. The flavor is slightly smoky, lemony-fresh, and peppery in the finish. One of the vintage’s most distinguished Champagnes. BJ 95(96)  

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1983 Charles Heidsieck ’Millésime Vinothèque’ Reims | Champagne | France | price €290 | 50PN 50CH | TASTING NOTE Newly disgorged direct from the house’s beautiful cellar collection. Fantastically, smokily toasted, grilled and nutty! The fruitiness is not the very best but the mousse trifles prettily with the tongue and the taste explosion of gunpowder smoke on the tongue is sensational. BJ 93(93)  

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1983 Charles Heidsieck ’Blanc de Millenaires Vinothèque’  Reims | Champagne | France | price €300 | 100CH | TASTING NOTE Newly disgorged direct from the house’s beautiful cellar collection. These Oenothèque wines are truly delightful. What vigour and freshness along with the depth and the tones of maturity that are gradually revealed. Exquisitely delicious! This wine is still rather too light and perhaps a trifle too polished, but wonderfully fine and delicious with its sophisticated style. BJ 94(94)  

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1981 Charles Heidsieck ’Blanc de Millenaires Vinothèque’  Reims | Champagne | France | price €300 | 100CH | TASTING NOTE Straw color, sparklingly lively, characteristic vintage-typical hawthorn nose, and slightly unpolished taste. For the moment, completely wonderful, with a nose of mint toffee, mango, vanilla, sweet butter toffee, and acacia honey. Butterscotchy and elegant, with fine fatness and beautiful freshness. Fantastic development. BJ 93(93)  

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1981 Charles Heidsieck ’Champagne Charlie Vinothèque’  Reims | Champagne | France | price €300 | 50PN 50CH | TASTING NOTE The name Champagne Charlie didn’t go down so well in the English-speaking world, so Charles Heidsieck decided to discontinue this lovely Champagne. Juicy, exotic, and well-balanced, with a good grip and long aftertaste of mango. There is still a little more to be won from this sleek wine. Acacia tones skillfully interwoven with deep cellar tones, mineral and toast enchant me at any rate. BJ 96(97)  

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1979 Charles Heidsieck ’Champagne Charlie Vinothèque’  Reims | Champagne | France | price €400 | 50PN 5PM 45CH | TASTING NOTE Newly disgorged direct from the house’s beautiful cellar collection. A very youthful twenty-two-year-old that isn’t at all as expressive as its normally disgorged twin. Intensely sparkling, brilliant young color. Vegetal freshness mixed with fishy notes. A lively wine with good structure and a short aftertaste. Only 1,500 bottles are sold under this label. BJ 93(94)  

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1975 Charles Heidsieck ’Le Royale Vinothèque’  Reims | Champagne | France | price €500 | 50PN 5PM 45CH | TASTING NOTE Light and fine in colour. Not at all oxidative as so many wines from the 70s are. Slenderly built and yet solid in a slightly chilly way. Apart from the lack of length in the aftertaste that is typical of the house, this is a phenomenal wine. Profoundly, beautifully golden, vivacious, creamy, and yes, almost as sluggish as acacia honey, and yet delightfully elegant and refreshing with a purity and a seductive aroma that carries one’s thoughts to orange blossomBJ 96(96)  

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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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