By Bob Lipinski
Champagne is a region in France about 90 miles northeast of Paris. Sparkling wines made there using the méthode champenoise (champagne-method) are called “Champagne.” Sparkling wines made in other regions of France regardless of how good they are cannot be called champagne; they are known as crémant and vin mousseux (sparkling wine).
I attended a Wine Media Guild seminar/tasting of French Champagne (prestige cuvées) in December and here are my comments.
NV G.H. Mumm “Blanc de Blancs.” Hints of celery, bread dough and brioche. Crisp and clean.
NV Valentin Leflaive “Blanc de Blancs (extra brut).” Very dry with nuances of green apple, lime, violets, and toasted bread.
2006 Collet “Collecion Privée.” Hints of toasted bread, biscuits; full-flavored and delicious.
2000 Boizel “Joyau de France.” Fruity with flavors of peach, and hazelnut; good finish.
2012 Perrier-Jouët “Belle Epoque.” Pear and green apple along with a nutty aftertaste.
2009 Alfred Gratien “Cuvée Paradis.” Hints of cider, red apple, and baked bread. Well-balanced.
NV Delamotte “Blanc de Blancs.” Light and crisp with citrus and chamomile flavors. Aftertaste of pears.
2006 Piper-Heidsieck “Rare.” Green apple, citrus and nuts. Lingering aftertaste.
2005 Henriot “Cuvée Hemera.” Darker color with overtones of brioche, pear and apple tart.
2003 Palmer & Co. “Brut” (served in magnum). Granny Smith apple, citrus, curry, and full of flavor.
2007 Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne.” Crisp, clean tasting with considerable bubble; plenty of fruit.
2004 Dom Ruinart (served in magnum) “Blanc de Blancs.” Elegant with full Chardonnay flavor; crisp, with a lasting finish.
2006 Moët & Chandon “Dom Pérignon Rosé.” Delicate and floral bouquet with overtones of black currants; persistent finish.
NV Laurent-Perrier “Grand Siècle.” Honeyed, nutty aromas with hints of almonds and freshly baked brioche.
2004 Charles Heidsieck “Blanc de Millènaires.” Very dry; lively with citrus and brioche. Creamy aftertaste.
2006 Pol Roger “Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.” Overtones of citrus, toasted brioche, pear, and licorice.
2008 Louis Roederer “Cristal.” Citrusy bouquet with overtones of waffles, red apple, and pears.
2008 Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame.” Crisp, medium-bodied, elegant, floral and honeyed bouquet.
2008 Bollinger “Grande Année.” Apple tart, brioche, butter, and nutty overtones. Long aftertaste.
NV Krug “Grande Cuvée 168th edition.” Toasted bread, full-bodied, ginger, spices, and a long and pleasing aftertaste.
“I could not live without Champagne. In victory I deserve it, in defeat, I need it.” (Sir Winston Churchill, 1874–1965, Prime Minister of Great Britain)