Monday, December 9, 2013

Champagne Fall Release Report

Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis sabers a magnum of Laurent Perrier Brut at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Champagne is going green. The CIVC has approved a new bottle (2 oz total weight)
reducing the region's CO2 output by 8,000 metric tons.  Champagne is also staying very commercially minded. Despite a very difficult start to the 2012 harvest, Philipponnat, Dom Perignon, Bollinger and others will release vintage wines.

New in non vintage releases are the precise, muscular, yet graceful nv Philipponnat Grand Blanc de Blancs $60, yeasty and deeply toasty with notes of almond butter and lemon crème brulee, the nv Delamotte Brut $50, aka Baby Salon,  elegant, ethereal almost, as it is primarily Grand Cru Chardonnay, and the nv Gaston Chiquet Cuvee de Reserve Brut $70, which offers lovers of mature Champagne notes of honey and lanolin owing to “reserves” of ’01 and ’04 cuvees in the blend. The finish is bracing and clean. The nv Gosset Brut Grande Reserve $70, based on ’05 and made with a sprinkling of  Fromenteau, Petit Meslier, and Arbanne, is a lively, layered, very powerful Champagne that is rich enough for Lamb, as are the biodynamically-farmed nv Fleury Carte Rouge Brut $45, a breathtaking, intense cuvee of Pinot Noir, and the powerful, seductive nv Fleury Rosé de Saignée Brut $78

Another must have is the well-loved nv Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut $100, pretty in appearance but book smart underneath -  it is exclusively Grand Cru Pinot Noir.

Finesse is the order of the day with the classic nv Pol Roger Brut Reserve $65, while the edgy, razor sharp non-dosed and therefore bone dry nv Pol Roger Pure Brut $75 is ideal for crudo or that old standby, caviar. 

Get your geek on – the nv Chartogne-Taillet Les Barres Extra Brut $105 is made from ungrafted 60-year old vine Pinot Meunier, a grape that is getting much attention in Champagne these days, at least when it is old-vine. 

Polar opposite in style is the nv Feuillatte D'Luscious Demi-Sec Rose $59, for that huge swathe of America that can’t get enough sweet in their wine.

Are you a Special Club girl or guy? Check out these two Chardonnay-based lovelies - the 2008 A. Margaine Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut $84, a rare honeyed, intense Champagne from the Montagne de Reims. 

The 2006 Marc Hebrart Rive Gauche-Rive Droite Grand Cru Extra Brut $140, a luxury cuvée named for vineyards on both sides of the Marne River, is broad and fleshy - immediately likeable. 

Named after the barrel it was fermented in, the 2005 Nicolas Feuillatte Cuvee 225 Brut $100 is more formal, and offers a Krug-like oxidative note from the base wine’s fermentation in oak.

For only the third time in their long history, Champagne Bollinger hosted a non-local Vin Clair tasting earlier this year in San Francisco, led by the very knowledgeable and dapper Commercial Director Guy de Rivoire. After a flight of vins clairs we were treated to a  smoky, briney and very muscular 2004 Bollinger Grande Annee Rose Extra Brut $220. The 2000 Bollinger R.D. Brut will make an appearance in the market shortly, in Jeroboam exclusively.

Exquisitely luxurious, just looking at the 2004 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rose Brut $350 feels decadent. But inside is where the real treasure lies – layers of red fruits, peach and apricot, autolytic notes and a rich chalky minerality mingle together discreetly, with breed and class. The 2002 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut $160 also wins kudos for its packaging, designed with a thousand pearl-shaped indentations in honor of the Opera Diva who captivated Nicolas Feuillatte. The package converts conveniently to an ice bucket. Take notice, James Bond.

© Copyright 2014 Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, Planet Grape LLC. All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment