Some time ago, a friend who’s very much a Champagne enthusiast, pulled together a Champagne BYO. Those who came along including several members of the wine tasting club at my old alma mater, the Royal Institute of Technology. Actually, I was never a member of that club, since more intense wine tasting is something I started doing after I graduated. The fumes in the lab had to suffice at that time.
The Champagnes were served blind.
1990 Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart
60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay
Medium yellow colour. Noticeably toasted nose including toasted hazelnuts, smoke, yellow winter apples. Dry but not bone dry, good substance on the palate, yellow fruit, winter apples, good acidity. Fine development, good balance, 91 p.
2002 Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs
Disgorged October 2012.
Light yellow, generous mousse. Noticeably flowery nose with notes of white flowers, perfume, strong citrus notes, vanilla, and after some time bread emerged. Dry, but not really bone dry, rather pronounced citrus notes on the palate, yellow apples, high acidity. Approachable now, but should improve with maturity, 90+ p.
Bruno Paillard usually produces good stuff, and 2002 is an excellent Champagne vintage, so this combination is a good one. But some more time – at least a couple of years – in the cellar would be preferable.
1990 Drappier Carte d’Or
Probably around 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay. Disgorged May 2013.
Golden yellow colour with some amber. Nose with slightly decaying winter apples and yellow apples, sherry, clearly oxidised, mushroom. Dry palate but still with sweetness of fruit in the attack, palate with winter apples, apple compote, oranges, good acidity (but not really high), noticeably developed, good balance. Wonderfully mature style (=”old” for those who don’t like this sort of thing) but in my mind has a very fine balance now. 90 p.
Rather similar to the corresponding 1992 that I tasted when I visited Drappier this summer, but a notch better (as can be expected from the vintage) and perhaps slightly less “old” in the nose. But it is not a champagne I would recommend for extended cellaring.
2002 Veuve Clicquot Rosé
Dark pink colour with some orange, lively mousse. Nose with blood oranges, red currants, wild strawberries, a fruity and powerful nose, red apples (I’m reminded of a fresh bite from a red apple), and mineral notes that emerge after some time in the glass. Palate with blood oranges, powerful citrus notes, mineral, a hint of bitterness, some tannic bite with dryness, high acidity, fruity and foody aftertaste. Drinkable now, foody, very good. 91 p.
This rosé was so good and concentrated that I actually thought it was a prestige rosé. The white 2002 Veuve Clicquot is also really good, probably because no 2002 La Grande Dame was produced – strangely enough, given the quality of the vintage. The decision must have been taken early 2003, and I guess it must be related to reducing Champagne sales following the burst of the IT bubble. So if you find a 2002 Veuve – white or rosé – I recommend buying it.
Golden colour, rather much mousse. Nose of winter apples, oranges, fruity but still developed, a hint of flowers, smoke. Palate with oranges, winter apples, quite a lot of citrus, loads of mineral, high acidity, long aftertaste. 92 p.
Oups! That old, and on top of that a “plain vintage” from a house that hasn’t always performed at the very top. What great fun! Again proves that when you’re lucky with old bottles they can be really, really good even when they’re not prestige cuvées. (If, on the other hand, you’re unlucky, they can be completely undrinkable.)
Older bottle, but has a barcode, so I guess from the 1990s.
Dark golden colour with amber, some mousse. Nose with cocoa powder, toasted notes, oxidised with sherry, deacying winter apples, some oranges. Palate with oranges, yellow and red apples, good concentration, fruity impression. Quite developed in the nose, while the palate sticks together better, 89 p.
More developed in the nose than the previous wine, although it could be some 20 years younger. On the other hand the base wine is simpler than in a vintage Champagne.
1999 Dom Pérignon
About 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay.
Light yellow colour, powerful mousse. Nose with strong toasted notes, citrus, fruity notes, vanilla. Palate with citrus, powerful mineral notes, high acidity, long aftertaste with grapefruit. Surprisingly young, 92 p.
Quite a lot of acidity in this one, young and fresh in style for a 1999, definitely seems less developed (and better) than my recollection of Dom P. 2000.
1973 Perrier-Jouet Blason de France
Amber colour, no mousse. The nose shows oxidation notes with sherry, decaying winter apples, and some oranges. Fruity and slightly sweet on the palate, oranges and winter apples, high acidity. 89 p.
More tired than the other 1973 (the Pommery), but still sticks together.
Good stuff throughout the tasting, and all of the old Champagnes that had been included as wild shots were still “in business”!
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.