Sunday, January 1, 2012

Waves of Champagne

This is what New Year's eve is about, getting together with good friends and drinking Champagne. We started off at Weygandt Wines in Cleveland Park for a serious of Champagnes, many of which were vintage-dated (meaning all the wine comes from that vintage), and many of them came from Grand Cru rated vineyards. It was a great collection of wines, and a lot of fun for wine nerds and casual wine drinkers alike. We had a few non-Champagnes thrown in for good measure.

Here are some notes for your reading pleasure...

2006 J.L. Vergnon Champagne Confidence Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru - France, Champagne
Aromas of apple, hazelnut and some waxy, somewhat oxidized aromas. The palate is zingy with lots of slate, lime, green apple and mineral-driven intensity. This is a bold and unabashed Champagne, but it has a lot of complexity. A lot of people loved this wine, and I think it has a long and increasingly complex life ahead of it. (91 pts.)

N.V. Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut sainte-Anne - France, Champagne
This was one of the few non-vintage wines of the tasting, but it was really impressive. The aromas were very perfumed, showing orange rind, hazelnut and baked apple. The palate is bone dry, with searing acid and tangy minerals. The flavors of seashell and limestone are pure and vibrant. I love this style of Champagne, and this is a really solid bottle. (90 pts.)

2002 Eric Rodez Champagne Grand Cru Brut - France, Champagne, Ambonnay, Champagne
What a beautiful Champagne. Kevin, Val, Alexis and pretty much everyone loved this wine. Pretty golden color. Aromas of yellow apple, honey, biscuit and sea shell. The palate is rich and intense, but the chalk and minerals keep it balanced. It's very bold, but complex and subtle as well. Amazing. (92 pts.)

N.V. Eric Rodez Champagne Cuvée des Grand Vintages Grand Cru - France, Champagne, Ambonnay, Champagne
Floral nose, apricot, sweet orange rind. On the palate, I get a lot of apricot, orange sorbet. This one could've used a bit more acid to keep it balanced. (87 pts.)

2008 Albert Mann Crémant d'Alsace - France, Alsace, Crémant d'Alsace
We had this back at my house after the tasting. White peach on the nose, lemon and some sea salt. The palate is really zingy, with lots of minerals, brine, lemons and white peach. Always a good wine for the price, but this is definitely a wine to serve with oysters or shellfish. (88 pts.)

2005 Henri Maillart Champagne Extra brut 1er cru Les francs de pied - France, Champagne
This Champagne was golden colored in the glass. The aromas showed apricot, honey and caramel. The palate is rich with apple, honey, but also balanced by minerals and tight acid. Wonderful finish. This is very intense right now, and I'm sure it would benefit from a long time in the cellar. (91 pts.)

1999 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs - France, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, Champagne
Tim brought this wine, and it showed very well. The nose is just incredible, full of intense lemon, lemon cream pie, honey, sherry and intense minerals. The palate is creamy and mouthfilling, with delicious honey and apricot flavors, matched with intense saline, mineral and lemon rind flavors. I love the cocounut and yellow apple flavors as well. Long finish. This is still a very young wine, and I'm sure it will develop for many years. Still, it was a great wine to have on New Year's Eve. Thanks, Tim! (94 pts.)

N.V. Schramsberg Vineyards Mirabelle Brut Rose - USA, California, North Coast
I brought this wine, and it turned out to be the only U.S. sparkling wine. It was really popular for its freshness and ripe fruit. It's a gorgeous copper color in the glass. The nose shows lovely strawberry, white cherry and seashell. The palate has medium acid, lively and juicy white cherry, red apple and strawberry. Fruity, but fresh as well. I was surprised by the complexity of this wine as it had some air. (89 pts.)

N.V. Giesler & Cie Champagne Extra Superior Cuvee Demi-Sec
- France, Champagne
Someone brought this back from Champagne with them. Beautiful golden color. The nose shows smoke, almonds and roasted chestnut. Over time, it opened up to show more caramel apple and apricot. The palate is smooth and creamy, with hazelnut, apricot and almond paste. There's obviously some sugar, but the acid balances it out. This was a big hit with a lot of people. Any palate would appreciate this wine. (89 pts.)

2007 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru
I last tasted this wine in April of 2010, and I like it even better now. It had been opened for several hours, which probably helped open it up. The color is a beautiful cranberry-auburn. The aromas on this wine are just jawdropping. The nose showes gorgeous soft cherries, rose petals, loam and some toast. The palate has silky tannins and some hedonistic cherry fruit, but it's balanced by lovely acid. What a delicious wine with a long life ahead of it. This was the wine of the night for several people. (93 pts.)

2009 Gerard & Pierre Morin Sancerre Rouge Bellechaume
- France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre
I really like this pinot. It's got a lot of red plum, licorice and cranberry on the nose. The palate is fresh and juicy, with lots of sour cherry, cranberry and hints of tobacco. This was a nice way to finish off the evening. (88 pts.)

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