90` Clicquot Rose, Billecart-Salmon Rose, Krug 168; 12` Delamotte, 12` Bara Club; 08` L-P, 17` Giradin CC, Donnhoff Kab+

A group of good friends gathered on the beach to celebrate Valentines Day with champagne and appetizers and good fellowship. We enjoyed a very nice comfortable and safe afternoon near the rolling surf while communing:

1990 VEUVE CLICQUOT BRUT ROSE RESERVE in magnum- this was the last of 6 mags purchased way back along with more 750s and it was an oxidized 750 I opened a few months ago that gave me pause as to the viability of this bottle; no problem, it was stellar; in fact, the red copper color was close to the initial color and the mature red cherry dominated the aromas and fruit in the taste profile along with mild accents of clove, smoke, and spice; this was advanced enough to suggest this was just on the border of being good heading toward not as much, so it’s 31 year life span had reached its apogee and we were blessed with some righteous juice here.

NV BILLECART-SALMON BRUT ROSE in magnum- this was nicely fruity with loads of red cherry, strawberry and red raspberry and another great example of the more recent style of this fine rose; I’ve alluded to questioning the house abut a style change and once again include it here as a FYI: “in the last couple of years, the house seems to have stepped up the fruit profile to a more expressive, fuller and richer style and there is definitely more red cherry as opposed to the milder raspberry and strawberry notes IMHO; in response to my questioning of the house about this, they responded “we use more and more wines done with Grand Cru grapes, and probably also due to the global warming bringing more richness in the wines”. As to the difference in the fruit profile, they replied “the cellar master and I both think that it is still pretty much on ripe strawberries and raspberries, but it also depends very much at what temperature you drink it, Ideally, around 9/10 °C.” I typically drink champagnes in the 8-12 range {45-53 F}.

2008 LAURENT-PERRIER BRUT MILLESIME- Some of us had just had this wine 2 days before and it was stupendous, so I was elated to see it on this day; and it shined ever so brightly; some of my previous notes are applicable here with a minor edit: “when I first reviewed this champagne a few months ago, I mentioned that a couple of my champagne buddies around the globe had been encouraging me to try this one out claiming it is more ready than most of the other 2008 big boys that have been way too tight and ungiving early on such as Cristal, Dom and Taittinger Comtes; so, I bought some and each bottle has exuded elegance par excellence; of all of the lovely notes it sang, I kept coming back to its profound elegance; yes, it had really nice bright acidity with lemon zest, lime, apple and pear fruit, a tactilely pleasing creamy mousse and a palate cleansing finish, but the operative word here is ELEGANCE.” And now, plus one.

2012 DELAMOTTE BLANC de BLANC BRUT- once again, we have a bottle I’m very familiar with and it gave consistent notes to past ones; 60% of the fruit sources for this comes from les Mesnil-sur-Oger, Ovize and Oger with 20% equal parts from each and the remainder of the fruit comes from Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry; this is the 4th bottle I’ve had recently and it is spectacular having such an inviting nose of fragrant yellow roses and stone fruit which on the palate more specifically included peach, apricot, pear, Golden Delicious apple and lemon; it had a wondrous creamy, honey like mouthfeel which served to enhanced the long, satisfying finish; this is marvelous bubbly now and has all of the structure to be great in the years to come. Since no 2012 Salon is to be made, I’m assuming most if not all of the fruit went into that part of the BdB that was not held back in reserve.

2012 PAUL BARA SPECIAL CLUB FRAND CRU BRUT- 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay from 35 year old vines; aged in bottle for 5 years before release, disgorgement November 2019 with a dosage 7 g/L this was loaded with generous amounts of fresh citrus fruit with lemon, lime, strawberry and green apple most notable; it had bright acidity, a very pleasant creamy mousse and left the palate cleaned and ready for whatever is to follow, in this case, some Krug.

NV KRUG GRANDE CUVEE 168eme EDITION BRUT- ID 219019 which tells us that it is made of 52% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Meunier, was cellared for over 7 years and got its cork in December, 2019; it’s a blend of 198 wines from 11 different years, the youngest from the year 2012, while the oldest date was 1996; our bottle had a nice yellow gold color; on the nose, it gave honey and ginger infused peach, mango and citrus; the taste had more of the same plus golden delicious apple, lemon, orange peel and hazelnut; it had a lovely feel, was super rich and extremely fulfilling; this is one of my favs of the last 10 or so editions, 164 is my top choice.

We also had 2 other nice wines:

2013 QUPE BIEN NACIDO RESERVE BLOCK ELEVEN SANTA MARIA VALLEY CHARDONNAY- I’ve long contended that Bob Lindquist has made some of the best California Chardonnay on a consistent basis and this bottle was just one more for the confirmation lineup; nicely balanced, it gave slightly honeyed golden delicious apple fruit delivered in an oily textured medium to the back end where it hung out and graced the back of the palate for the final, wondrous touch.

2017 VINCENT GIRADIN CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE GRAND CRU- this is drinking beautifully at this early stage and is giving generous amounts of bright citrus notes with grapefruit, lime and lemon merengue most prominent; there’s some minerals early on and then returning at the finish.

2019 DONNHOFF OBERHAUSER LEISTENBERG RIESLING KABINETT- we got our sugar fix at the end of the day when the chocolate chip cookies and this came out; honeyed lemon enhanced with a touch of flint and underlying minerals embraced our palate all the way to the back end where the true dessert in a glass occurred as it just hung out and sweetened the deal.

We had a lovely day on the day that LOVE is the focus. We shared the love and loved doing it. Love to you all.


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In my experience with Veuve, the vintage Rosé is the cuvée that stands up to extended cellaring best. I started laying it away with the ‘82 vintage up through the ‘98. In magnum format the wine gets deeper and deeper over time. Still sitting on mags of the ‘85 which is showing no signs of slowing down. I can’t say I have had the same dependable experience with either the regular vintage or La Grande Dame, though I have had the occasional stellar example. Agreed that the ‘12 Delamotte is a wine to buy… sounds like you had a wonderful day with your sweetie…

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Hmmm, I wouldn’t have thought of the Dönnhoff '19 OL Kabi as a dessert wine, but why not? It has pretty good acidity, but that along with the RS could make it a nice combination with the cookies!

Thanks for the timely notes. I just bought a few bottles of the Donhoff and a bottle of the Delamotte. Look forward to trying them in the near future.

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Ooooooh, look at that middle aged Veuve Sing! Hurray :slight_smile:.

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Nice notes, as always Blake! Always a pleasure to read about your wine adventures in Santa Barbara. However, no tasting note on the Chocolate Chip Cookies? champagne.gif


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Great feedback re the longevity of the Veuve rose. The 85 was stellar and long gone. I've had a terrible track record with the LGD with most being severely oxidized. In the last few years, that was true for the 90, 95, 96 and even the 98 and 99`.

I don’t think the cookies were meant to be paired with the Riesling, but that was what was left at the end. What probably made it work was all of the wine we had prior to indulging.

Thanks Ed. How could I leave out TNs on the cookies? They had dark chocolate and almond bits with a nice crunchy and chewy texture and were so good, one led to another.

Totally agree with you on the Delamotte, which represents somewhat of a rare departure from my usual bubbly preferences. Thanks for posting, Blake!

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