Aging champagnes/ buying drinking aged champagnes- help please

[quote=“Brad_Baker, post:119, topic:163231”]
No, IMO low dosage and no dosage (or any level of dosage) sparkling wines from Champagnes do not develop like still wines from Champagne. There is a second fermentation involved and a disgorgement that make things very different. [/quote]

Brad, with all due respect, I think there is some tone-deafness involved here. I said “a little bit like a Coteaux”. Not like a ton of reading between the lines is required to understand what I intended, is it. Other than that, thanks for the helpful explanations (where is the “I’m new here” emoticon?).

I also wish somebody could finally put Cedric Bouchard out of his misery and tell him that it’s OK for him to stop using tirage and dosage altogether :-).

He tried this back in the mid to late 2000s (maybe even after) and he didn’t like the results; if he would have, I think we would have seen a very different direction from him. I didn’t think it tasted all that bad, but his sparkling Champagnes were clearly better. I honestly don’t know what he may have tried since those first initial attempts.

When I spoke to him back in 2008, I didn’t at all get the impression he was going anywhere with those “untiraged” batches other than a bit of lateral fun that he could afford. I also very much walked away with the impression he knew very well which side his bread was buttered, and, again, I don’t mean that in any sort of negative way. Other than that, I totally agree his wines are better with at least a little tirage and (possibly) a little dosage :-).

The last time I talked to him at length about his still wines was probably 2011/2012. He seemed genuinely disappointed in what the end result was and said that his experiment was over for the time being as the wines weren’t better without bubbles… no matter how much he hoped they would be. At least this is what I got out of my conversations with him. In 2008-2009, he seemed very excited.

Why would he be genuinely disappointed? Where he seems to have settled is a beautiful compromise and the best of both worlds :slight_smile:

I like the idea of brut zero or no dosage but I’ve not had success aging them. When I first got into wine I loved the idea of bone dry champange so I bought some brut zero wines like Piper 1982. Aged 15 or more years each bottle was an acidic angular sharp mess. Finally had to add cassis to make them drinkable.

I agree that the idea is very appealing, but I suspect that too much acidity is likely the result over time.

Probably a very dumb question, but does any maillard reaction occur during secondary fermentation? With the amount of sugar added, I would think long lees aging would create some maillard activity to occur.

Yes, you can get the maillard reaction during secondary fermentation. Studies have been done that go pretty deep into this (grape type, yeast strain, sugar type, acidity, pH, autolysis rate, environmental conditions, residual sugar, etc…) to explain pathways, but not necessarily give exact answers. The answers are more of a ‘this could happen’ type. In general, autolysis is going to heavily dominate the reactions with sugar during the secondary fermentation, but that doesn’t mean that it will dominate everything 100% and the amino acids produced during autolysis and any residual sugar can/does lead to some maillard reaction during the secondary fermentation prior to disgorgement. The longer the wine sits undisgorged on the lees, the more likely you are to see/taste the effects of any maillard reaction. Disgorgement certainly helps things along if there is dosage added and then you can also have other reactions take place in the wine due to disgorgement and liqueur d’expedition that can also have some impact on the maillard reaction.

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Cedric has since started experimenting again, with holdings planted not far from the border with Burgundy using top massale selections from the Côte de Nuits. He got pretty close to releasing a wine recently but called it off. Hoping that it might not be far away now…