Last night I was able to attend a tremendous tasting put on by fellow board member David Gerstenfeld, who carefully planned out this great tasting, and the results were both great and interesting.
The line up.
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses (April 2006 disgorgement). This bottle was off, so notes withheld.
Dom Perignon Rose
Dom Perignon Oenotheque
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc
Pol Roger Winston Churchill
Billecart Grand Cuvee (any info on this wine is welcome!)
Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs (this has been a big time sleeper, and fit in very well)
Ployez Jacquemart (d’Harbonville)
Many of the wines continued to uphold previous impressions I’ve had. The Winston Churchill stood out to me, and not in a good way. This wine has continually disappointed me, and I can’t think of the last time I had bottle of the 96 that did. Dom Perignon continues to impress, and still has loads of life ahead of it. I thought this was a touch advanced over a bottle I had back in May, but was still great. The 1996 Oeno continues to baffle me a bit, but I would argue in a good way. I expect Oeno’s to be showy, and flashy, and ready for business, and this really isn’t. It’s restrained, poised to pounce, and should see better days in like 10 more years. Speaking of way too young, the Krug has furthered that yet again. This was easily the most restrained one I have had yet. The Ruinart BdB and the Paillard BdB continue to wow crowds every time, and also help remind me that these are great Champagnes.
On the ones I have less experience with to date, the 1996 Cristal was a run away winner. I don’t think I’ve had this since 2008, and it was quite closed then, but tonight, it was easily WOTN. Flashy, layered, long and just overall remarkable, this is a gem from this vintage, and still has 30 more years left. I think I’ve had the 96 Salon maybe 2 or 3 times, and always felt it was painfully young, but tonight it showed direction, something I don’t recall from the last times I had it. There was a ricey, sake-like sweetness to this that showed the promise that I love about mature Salon when it starts to taste like Grand Cru white Burgundy. The Comtes was paired with this, and it was by far the best bottle of 96 Comtes I’ve had (not sure why, but I run in to a lot of poorly stored bottles of this), and was a contrast of style to the Salon, but that was welcomed by the group. The smokey note in it was a touch off putting for me, but overall the wine was well made. The Ployez was a strange one for me, as this was the third time I had this. Others liked this a lot more than me, but I think this was a bit funky, and I don’t love that in my Champagne. The Billecart was fun, the only time I’ve had it, but it didn’t wow the way so many other did. I would argue it’s too young, but I can say that about almost everything we drank! I didn’t find either of the two Roses as enjoyable as other bottles I’ve had in the past, but in their defense, these were pretty pristine bottles that I think we just super young last night. By no means were they bad, I just didn’t get the same level of pleasure out of drinking them as much as I did a year and a half a ago.
Thank you again to David for putting on such an amazing tasting. Till 2026 when we need to do this again