TN: Crush Champagne Tasting (Dec. 7, 2017)

Every year I attend Crush’s generous free Champagne tasting in December. Some quick notes, highlights, and disappointments— with the initial observation that I’m finding more and more that my taste in sparkling wine is strangely binary or nearly binary. There aren’t a lot of wines in the middle for me. I either find something to like (albeit in a variety of styles and degrees) or I find the wines too ponderous and/or almost undrinkable. Whereas my tastes remain on more of a continuum for still wine. Anyhoo.


NV Robert Moncuit Brut Blanc de Blancs GC Le Mesnil - listed first because the biggest surprise and the best value. Fantastic blend of (I was told) 2012/13. Intense but elegant mineral BdB. You have to taste it to understand how great a triumph this is in NV BdB.

Krug MV 164 and 2004 Krug. Too bad I didn’t note the ID on the 164 but I loved it. And I don’t always love the weight and forcefulness of the MV. As has been reported, the MV 164 is atypically elegant and bright, and to my taste better for it. Ditto on the 2004, which I thought was a notch more compelling than MV 164. Quite linear and citrusy and bright for Krug. Very long and layered. Much more my style than brutish 2002, and more to come. Akin to the recently tasted 1996.

Ruinart 2004 Rose. Fantastic penetrating strawberry-tinged Rose flavors. Again intensity and concentration without weight. Quite a pair with the BdB in 2004.

NV (2015) Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Val Vilaine Blanc de Noirs. I don’t have a lot of experiences with Bouchard, but they’ve been mixed. Some excellent. Some disappointing. This was singing. I love good Blanc de Noirs, and this is fabulous with plum / orchard fruit flavors and waves of richness and airiness that I find the best BdN achieve.

2005 Dom Perignon Rose. Richer style than the Ruinart but still comes off as berry elegant. This is drinking very well for a young release Dom Rose. Compelling.


2006 Taittinger Comtes BdB. This came off quite caramel and heavy. It’s possible this would have freshened up with more air but not what one would expect. My experiences with this have now ranged from very good but not great to this type of impression.

2009 Dom Perignon. Dom is sometimes hard to judge young. 1990 was a little like this young and developed wonderfully a year after release. But this Dom may not have the energy and power of the 1990. Seriously underwhelming right now in a bready muddled citrus vein. I would not buy this now but wouldn’t be surprised if it transformed with a bit of bottle age.

2006 Ruinart BdB. Another underwhelming 2006 BdB. Messy. Meh. Hard to see this as the younger sib of the 2004.

Ruinart NVs. Rose was better than BdB but nothing much to note.

2013 Huet Petillant. The 2010 was one of the stars of this tasting two years ago and has been wonderful the two other times I’ve had it. This was angular Vouvray sparkling. Seriously grumpy even though 2013 seems like it would/should have been a decent fizz year here. I didn’t particularly like the 2012 or the 2009 Reserve that were released last year. But enough of them have wowed me over the years that I’ll try again in a couple months to see if it’s worth cellaring.

It’s heresy to talk badly about the CdC 06. But I agree with you Jayson, in that some bottles I really enjoy and others seem candied to me, with a perceived sweetness that does border on, as you called it, a caramel. The last bottle seemed that way to me. I’ve been through probably 8 bottles now in the past couple years and they vary, at least to me.

Thanks for your TNs, and happy new year.

I attended 5:00 section and thought 2006 Comtes was best in show. 2006 Ruinart was awkwardly youthful but packed with potential. Krug 164e was most acidic. Loved the Moncuit also!
Happy new year!

I was there early too. One of the first 15 people. Hard to explain our different views but it suggests the problem with a drive-by tasting like this one. Champagne needs time and patience after opening, which the Crush format does not afford. For 2006 Comtes however my views are largely based on much longer considerations that included food.