Thanks for a great evening last night, Frenchy. I know you have some photos and there were a few other WB taking notes last night so let’s see if someone else wants to join me with some TNs here.
Split these into two flights, as one flight was poured not blind, the other blind. We did the unblind wines first, with time to talk and share thoughts. We then transitioned to the blind flight, with 3 stations being used, with one station having 3 wines, and the remaining two stations have 4 wines each. We spent about 15 mins at each station, which personally for me went too fast. When I get into a mode where I am scoring (each person had to rank each wine from 1 to 5, the latter being the best score), I want to spend more time but I was alone in wanting to slow down so I kept up my pace, and then after the station scoring was completed by everyone, I went back to retry a few of the wines to confirm my TN impressions.
My 2 best WOTN were the 2012 Marie-Courtin Effloresence, which is a zero dose PN wine made in used barrique. I really dig her as a producer and I have begun over the past year to buy more and more of her range. I got to meet ‘her’, that being Dominique Moreau, when we visited Marie-Courtin back in May. She is talented, full of energy and her wines across the range are excellent. I am hooked. She farms just a small hillside parcel in Polisot, which is in the south (Aube) and she farms everything clean, without dosage. Find and get the wines if you are able.
The other WOTN for me was the 2010 Gimmonet Special Club, which I liked just a little bit less than the Marie-Courtin. It held its own across 10 other wines and while I didn’t get the group scoring totals down for all the wines when Frenchie read them off, I do think like the Marie-Courtin that it finished low in the total points. These two wines just are built IMO less for the broader market and palate, yet when I tasted both, I knew for me, for what I like, I had found some great, well-made classy champagnes. To each is everyone’s own palate, these two were my best of the night, along with the Ruppert-Leroy 2013 Cognaux and the Moncuit Les MSO, both that were in the first flight, done unblind.
Thank you again Frenchy for doing such a cool event, for pulling this all together. Well done, and a fantastic evening.
NV Pierre Gerbais Champagne Rosé de Saignée - France, Champagne
2013 vintage, disgorged 10/2017 and zero dosage. This was from the bottle from May that I brought back from the winery. Good depth and fruit imprint, with a savory, tangy red fruit, finishing with a strawberry note and zippy acidity.
NV J.L. Vergnon Conversation - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Disgorged 06/2016. BdB so I presume built with Chardonnay. Mint and toast in the aromatic. Creamy with green apple, lime and forward in tone. Easy to drink yet for me light on complexity. This was better than the bottle from last summer.
2013 Ruppert-Leroy Champagne Pinot Noir Brut Nature Les Cognaux - France, Champagne
No bottle data on back label. Steely nose with an herbal note, too. Good spine and structure, carrying a lime essence into a smooth palate, finishing with same herbal note. This bottle showed much better than the one from last week.
NV Fallet-Crouzet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
No back label data. Pours frothy. Lightly oxidative in style with a glossy, yellow apple thing and some stone fruit. Balanced well.
NV Guy Larmandier Champagne Premier Cru a Vertus - France, Champagne
No back label data. Zesty with cherry, red berry lime skin and dosed or made in a style that is a little sweet for me. FWIW, from what I can research on this wine, it is primarily Chardonnay given its Bdb Vertus setting, yet it has some Pinot blended in to give it the color.
NV Robert Moncuit Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Disgorged 09/2016. Lovely stuff, well built with a good wrapping of bright lemon, fresh sliced green apple, some lemon curd and a floral nose, which is the jasmine-like thing I enjoy. Really delicious and for me was the best of 10 or so bubblies that were served non-blind.
NV Larmandier-Bernier Longitude - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
No back label info. For me, this showed a bit rough, with a hearty and creamy core, supported by some apple and citrus and finishing sweet for me.
NV Marion-Bosser Champagne Premier Cru Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
No back label info. To me, this came off as simple, with the 7-Up soda tone that I don’t care for in champagne. Sweet stone fruit and lacking enough acid to support that fruit and whatever dosage was added.
2008 Marion-Bosser Champagne Premier Cru Mille’sime 2008 - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
Poured blind. No back label info. Tight with a good spine. Chalk in the aroma? Apple, berry, nicely balanced with some honey in the finish.
NV Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve - France, Champagne
Poured blind. Been a couple years since I have tried this cuvee, with that previous bottle being a different disgorgement. This bottle was disgorged 12/2017. Easy to drink with a toasty quality, some lime soda and lacking some complexity for me. Found this to be drinking fine, nothing standing out.
NV Moussé Fils Champagne Blanc de Meuniers Premier Cru Brut Zéro Les Vignes de Mon Village - France, Champagne
Poured blind. This was my bottle for the event, although I had no idea where it was slotted in the lineup. Disgorged 06/2017, zero dosage. Bit of mineral with a moderately lean profile and some light touches of lemon. My notes say “older?” Seems soft in tone, with a smooth palate and well composed. My notes then end and say “all together, the parts worked well”.
2008 Louis Nicaise Champagne Cuvée Louis par Laure - France, Champagne
Poured blind. This bottle reminded me of the one earlier this year which I found too sweet for my tastes. Some zestiness in the wine but it still comes off candied, like a lime candy chew. Not a fan of how this is made.
2012 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut - France, Champagne
Poured blind. This was the 4th bottle of this wine I have had the last few months. For me, this was my WOTN, just beating out the 2010 Gimmonet Special Club. I don’t recall last night the final scores but I do think this Courtin finished towards the bottom, yet when I tasted it, I had a pretty good idea that I had found the wine in my glass? Why, because it stood out with such great balance, mineral, red berry/black cherry quality and a citrus core that flowed perfectly from start to finish. And what further impresses me about this bottle is that it stood out for me without any label bias. Yes, I knew it was part of the 11 that were served but my notes really tell the story of finding for me the jewel among the lineup. So across different settings and contexts, this wine continues to impress.
NV Fat Cork Champagne Carpe Diem Brut - France, Champagne
Poured blind. This was TCA’d for me and it had an apple sauce quality. NR (flawed)
NV Marc Hébrart Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
Poured blind. This bottle was voted the WOTN by the tasting group, although I didn’t have it composed that high (my WOTN was the 2012 Marie-Courtin Effloresence). Base of minerality, berry, big energy, rocky with apple sauce and lime. Overall, this showed well and I would like to try something leaner in the Hebrart range, to see how those show. Does the winery make such a thing?
NV Christophe Mignon Champagne Brut Rosé Pur Meunier - France, Champagne
Poured blind. Interesting, as I had a bottle of this earlier in 2018 that had a newer dosage date than the one had last night. The back label info from last night said disgorged 10/2015, with a base of 2011 and 2012, where as the bottle from earlier this year had the 2013 vintage replacing the 2011. Pounded rock aroma, red apple, zesty, strawberry, bready, with peach and a moderate dosage, which I think is true for the Rose having some dosage, as opposed to the zero philosophy on the others in the range? In sum, I like the blend with the 2013 and the better intensity of that later disgorged bottle too. I suspect it’s the 2013 component that livened it up better.
NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
Poured blind. Disgorged 05/2017. Creamy and bready, showing a more forward brut style. Apple tones, a bit rough in the balance with some bitter citrus into the finish. Liked it, just seemed a little rugged for me.
2010 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Chardonnay Champagne Special Club Grand Terroirs de Chardonnay - France, Champagne
Poured blind. This finished for me 2nd place behind the 2012 Marie-Courtin Effloresence of the 11 champagnes we tasted. And further, I am puzzled by Gimmonet, as I have previously owned this wine and decided I was moving on after finishing the final bottle several months ago. I can’t store the damn things very easily because of the bottle shape and moreso, I just didn’t find the wines to wow me. However, last night’s bottle was terrific. Crushed rock aroma, citrusy with good length, showing a pure lime quality and lovely balance. All the parts seemed to fit well together and it had enough richness to not steer me off. Not sure I will go back to buying these as I have found some other houses I like more but I will say last night’s bottle showed some good stuff.
NV Georges Laval Champagne Brut Nature Cumières - France, Champagne
Poured blind. And, I am not certain this was the bottle we drank in the tasting but knowing what as available locally to purchase, I assume this was it. Disgorged 09/17, zero dosage. I last tried this a few years ago, and presuming these likely would be 2 different disgorgements, I lile the bottle last night far better than a few years back when I started to pay attention to the dosage levels and how they worked with my palate. The bottle from 2016 was too lean for me, yet last night’s was citrusy with some honeyed edges, and while some lean tones, it did show fruit, tone and the right level of balance for me within a zero dose presentation. Enjoyed this.
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