TN: Frenchie's Grower Bubbly Event In the OC

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.

FRENCHY’S GROWER BUBBLY EVENT IN THE OC - Todd Frenchy’s Place (9/16/2018)

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.

Posted from CellarTracker

Great notes.

I really liked that Gimmonet when I tried it about 1.5 years ago. Generous yet precise and limey and long.

And that Robert Moncuit wine is really excellent BdB.

AFAIK, that Chiquet is really a vintage wine labeled non-vintage that is more successful in some vintages than others. I didn’t try the May 2017 disgorgement. I’ve had good luck aging past versions.

Photo support…

  • 2005 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain - USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain (9/16/2018)
    PnP. Others mention this wine requires more time but not in this case. Nice dusty cassis and fine prickly tannins. Nice stuff.
  • 2013 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Berserkers’ Cuvée - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (9/16/2018)
    Todd opened this for me. The first bottle was corked but this was really. Rumors were this was a bit light on release and if so then it’s added weight and sophistication. Lovely dark cherry and strawberry.
  • 2013 Ruppert-Leroy Champagne Pinot Noir Brut Nature Les Cognaux - France, Champagne (9/16/2018)
    Light gold colored. Golden apple nose with light oxidation and rushed herbs. Good complexity.
  • NV Guy Larmandier Champagne Premier Cru a Vertus - France, Champagne (9/16/2018)
    I brought this to the grower event. Really enjoyed It and a nice quality at a good price. Unripe strawberry, medium acid, and a long finish. Assuming a lighter dosage than typical rosé. Definite rebuy.
  • NV Larmandier-Bernier Longitude - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru (9/16/2018)
    This showed much more like a big house champer. Light bread nose, yellow apple and a creamy, almost butter note, and slick mouthfeel.
  • NV Pierre Gerbais Champagne Rosé de Saignée - France, Champagne (9/16/2018)
    Medium red color. Light candied nose which had me thinking it might be sweet. But not the case. This very lean with delicate fruit profile. Strong acidity with a sharp finish. A food Rosé.

Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks for the notes and photos, guys! I’ll be matching up my notes with these, though they are much shorter and of less value, and have to prevent Rob Winn and Francine Haight from entering the contest ever again, as they’ve ‘won’ the blind tasting 3 times.

Anyway you can invite Francine and not Rob? She does a great photo job. Here’s her Facebook post.

[edit] has privacy settings not permitted to share.

Thanks again for the great evening, format, mix of people and the bottle from you and Jen.

The world is a better place with more cheesecake!

Excellent point, or, I can invite them both, and they can’t participate in the blind tasting just to give others a chance to win. Last year, Frankie’s won, so at least we had a temporary break from the dynasty. Can’t do it without Francine’s photo-journalism, that’s for sure, and we all benefit from her iphone improvement over her Android from years past we used to make fun of all the time neener

I’ll post my crappy notes here, in order of how they finished based on the group’s ratings, from 1st to 11th: (including the average score)

1: Marc Hebrart Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut (4.2) - Rob Winn knew to hand me this one for the blind tasting, and it won overall by quite a large margin (average score of 4.2 (out of 5) and the one closest to it was almost a half point behind). Beautiful nose, complex, lemon curd, green and red apple, very blaanced, sweet fruit, mousse on the palate, great finish, fantastic wine

2: Gaston Chiquet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d’Ay (3.76) - this was our bottle. Very fresh, green apple and spring water on the nose, lively, acidic and fresh, popping with green apply, creamy texture yet fresh, could be a young vintage wine - just a bit unbalanced but the best components are all there.

3: 2008 Louis Nicaise Champagne Cuvee Louis par Laure (3.15) - from the Gelbs. Another of my favorites, very lively on the nose, intriguing, fantastic creamy and rich mouthfeel, great weight balanced with lively bubbles, great finish, fantastic. (my favorites aligned with the group’s, as the group’s top 3 were my top 3 as well - I’d gladly buy any of these Champagnes, and two of them are great bargains)

4: Marion-Bosser Champagne Premier Cru Millesime 2008 (3.14) - Beautiful nose, rich mousse, a bit nutty and yeasty, tight but balanced

5: Christophe Mignon Champagne Brut Ruse Pur Munier (3.0) - yeasty nose, Rose so it’s noticeably different from the other wines, a bit flabby for me, not many bubbles, fresh strawberry, finishes rather flat (a couple post-tasting notes on this wine: 1) Andrew Christiansen correctly noted during the blind tasting that he thought this wine was Pinot Munier-based - amazing call, frankly. 2) Based on the fact that this wine finished 5th overall, and in our group it was not enjoyed much, with a lot of commentary on it being flabby and flat, it suffered (in our group only) from being open ‘too long’, wherein ‘too long’ was only an hour. A Champagne shouldn’t die off in that short of a time)

6: 2012 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut (2.9) - Floral and perfumed nose, red fruited nose which is interesting, a bit flabby on the mouthfeel, I’m getting something like cherry 7up on the flavor profile, Kirsch, rather boring and clunky. I was opposite Frankie’s opinion on this bottle, as it was one of my lower ranked bottles.

7: 2010 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Chardonnay Champagne Special Club Grand Terroirs de Chardonnay (2.85) - bright citrus and sweet fruited nose, nice weighty, a bit sweet, finishes a little thick and soft. Again, I’m rather opposite Frank on this wine

8: Mousse Fils Champagne Blanc de Meuniers Premier Cru Brut Zero Les Vignes de Mon Village (2.76) - Frank’s wine - Apple skin, chalk, citrus-focused, green apple, fresh and balanced. I liked this wine, not sure why it finished so low for the group, but I suspect its dryness was a factor, as many don’t like low dosage wines.

9: Georges Laval Champagne Brut Nature Cumieres (2.55) - Andrew Christiansen’s bottle - this one showed quite poorly for our group, as I planted the seed verbally when I first smelled it…smelled like pickles. I couldn’t get that out of my head, and I’m sure verbalizing it led others to think the same as there was agreement within our group. Sweet tart profile which tasted ‘fake’, lively but tastes like an engineered wine. Not at all a fan of this wine.

  1. Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvee de Reserve (2.5) - Citrus, spring water, very stony/chalk-like, brighter green apple, shorter finish. I quite liked this wine but apparently the group did not!

  2. Grognet Carpe Diem Champagne (1.42) - Frank has this labeled above as ‘Fat Cork’ but that’s merely the retailer/importer - it’s from Cecile Grognet - My first impression was the smell of school paint, some baked apples, grapefruit, but lightly corked and apparently by the time it got to the last tasting group it was far more than ‘lightly’ corked.

Wow killer stuff here! What a lineup! Well done, gents. Thanks for the wonderful notes.

For those interested, Hi Time has the winner of our tasting for only $45.00 (way to cheap out, Rob!) - HEBRART BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS

I already bought 4 so now I can post the link for others to buy :slight_smile:

Frenchy, it’s cool that we diverge on the Marie-Courtin, and to a lesser extent, the Gimmonet. I really liked those two a lot, my best in the tasting, yet you, and after chatting with Andrew on Sat night too, his notes said the Marie-Courtin was “clunky”. Did you guys share notes or simply arrive at the same descriptor of that wine? But to take it further, you also said “7 Up” and “boring”. I simply didn’t find the Marie-Courtin to be any of those things, and moreso with that wine being no dosage, it would be something I would least think would be like 7 Up, which I really dislike in my champagne. Of course, a zero dosage style could be manipulated or adjusted I suppose but I just don’t see Dominique Moreau making a wine in this way, or in that style of citrus soda.

But, in the end, this is why we drink this stuff together–to share, learn, compare and enjoy the experience.

The audience was 50-50 wine geeks and normal people. I saw Tracy, Beth and Chris with the note sheet filled. Great to see novices dive right in with no fear.

I said cherry 7up on one wine, he said 7up on another. I’m sure I mentioned the word ‘clunky’ as that’s one of my words for a wine that isn’t matching or balanced in qualities. Either that or he copied off me.

Good to hear! I don’t think we had any ‘normals’ in our group taking notes, so I’m happy to see several who did! I don’t expect them to post here, however - that’s jumping in the lion’s den with a bacon sport coat.

Had the opportunity to try the '13 Effloresence this past Saturday. My exact words: “THAT Champagne was phenomenal!”

It’s complex and intense. Those can be very divisive attributes. It definitely was in this crowd. I like it… My wife and a few in my group hated it.

Graf, your post caught my curiosity and I looked back at my CT notes. The 2013 Effloresence was one of my top wines from my May trip to Champagne. Great to hear it showed well for you, and that quote above is cool. I also see Robert P’s note in CT from over the weekend…did you both share that bottle together? He didn’t get wowed over it—same bottle?

Frenchy, just to let you know, I sourced some more 2014 MC today—the Chard-based cuvée, which she calls Eloquence, and some more of the Concordance, which is her take on a no-sulfur added cuvée. [highfive.gif]

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I’ve been buying mine from Envoyer for years around $32 and yes, these are killer QPR.

Thanks to Jen and Todd!

At the risk of having my low dose credentials revoked, yup…I wrote “sweet, clunky” for the Courtin. Sorry, but I stand by those descriptions, and Todd had a similar experience when our group tasted it. It was quite forward, a bit sappy, and dominated by red/pinot fruit. Maybe 30 minutes later, you told me, “check bottle 9…”, and without going back to my notes, I found it more focused, linear, structured and quite interesting. Not the same experience. Even so, I still wouldn’t have suspected it was a low dose Courtin.

At the end of the day, I have put it into my top 3 for the night (with the 10 Gimmonet Club and Herbert NV).

Is OK for a no-dose wine to show some depth, texture and density? If it evolves like the Courtin, why not show a little leg?

I promise to get some notes up…some day.

Yeah, Frank, same bottle as Rob. I will say this: I though it was very good to excellent, initially. A little bit got left behind in the bottle and when we came back to it a few hours later it had improved into solidly excellent territory. Once the bubbles got out of the way, I found a beautiful and intense red berry personality to it.