TN: Impressions from a Champagne Gala

Annual Champagne Gala at Table & Vine yesterday. I did not take formal notes, but there were some things that really stuck out.

The Great

Billiot - the Brut NV Reserve & Brut Rose were both outstanding, and the class of the entire event. The richness of the Brut Reserve was amazing. (note - both were spring 2011 disgorgements)

Pierre Peters - the Cuvee de Reserve NV was intense and focused, and able to stand up to the Pinot dominated Billiot despite being 100% Chardonnay. The 2002 Chetillons was also outstanding, but did not hold any kind of edge over either Billiot or the Peters NV.

Perrier Jouet - yes, you read that right. They were pouring the 2004 Belle Epoque & 2002 Belle Epoque Rose (both aka Fleur de Champagne - a name that is being jettisoned), and both were drop dead gorgeous. The Rose was the epitome of elegance, and the 2004 Brut was as complex as any wine in the room.

Krug - the Brut MV was its usual outstanding self.

The Good

Drappier - the house continues to imrpess, and was nearly in the great category. The Brut NV was not so hot, but the Brut Nature and 2004 were both delicious. The Brut Nature is a great value as well.

Aubry - just tasted the Brut NV, but it was tasty and refreshing - good value as well

Cedric Bouchard - the two wines poured (NV & 2004 Parcelle) were both enjoyable, but not singing

Clouet - tasted across the range. All of the wines were so cold that they were nearly frozen. The Brut NV and 1911 bottlings managed to show very well despite that, but these did suffer from improper handling at the event

Duval Leroy - only showed the Brut NV, but it’s just a solid wine that is also a great value.

Roederer & Roederer Estate - the Roederer NV was really fine, and is back to being a good value. The Roederer Estate wines (Brut and Rose) were both tasty and typically great value. 2004 Cristal was like catnip to the crowd, but is so embryonlic that it’s really hard to judge unless you judge by price.

The Rest

Moet & Chandon - boring - even the 2002 Dom Perignon is boring.

Armand de Brignac - the Ace of Spades likely had its best showing in all the years we’ve tried it, but it is still a non-distinct, run-of-the-mill NV Champagne for people who are impressed by packaging. Buy 4 bottles (or more) of the Billiot!

Many other bottlings that were shown, tasted and left little impression. This captures the essence of the event for me and Laura. Great time as usual.

Sounds interesting, any idea of the base vintages of the NVs, likely 08 for the better ones.

Personally have never tasted a Peters NV that was approaching the level of quality of the Chettilons/Speciale.

I really like Peters NV, but was shocked at the level of this particular bottling. I do believe it was '08 base vintage.

The Chetillons may be shutting down. I recall a 2000 Chetillons from not long ago that was mindblowing.