I hesitate to post this, because I feel a bit less confident/consistent in my Champagne notes than say red Bordeaux (where even if I differ with majority, I differ consistently!). But this was a really fine event, with 30 or so NY wine geeks, and figure if I post here someone can fill in some gaps. There was 5 tables, and I tasted some (though not all) wines from 2 besides my own.
Tuesday night Betsy and I went to Eleven Madison Park for another in their series of Collectors Dinners. Theme was Champagne. Daniel Humm did a really great job with the food, the biggest (only) problem was there was just too much:
Amuse of a lobster bisque with sweet corn
Fruits de Mer- smoked salmon, smoked sturgeon, Peekytoe crab salad, potato salad, Kunamoto oysters (vast quantities, I could have stopped there)
Poached salmon with a horseradish/dill/cucumber sauce
Chicken with summer truffles, purslane, & potatoes
Strawberry shortcake with strawberry sorbet (I don’t eat desserts but Betsy loved the sorbet)
Everything was delicious, service was excellent, a very good job.
I brought a mag and a rose, we shared with our table and I did a bit of visiting with others I knew at nearby tables. A pretty good assortment overall:
One wine I neglected to get any info on was the house Champagne they poured as we arrived, before table’s wines were opened. No notes, but memory is of a fairly interesting wine, light bodied but with some depth and nutty/sherry tones (not oxidized, more intentional I’d guess). (edited to add this was the NV Champagne Pouillon Brut Vigneron, thanks to Michel)
NV Deutz Brut Classic
Nice NV, biscuits and apples, a little citrus, nice way to start evening. B
1990 Pommery Cuvee Louise (from magnum)
I was pleased with how this showed, it was just a bit more mature than I expected. I would have expected from mag this would be on upswing, I found fully mature though not at all fading. Quiet subdued mousse, yeast biscuits, fresh pear, and a little hint of almond. Nice length. I enjoyed and enjoyed sharing. A-
1996 Pol Roger Rose
A nice bottle, still young, though I don’t think it will ever quite match the 90 PR Rose, one of my all time favorite bargains in Champagne. Strawberries and cherries, a little brioche, a more delicately styled rose. Great with salmon. B+
1999 Veuve Cliquot (gold label)
Rounder style, applesauce and dough, fresh, not very long but ok. B
NV Krug Grande Cuvee
Big, toasty, full apple turnover fruit. Bringer says this was a recent purchase, but it tastes like it has some bottle age. Our table had some foodie regulars at 11 Mad, not wine geeks, this guy got at Wegmans in NJ. My guess is Wegmans doesn’t sell a load of Krug, so maybe released a couple years ago. B+
From other tables
1985 Charles Heidsieck "Champagne Charlie"
A bit looser/older tasting than a bottle few months ago, citrusy, yeasty, pretty good. B/B+
1981 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rose
Is 1981 a great Champagne vintage? I dunno, but I really liked this. Just a bit of petillance remaining, some nutty oxidative notes, but underneath a really classy wine. Strawberries, honeycomb, orange zest. Mineral on finish. I’m actually not usually a fan of a lot of age in bubbly, 15-20 years is my idea of mature, but this was one of my favorites. A-
1996 Pol Roger Winston Churchill
Craig thought this a little sweaty, me -I just liked it, a lot. Young, fresh, Fuji apples, toast, chalky minerality. Power and elegance. Needs time but maybe my WOTN. A-/A
NV Vouette et Sorbee "Blanc d’Argile"
(I missed noting vintage, friend tells me he thinks it’s labelled NV but all 2004 juice). High acids, zippy, a Mosel (or Savennieres) of a Champagne. Very different from anything else I taste this night. Crisp green apples, minerals. Cool wine. B+
1999 Aubry “La Nombre d’Or” Veteres Vites
If I understand correctly, this contains all SIX legal varieties. I know, we all think there are 3, but apparently there are 3 others grandfathered in (will look up) Herbs, apples, green plums, medium bodied. Pretty good,not just a curiosity. B+/B
There was a Selosse that had lost part of label in ice bucket, so unsure of details. Big, lots of toasty notes, nutty yet young. I think a lot of people really loved this, I liked, but not my favorite style. B/B+ (edited to add this was the Substance)
There wasn’t a wine that I disliked that I tried, luckily Betsy was driving. Fun evening, and 11 Mad staff did a great job.
Grade disclaimer: I’m a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn’t drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.