TN: Lots of Champagne at 11 Madison

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)

Our table:
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.

Thanks Dale, my limited experience with 1996 Pol Roger WC would indicate that it will be great.

Glad to see the 1990 Pommery show well.

Nice Dale. The problem with the last couple of dinners is that there was not enough food. Better too much than not enough. Based on everyone’s positive comments I will again sign up for the next one. I’m hoping it’s burgs, bordeaux or rhone.


also 1998 Pol Roger Winston Churchill is terrific!


I’ve only done last 2 (Riesling and Champagne). Riesling had plenty of food- small portions of tarte flambe and foie gras, but healthy serving of mussels in curry & frites, and plenty of boudin blanc with a cabbage/potato side. As you know, I’m not exactly a petite/delicate eater, and I was satisfied. This time, small amuse of lobster with corn and curry, but 2 large plates of smoked fish, 2 bowls of crab salad, 2 bowls potato for a table of six (plus couple oysters each). I’d guess a 5 oz portion of poached salmon each, a half breast plus a bowl with a leg for every two (and loads of summer truffle). Next is Burgundy, probably Sept

Indeed, it was quite nice on Saturday at our vertical. The 1996 was not showing as well as we’d hoped, it was something we were looking forward to.

And I agree with Paul, the last 2 times I went (Burgundy and Piedmont), the portions were small and the quality was not as evident as it is in the main room. I’ll stick to the regular menu and BYO ($45 now).

Bummed I missed this one… I am dying to try a Vouette & Sorbee after all the stuff Peter Liem has written about them.

Bouley is now also doing these same type of dinners.

I brought this as part of a Selosse and disciples theme and thought it was awesome. Better than the Selosse, Prevost - “Lo Closerie” and Bouchard Roses de Jeanne “La Haute Lemble.”

Wow! They upped corkage to $45!!! I still remember the good old days of $25 and no sommelier fee. I guess the economy is not affecting them.

Not a great vintage - most houses didn’t bottle a vintage '81. A few that did made some good ones though, including Taittinger.

Thanks for writing up a recap of the evening.

Really? Better than Selosse? That’s saying a lot, I might have to look it up.

Robert, thanks for the V&S. I wouldn’t have pegged it as a Selosse-esque wine, but I am not so up on Champagne.

Ray, thanks. I didn’t remember ever running across an '81, but thought maybe it was my scant knowledge.

As to food quality, I liked the Riesling dinner, quality was high, but it was more bistro cooking (but at that price and no corkage I was very pleased). This was more like dining room.

I am a huge Selosse fan and also brought the Selosse Extra Brut. I was just so struck by the uniquessness of the Vouette & Sorbee that it might be a bit of hyperbole that is was better than the Selosse.

If you have not seen Peter Liem’s write-up check it out:" onclick=";return false;

I don’t think Vouette et Sorbee is anything like Selosse. They both use oak and low to no dosage, but that is about as far as the similarities go IMO. The wines aren’t really my style, but they are well made and extremely interesting. For a real trip try the Saignee de Sorbee Rose - it is like no other Champagne out there.


what, no comment about the '96 Churchill? [basic-smile.gif]

Clearly this must have been an off bottle! [wow.gif]

Good notes. I did like the 96 SWC quite a bit, despite my comment. I had it a couple of weeks earlier and thought this was not quite as good as that bottle, but it may be the best '96 I’ve had.

I have a few notes on wines from our table at home that I’ll try to find. I also noted a good but surprisingly mature bottle of DP '88 and a very good, completely mature bottle of the Deutz 150th Anniversary cuvee (a blend of, I think, '79, '81 and '82). I liked the '90 Cuvee Louise a lot but was a little surprised that it seemed to be at peak.

Food was excellent and very plentiful. I have no idea what the economics of the event were but I would be surprised if 11 Mad made a profit on this.

Ray–yes, Bouley is doing something similar, but at a MUCH higher price.


I like the '96 SWC a lot - much more than Brad, therefore my comment to him - but for me it’s not near the top of the '96 pyramid.

Have you had Krug, Salon, Krug CdM, Goisses etc from the vintage ?

Also, I didn’t see the price for Bouley’s dinners - how much are they ?

Bouley is now also doing these same type of dinners.

Not exactly. I believe that the EMP dinners are supposed to be rustic and economical ($75 if I remember).
Bouley is $350. I guess its fine if its really an extra-ordinary dinner, but at $350/person (+ the cost of your wine) you could order the tasting menu at almost any restaurant in the City, even in that class, for the same price and just pay corkage.

Its certainly not a value offering.