TN: NV José Michel & Fils Champagne Cuvée du Père Houdart

I like Jose Michel champagnes in general, but this was an interesting trip.

  • NV José Michel & Fils Champagne Cuvée du Père Houdart - France, Champagne (12/29/2018)
    I like Jose Michel champagnes in general and this was an interesting trip. This opened with great promise, it had a nice toasty palate with a slight oxidative note and lemon and honey. Definitely get some on The Meunier coming through. It tasted more like a Loire Valley farmer fizz or Jura sparklet, actually. However, with air, it took on a greater oxidative character and threw a sour-yeasty note that was almost cider-like and not entirely pleasing. Not sure where I land on this. Unless this was an off bottle, but I don’t get that sense… And not a great buy in the $60-$70 range.

Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks for the note Dennis. I took a flyer on a couple of these even with the mixture of notes on CT. I also like Jose Michel. They do great work with Pinot Meunier. I like some adventure in wine so I’ll keep this for a night when I’m feeling curious.

I believe this is something like a solera wine using lots of library stuff from way back?

I got a couple of these as well, I guess we’ll see how it is.


Do you know what release you have. I have always liked this wine and the latest release was no different though it is an older blend with a weaker base vintage and didn’t stand up to being open for more than a few hours. The current blend is based on 2011 for 40% and then 12% each from 1984, 1982, 1976, 1975, and 1971. All of the reserve wines are actually Champagnes of both the disgorged and undisgorged variety that are blended in and see a third fermentation. It is a 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 40% Pinot Meunier blend.

The nose shows a good bit of spicy, caramel apple, butter, honey, and biscuit dough. The palate brings in more freshness, grip, and a nice kick of minerality. I enjoyed it, but will note that after four to six hours of being open, going on and off ice and half the bottle consumed, it took on a very musky, mature character that was no longer pleasant.

Brad, I suspect Dennis bought from Envoyer in early 2018; at least I did.

Note: from offer: "Vintages: 1971,1975,1976,1982,1984, with a touch of younger vintage juice. 40% de Pinot Meunier, 40% de Pinot Noir, 20% de Chardonnay. Dosage of 5 gr/liter.” So perhaps the same wine you are describing.

Have a few of these from Envoyer and a local distribution (both the same assemblage released in 2018) but have not sampled one yet. I look forward to trying one of these so thanks for the note!

In general I find the Jose Michel wines underwhelming, lacking a bit of depth and character. I actually poured out some of a mag of the NV Rose last year, however the second mag was a bit nicer. I think of Jose Michel and Andre Clouet in the same level.

I really like the Michel bdb and special club

Tried this recently as well and also did not really like it.


Thanks for all the replies, folks.
Brad- I bought as Maureen stated, from Envoyer, probably the wine you described.
That musky character is what got about an hour in. Seems there are various takes on this wine.
I liked it a lot, the first 30mins, and then it became somewhat strange and off-putting.
Seems there are various takes on this wine from the lot of us.
I probably wouldn’t be a repeat buyer on this. I have one more bottle I may just leave it alone for a while and see what’s up.

We tried a bottle about 10 days ago, also from the aforementioned Envoyer batch. We really enjoyed it, didn’t see the cidery note you mentioned Dennis or the muskiness that you did Brad, however we sank our bottle very quickly, well under an hour I’d say and in quite narrow Jamesse style glasses, so there wasn’t a lot of aeration going on.

I’m guessing that third fermentation for the already disgorged part of the assemblage would have a somewhat undesirable effect?

I’m not sure I’d be a repeat buyer as I think it is still a touch expensive (and CellarTracker users seem to concur almost unequivocally on this point), but I’m glad I have one more.


I think we have had the same experience. My take is that oxygen is not really a friend to this wine and it is going to go off the cliff at a different point depending on how long the bottle sits open, how much is left, the temperature it is kept at, glass it is consumed from, etc…

It also brings up a good question. If the wine is enjoyable for 30 minutes and then falls apart how do you judge it? What if you only have a chance to consume it shortly after opening and before it ever falls apart?

Julian - I’m not so sure the third fermentation is the problem as other folks have done stuff like this without ill effects, but I do think the very mature wines including the problematic vintage of 1984 don’t help things out. Keeping all the Champagnes in bottles, disgorging them, and then blending them can be challenging when the wines are old and make up 60% of the final blend.


I tried this a month ago, with the same impression. My tasting note was short, probably a reminder to myself not to buy again:

  • NV José Michel & Fils Champagne Cuvée du Père Houdart - France, Champagne (12/1/2018)
    Vintages 1971,1975,1976,1982,1984, with a touch of younger vintage juice. 40% Pinot Meunier, 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Dosage 5 gr/liter

Intense and toasty, but I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped.


Good points, Brad. Thanks for the thoughts. I look forward now to my next bottle to study a bit more. I will say I opened in a group party setting, I wasn’t sitting and studying it, which I will do next time.

That’s exactly what happens often when opening very old still wines. You get a small window of something interesting and then they fade out quickly. Somehow they’ve created a wine that acts like a very old wine but does include some pieces of very old wines. It’s interesting.

Good discussion on this interesting wine. Didn’t realize I have 6 bottles and it doesn’t sound like I should hold many for any appreciable time, so I need to do some taste testing soon. I’m just getting over a head cold and my palate isn’t great, but maybe this Friday.

Actually chilling one of these now for later tonight. Interested to try even more based on this thread.

Please let us know how it shows. Thanks!

That is a fascinating assortment of years. Its been a while since I worked with Jose Michel wines, but I remember loving them.

I’ve been intrigued by some of the blending experiments over the years with older and newer vintages. Krug and Billiot Cuvee Laetitia (pre-problems) were fascinating. I’ve also started following more recent ‘Solera’ examples - Selosse (when I can afford), Moussé, Seleque and others. Just got Huré Freres new solera release and very much looking forward to it.

Also have one of these chilling amongst others for NYE… sounds like it’s fortunate that it probably won’t spend a lot of time getting air before it’s gone

Opened a bottle yesterday and finished it tonight. I did not find a place where this fell down into something less than a somewhat typical Champagne expression. In fact, this took a bit of time to open and remained consistent over two nights.

I think it’s solid. Nothing really grabbed me about it. I did appreciate that it is somewhat more about secondary characters than straight up fruit. But it didn’t rise above say a NV Bollinger or the like.

NV José Michel & Fils Champagne Cuvée du Père Houdart - Came out of the bottle initially tight. Not very expressive. 10-15 minutes later I was getting lightly spiced aromatic golden apples. More toasty yellow apples on the palate. Just enough richness to keep it from being lean. There is a bitterness that is on the very edge of everything. Some hints of wood. Pretty good. I was worried reading some of the other notes but I enjoyed this. Matching expression on night 2.