TNs: Vilmart, Cristal, Marguet, Selyem, Liquid Farm and Rhys

Had Mr Campbell over last night, along with another couple and a bunch of wines. I tried to do some TNs and managed to pull together the 6 below. We did the Vilmart and Cristal side-by-side for contrast, then the others throughout the evening.

  • 2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut - France, Champagne (4/28/2019)
    Picked up a few bottles from Costco this week here in the OC. One comment about the packaging, coming from someone who thinks a lot about the environment. There is a lot of packaging, and 95% of it is paper so that can be be recycled but there must be 2 pounds of it for each bottle, plus the gold plastic wrapping. As a customer, I don’t need this but in an era of marketing and branding, all I can do as one person is make the remark. As to the wine, this is power. Intense lemon, and the aromatic is like smelling the chalk/soil. Zingy, with intensity of length from the palate long into the finish. Some apple, light caramel, pure lemon. This is a helluva wine, and while the 2009 I had earlier this week was more elegant and stony, this is more powerful and citrus infused.
  • 2011 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Coeur de Cuvée - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru (4/28/2019)
    Just picked these up from Envoyer this week. Disgorge date 03/2018, and if my memory is right, this is around 7 g/l dosage. 80% Chard, 20% PN. This started off kind of tropical, with one person in our group calling it pineapple. As it aired further, it showed lime zest with some citrus woven in. With more air, I picked out a custardy tone that is sitting inside some light structure. Finished a little candied too. This doesn’t have the acidity of the intensity and depth of the best years.
  • 2012 Marguet Champagne Grand Cru Extra Brut Les Crayères - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (4/28/2019)
    Pulled this towards the end of the evening as a palate cleanser and farewell to the meal. Disgorged 09/2017, zero dosage with 72% PN, 28% Chard. I continue to love the Marguet wines. Why? Because in this instance (not all, as some can show the lower dosage more evidently), this bottle of Crayeres drinks perfectly without the lack of dosage being part of the discussion. I poured this blind too, as previously we had Vilmart CdC and Cristal, both that have about 7 g/l. For me, what Benoit Marguet shows is that a wine made without dosage can be equally compelling. The balance on this is terrific, with an imprint of raspberry and black cherry, and an aromatic of rye, which is the term Brig used tasting the wine next to me. This continues to drink super at this stage, too.
  • 2016 Liquid Farm Chardonnay La Hermana - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/28/2019)
    Aromatic has a fair amount of toast. The core of the wine drank terrific, with nectarine, yellow apple and river rock/mineral finish. It also reflects to me a more medium weight and it’s built well. This bottle impressed me.
  • 2016 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (4/28/2019)
    This needed air to improve. When it first started out, it was not integrated, tasting a lot like a barrel sample, with cola/root beer, dark fruit, kiwi and dark apple. When I had a another sip a few hours later, it seemed it had woven together better but I didn’t take a final note. FWIW, the 2015 of this wine I fondly recall from over a year ago and that wine was fantastic.
  • 2015 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (4/27/2019)
    Drank this last at the winery, about 18 months ago. I had a strong connection to the quality and class of the wine, so figured it was time to revisit again tonight and see how it is coming along. Sharing this bottle later so will give this TN the best effort I can, knowing I won’t have any left tomorrow. Right out of the chute, this reminds me of the July 2017 bottle. There is a light whiff of stems in the aromatic (20% used if my 2017 note is correct), along with a woodsy note. The palate presence on this is fantastic, with the same depth and purity of red cherry fruit that the 2017 bottle showed. Tangy, with a citrus peel, some red apple, but mainly an earthy cherry that finishes with a complexity that mixes fruit, what I would call loam/soil and a meaty note too. ####! I’ll work in another good size glass later when I am still sharp and jot down a final note, but this is built like a champ. And FWIW, I would not call this closed down or unapproachable, as it is very expressive and giving, with some tannin on the edges…and one final comment, from the last ounce of the wine the following AM served at 64f. Just a little added texture to the cherry fruit, which remains intense, framed up by the complexity of the soil’loamy note, and the acidity. Wonderful version of Alpine.

Posted from CellarTracker

if you cellar Cristal, leave the plastic paper on. It protects the wine from damage by light that the clear glass does not prevent.

Thanks for the excellent notes Frank. I could not agree more about the packaging for some of these wines.

I haven’t had the 08 Cristal and likely won’t; I can barely justify the price of the 09, and could not bring myself to spend more on the 08. I am glad I have a few bottles of the 09 though, even though they reached beyond my comfort zone

Great notes, thanks. Really happy to hear such praise for the Marguet as I will be opening it alongside 5 other Champagnes on Tuesday.

Frank, which cristal would you say has more depth, layers & complexity?

Alan, thanks for that reminder. I didn’t remove it when I put them in the cellar.

Neal, I don’t usually play in this pricing space either but with the commitment Roderer made to the farming and care of their acreage, and with the way the 2009 showed for me on this past Monday, I decided to get the wines and make the investment.

Ikka, please share your notes after Tuesday. You often drink in the same style of Champagne I enjoy so I appreciate your notes.

Yong, I personally liked the 2009 better, as it seemed to be more refined and subtle, versus the power of the 2008. I don’t have the years of experience that some have around here with Champagne but I know what balance for me tastes like and the 2009 was beautifully balanced.

Oh, you know I will. It’s six rather intriguing wines that I have not tried before, should be a good one.

Lovely Champagnes, great notes. Do you prefer your reds/whites young or did it just happen that way?

Also, tfti :wink:

Curtis, what is ‘tfti’? Thanks for the info–this is my guess.

To your question, I prefer younger wines and despite my palate shift over the past decade to where it is today, one thing that has remained is my preference to drink wines younger. I just don’t care for old wine flavors, and enjoy the vibrant fruit, acid and youth of younger wine. And, I tend to do quite well with wines of structure, and wines that people will call structured and such, I find that structure to kind of disappear on my palate. This is my sincere response, as none of what I am saying here is meant to be sarcastic.

That Marguet is world class.

  • 2006 Fontanafredda Barolo Serralunga d’Alba - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (4/28/2019)
    Decent wine and good QPR. Definitely old world aromas of saddle. Color looks to changing towards brick already but the there’s plenty of structure. Berries and floral notes abound.
  • 2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut - France, Champagne (4/28/2019)
    Surprised by the dosage as this drinks very linear with strong lemon and bracing acidity. Very clean. I prefer this with food.
  • 2011 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Coeur de Cuvée - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru (4/28/2019)
    Nice but not electric. Missing the verve of past vintages. There’s a bit of candy midpalate which is polarizing. It didn’t both me much.
  • 2012 Marguet Champagne Grand Cru Extra Brut Les Crayères - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru (4/28/2019)
    A spectacular wine. Raw dough nose but quickly evolves into a dark rye or pumpernickel, magical sparkler. One of my favorites.
  • 2016 Liquid Farm Chardonnay La Hermana - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (4/28/2019)
    This showed very well. A smoky flint aroma combined with beautiful fruit makes for a wine drinking very well right out of the shoot.

Posted from CellarTracker

That Marguet sounds delicious. Thanks for posting, guys. [cheers.gif]

Neal, I am in love with the 2009. It is almost “plush” for a Cristal.

I’ve had the 09 only once but it absolutely blew me away

Going from people’s descriptions of 08 and 09 Cristal, I think 09 is more suited for me. Bought a case of 09 for $160.

Excellent price! My original bottles were $140 (envoyer) but that was long ago

Wow!!! $140 is in my opinion dirt cheap.

Great notes Frank. Drinking some pretty serious stuff there. Happy your bottle of the 08` Cristal showed some pizzaz as the 3 I’ve had have been super tight and not very giving although there was enough to suggest this will be a major player once the game gets in to later stages… I finally shut down all thoughts of opening another for a couple of years or more.

I`m working on coming down for another OC brothers dinner out in June. See you soon my friend.

Good to know! Also, tfti stands for ‘thanks for the invite’-- it’s said in jest, indicating you had a good time and you were reasonably closeby. Oftentimes, the people who say it (like me) were busy anyway. [cheers.gif]


Nice notes. One thing I will say about Marguet is that the wines are absolutely delicious when young, have great natural sweetness (from ripe grapes and residual sugar), and do well even with a low/no Sulfur regime. I haven’t necessarily found that they really improve much with age and I am not sure I would age most of them, though only time will really tell that as Benoit hasn’t really been doing his ‘thing’ long enough for us to do anything but hazard a guess. What can be said is that regardless of whether they age/improve, they are very tasty wines right out of the gate.

Interesting thoughts on the 2011 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee. I have had it a few times in the past month (only in Champagne either at the winery, at a tasting, or from bottles purchased from the winery). While I didn’t think it was a truly great Coeur, I thought it was very good and if anything lacked a little bit in the stuffing department. Acidity and structure wasn’t an issue for me and normally this isn’t an issue with 2011s. To me, what 2011s often lack is proper ripeness and overall balance.

Brad, not to worry…i don’t age anything for all that long so all is well with Marguet. [wink.gif]

PS…i just bought some of the 2014 Vilmart GCdO. You tasted that in your recent journeys?

Curtis, next time we have an event or something put together, i will shoot you a note.