Which Champagne are you drinking?

Weird, I love the 09 Cristal. I like it more than all recent vintages of Cristal since 2000 except for the 13, for current drinking. Probably drank a case of these in the last 3 years and a couple mags. Bought about 10 cases of this from Vino Volo back when they had 50% off for >3 bottles for grande reserve members.


I know you love it which why each time I open one I keep hoping I will have an experience similar to yours.

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I’ve found it better from 750 than mag, fwiw.

I will open another 750 soon.

Interesting because this was awesome on release and a year+ after. I have only had 750ml though.

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You were missed and thought of Chris.

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My first go-round with this producer:


Any note?

Thanks to Frank as always for hosting a great event. I had a lot of fun hanging with my long time homies and getting to finally drink next to Blake.

I want to say that maybe we caught a lot of these wines in an awkward phase but then again, maybe Astrid spread her funk amongst us. I found most of the more prominent labels in the lineup showed less than harmoniously. I also found that many of the wines at the table I also had in my cellar. Since most of those I’ve slated for more age, color me less than concerned.

All that said, everything had its merits. The Gosset brought that “there are no great wines, only great bottles” character and topped everything for me. No contest really. The Bereche was extra pretty the next day. Both Delamottes were tasty. Not surprised I liked the Gimonnet. Its relaxed nicely since I last had it. The Savart was more compelling the more time I spent with it. Was more surprised about struggling some with the Krug than the DP. I like Krug aged but don’t always feel its required whereas I always feel that way about DP.

2012 CHAMPAGNES BLIND - Frank Murray's Casa (6/8/2024)

  • 2012 Dom Pérignon Champagne - France, Champagne
    Served blind. I saw the capsule foil and ID'd it. Showing reduction immediately with oaked sulfur like notes. Precise with a long, dry finish. A more classic sweet-tart finish later on. Overall, this was just closed to me. I'm not all that shocked given the bottle. If anyone kept the rest of this bottle, I'm sure its drinking better today. I like DP with age anyway so my bottle was slated for a long sleep anyway.
  • 2012 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé - France, Champagne
    Served blind. Blake's second wine was quite a bit more friendly. I think the whole table had positive things to say after a sip of this. Nose of golden fruits with a bigger apple note later. Focused and in a big house style. Hints of oak with lean, chalky finish. Friendly now and likely even better in the future. Enjoyed.
  • NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Édition 168ème - France, Champagne
    Served blind. Initially a subtle nose of orange peel and flowers. The nose came up a little bit funky with more air and the oak was making itself known. Lean body with a hint of VA. More oak here but the length picks up later. I wrote "natural" to indicate to myself it might be a newer school thing. The reveal was the wrong sort of surprise for most of us. Maybe its closed like the DomP but struggling with a Krug like is not something any of us expected.
  • 2012 Savart Champagne Expression Nature - France, Champagne
    Served blind. This showed like a mature wine initially. Given that we were only drinking 2012's I was perplexed. Not prematurely oxidized. Just aged. Given that we found out its a no dose wine it becomes another data point in my belief that wines of no dosage should be handled differently in terms of aging. Complex nose with a distinct coconut like note. Stony with some oak and the aforementioned oxidation. Lean bodied with more stony notes. A touch of VA later. The most adventurous wine of the day. Even with the oddities there is something compelling here.
  • 2012 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay - France, Champagne
    Served blind. This was my contribution and I was happy its showing well. Cream like nose. Very pure Chardonnay expression on the palate, rich yet focused. Long and chalky. Complete and open now. The focused power of the fruit makes this fly. This has relaxed in a way I hoped it would five years back.
  • 2012 Veuve Fourny & Fils Champagne Premier Cru Cuvée du Clos Notre Dame - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
    Served blind. Some banana, diacetyl notes on the nose. Rich and broadly fruited. Lots packed in here. Not quite smoothly integrated to the long, acidic finish. I imagine a few more years of age will smooth that out. This wine's best days are in the future I imagine. Its packed with fruit that wasn't all that expressive yesterday.
  • 2012 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé - France, Champagne
    Served blind. Two of the same in the lineup, testing all of us. Bright nose but tight with a sweet tart quality. I was really getting big house vibes this time. Juicy and bright palate with some soda notes and touch of oak. Somewhat polished. I liked this again. This style is always better with plenty of age for my palate. Good potential.
  • 2012 Bérêche et Fils Champagne Premier Cru Le Cran Ludes - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
    Served blind. Very golden in the glass with a hint of salmon. Peach nectar nose with a funky note. I immediately thought of Pinot Meunier. Somewhat tart with notes of wood. The mousse picks up roughness towards the finish. The complexity comes out as it sat in the glass was bring me around to this. It became more balanced, showing off smooth lines on a rich body. This was another one that showed a touch of advanced qualities.
    Took the remnants home. Checked this morning. The mousse is pretty much gone surprisingly but the palate was gorgeous. Maybe it needs more aging? Tough to say exactly what's up but there is some compelling fruit in here. Another one I was glad to get a preview on.
  • 2012 Pehu Simonet Champagne Grand Cru Fins Lieux No 6 Verzenay Millésime - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
    Served blind. Very bright with a nose of peach nectar and ginger ale signaling some oak. The fruit is fresh and almost like raw grapes. Bright, dense nectar qualities again. Clean and a bit tight. Somewhat sweet-tart indicating a higher than normal dosage for a FMIII wine. Another wine that might benefit from more rest but the fruit really grabs your attention. Sip slowly.
  • 2012 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Grand Cru Les Chemins d'Avize - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
    Served blind. I struggled here some and was bummed upon reveal. The nose showed mushrooms, a hint of VA and a peppery like note. Prominent sweetness on entry with with somewhat rough mousse. Soft then rough. Lingers though. I know they get great fruit from this site but we had trouble finding a complete wine here today. Leaving mine lay for a bit longer.
  • 2012 Gosset Champagne Brut Grand Millésime - France, Champagne
    Served blind. Easily wine of the day for me. This was on fire. As soon as I stuck my nose in here I thought Arnie brought something big time. Just turns out we might have hit the perfect window for this wine. Earthy and complex nose. The palate shows depth with rich, young fruit. Chalky finish. Just gorgeous yesterday. Really fun given some of the Goliaths in the lineup to see a label somewhat forgotten in the current meta, slay them handily.
  • 2012 Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut Rosé Vintage - France, Champagne
    Served blind. Reduction again. Nice stony notes with evidence of oak. Nicely fresh. The fruit falls off a bit but the finish is long. More lean than you would expect given the source. I've been watching the vintage bottlings from this house again as there is evidence of renewed focus on quality. This was just so-so for me though.
  • 2012 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé - France, Champagne
    Bonus bottle. Big and broad. Strong cherry quality. Nicely grippy. Solid all around.
  • 2012 Guy Charlemagne Champagne Grand Cru Mesnillésime Vieilles Vignes Blanc de Blancs - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
    Brought as a backup but opened when someone else sent in their backup. Subtle nose showing a cheesy/leesy thing with a big apple note. Pure, crisp and young. Chalky yet tart. This was solid. Might have benefited from more air. Hopefully Frank will check in on it today.

Posted from CellarTracker


Still enjoying Agrapart and summers a coming.


Very reticent bouquet. Pillowy and a tiny bit sweet on the palate. Really prominent blackberry jam note. Bubbles almost feel like bottled at a slightly lower atmospheric pressure. Very pleasant but not complex. Best with spicy or salty food, I would think. Not a great paring with chicken shawarma, which overpowered it.


Interesting to see the diversity of opinions on the 2012 Gosset (the only one of these wines I have purchased) probably reflecting one’s taste for sweetness. As I do not usually appreciate low dosage Champagne, I’m closer to Cris than Frank, but it didn’t stand out to me when I had it a month ago.


I didn’t remember any bad comments from Saturday and I hadn’t really read the other notes until now. Astrid’s quote doesn’t sound bad to me - “Sweet et al. Sweet orange. Sweet lemon. Lemon oil. Creamy sweet lemon curd. No.” :laughing:

As with many things in when we like to say we don’t like tasting certain things in wine but often will love a glass of something that contains that exact thing we say we don’t like. Oak is the one I see people most often want others to know they don’t want any on their wine yet all of their best memories are of wines raised in wood. I think dosage is often that way where we say we won’t like too much or too little until we do.


It sounds like a lot of the wines could have benefited from some air time.

I’ve only had Krug 168 from 375, Salon, and Comtes lately and all 3 (especially Salon) needed a bunch of air.

It’s always a treat to read your notes that exude honesty, integrity and sincerity. Astrid.

After reading those of the others as well re this event, it is obvious how individualized each of our palates are and our way of expressing it in note form. And that is really what wine is all about. My pear is someone else’s apple and we are both right.

As the ole saying goes, “Drink what you like and like what you drink” and these kind of tastings are allowing us to get clearer about what that translates into.



It was a pleasure to share the afternoon with you Cris and I appreciate your technical assessments of many of the wines as it provides extended observations and awareness for future exploits on them.

After reading notes from Frank, Astrid and you, it is fun to see how we all interpreted and expressed each one.

As we all have experienced, sometimes our palates seem a bit off or different and I certainly felt that was true for me and just read Astrid’s similar remarks for her on that day; so, we have even more variables to consider, not to mention the influence of the food we are consuming as well as our mood and demeanor.

I look forward to the next time Cris.


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Super quick post and amazingly thorough and complete notes as usual brother Frank.

I love the diversity of interpretations 4 of us have shared.

I’m still pondering what I can conclude re the 2012 vintage at this point as it’s still not clear. I’ve had some stellar bottles and some not so good ones that most likely will be good with more time.

I just read the review of 2012 on Wine Searcher that Astrid cited and it hails the vintage as being one of the greatest in decades and I’m thinking no way, especially in comparison to 2002, 2008, 2013 and more.

Regardless, it was a fun event with the fellowship of the participants being the highlight for me. Thanks for making it happen.



As I said in my comment when we were all around the table on Saturday, I do feel very fortunate to be able to assemble the group we had, and that we can keep doing it. In various permutations of attendance, we get such a rich mix of people and palates that form the people fabric of these tables. Example–with Arnie he tends to drink on the higher price point, within a circle of GM growers. So, I know when we drink together, he will often bring what he loves, and then share that POV. On one occasion, it was 2008 Dom Rose, or Krug Rose 25eme. So I get exposed to these. Example–with you, I often get to drink GM, as that is what tends to fire your palate. I’ve had Comtes a # of times with you, and it provides me the shot to drink it, or it be Delamotte, or Heidseick Blanc des Millénaires. Or Astrid or Cris–they drink much wider than I even in the Grower space, so I will consistently get exposed to things that keep me learning. Ramon–a lot like Arnie, but he’ll also bang out Vilmart, or other cool grower stuff that is in my lane. All of this adds a rich diversity of what cannot be accmplished simply by drinking on my own, and for that I am very grateful.

I will also add that these larger tastings (I think we did 16 wines on Saturday) are challenging. I work to uncover what’s in my glass in an honest way, then share it with notes, but it’s hard to remain fresh at that many bottles. So, the value of having wines leftover for the following day, to work through those quietly and singly is how I can test my own assessment from the previous day with retastes on the wines. I retasted nearly half of the Saturday lineup, and then can reinforce or edit my assessment as I did above.

Finally, I dunno about vintage pronouncements, where someone will broadly assess a vintage, for better or worse. The counter of that for me is to ignore that kind of assessment and just drink the producers I drink, vintage after vintage. For me, I tend to find more value and learning in doing something on a vertical fashion. I enjoy that more, and I just don’t believe I have the will nor skill to taste a # of wines and then express something about a vintage in a reliable, accurate way. I’d rather just stay the course, drink the vintage for what is there, and put my faith in those I buy from that they will make the best of what they have, or just find a way to blend it in (or away) from their craft.


I think for growers that makes some sense, for grande marques, it would only make sense if they really did only make the wine in years where it was worth making.

You are seeing wines like 2011 Krug, 2011 Taittinger CDC, and 2015 Cristal which IMO should never have been made, especially at the price point at which they are trading.


Michael i am curious. Aside from Bouchard that i know you like, what other growers do you buy and drink? Or do you mostly stay with Bouchard and Roederer?