As the weather turns a shade cooler, leaves begin to fall and everything takes on a sepia hue, we thought we'd take a look at a few of our favourite Champagnes to suit the season.
Autumn days call for a bolder style of Champagne, so put aside your young Côte des Blancs Chardonnays for the moment and indulge yourself in some of these rich and rewarding cuvées...
1. Remi Leroy Extra Brut
We visited Remi a few years ago in Meurville and totally fell for his juicy, rich, characterful wines. They exude generosity and it was clear that his skill both in the vineyards and the winery were going to bring something special. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is the rich style you can expect from the southerly Aube – the colour in the glass says it all! – but, nonetheless, it still remains faithful to the terroir, holding good minerality and length. There are also some lovely chalky notes and impressive texture too.
2. Jean Velut Lumiere et Craie Sip Edition
Utterly gorgeous wine specially aged and disgorged exclusively for Sip.
Bottled in 2013, as a perpetual reserve, then disgorged 8 years later in March 2021. Gorgeously generous nose full of brioche, honey, salted caramel and this brilliant fresh, chalky element which perfectly balances those two contrasting components. The wine has a Charles Heidsieck like element to it with this stunning buttery play and wonderful sweet elegance on the finish.
3. Paul Clouet Prestige
100% Pinot Noir from the vineyard of Les Hauts Chemin and the brilliant 2008 and 2007 vintages. This is so good! A delicious nose full of brambles, soft fudge and stewed redcurrants. The first sip is deliciously creamy but juxtaposed with that is this brilliant cutting 08 acidity which bridges the palate nicely linking up perfectly with the linear aspect of 07. There is significant round weight to the mid palate which leaves you lapping for more. The finish is so delicious with this chewy fudge texture and a dense sugary sweetness.
4. Caillez Lemaire Jadis
Legends of Marne Meunier, the wines that Virginie and Laurent put out at Caillez Lemaire are always unlike anything else and are often the talking point of tastings with sommeliers and Champagne enthusiasts alike. The Jadis 2008 was one of our favourite wines of last year but, as you might expect from a hot vintage, the 2009 is an even richer, warmer experience. A 60/30/10 blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, there is a lovely use of oak and a persistent, elegant palate full of texture too.
5. Bertrand Delespierre Saignee Des Terres Amoureuses 2013
You might associate rosé with sunny, summer days but this is such a wonderfully rich example it cries out for a crackling fire and a charcuterie board. 100% Pinot Noir, 8g/ltr. Macerated for 24 hours and vinified in large oak barrels. Beautiful to behold in a clear bottle there is a fabulously juicy front end, with apples, loganberry and spice on the palate – perfect autumnal flavours! There is also amazing balance for such a rich wine with brilliant salinity on the finish. A proper explosion of a wine and one I urge you to try.
6. Louis Brochet HBH 2008
Another wine from the legendary Brochet family that dominate the village of Écueil in the Montage de Reims. This is proper old school vintage epic! A stunning blend of 50/50 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay, 3g/ltr, the nose is a wonderful link to the past! It reminds me of the time I fell in love with vintage Champagne, all those years ago with butter, shiitake mushrooms and brioche. The palate is equally warm and rich with this yummy, moreish mid-to-late. It's so luxurious and inviting and absolutely perfect to tuck into when it's cold outside.
7. Maurice Grumier Solera
Made from vines in the village of Festigny and Venteuil, a blend of all three grapes, expertly put together and aged in a solera from 2011 back to 2005. Stupidly rich nose full of stewed apple, apricot and plum with a hint of condensed milk. The palate shows an amazing level of structure with this lovely, natural and deep sweetness which creates a nicely sustained and lifting finish. Complex, aromatic with notes of tobacco, chocolate and coffee; saline and sweet lemon with this crunchy, blackcurrant texture on the finish. This is SO good!