Sip Champagnes

Vintage Champagne Exploration

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One winemaker. One Maison. One expression. One year. If you want to truly understand what the essence of a Champagne is and the critical role climate plays, then start with a vintage. 

This, our 5th vintage case, covers the years 2011 through to 2016 with six superb wines that display their own distinctive characteristics, whilst remaining wedded to the weather of the year they embody.

Thoughts on each vintage:

2011 - A challenging vintage which created some vegetal elements in the wines. Maisons that could select well created lovely wines.

2012 - One of the great vintages of the last few decades. Great balance and fruit forward.

2013 - A cooler year and a late harvest led to a classic Champagne vintage.

2014 - A year of alternating weather patterns saved by a hot September.

2015 - A hot year creating a great vintage with ample acidity.

2016 - Yields down, but with perfect weather for ripening. A special year that some have compared to the great 1988.

 

Pierre Legras Idee de Voyage 2011

Pure Chardonnay made mainly from La Partelaine, a vineyard sitting to the West of the most northerly village in the Cote de Blancs; Chouilly. The nose shows a wonderful candied lemon note alongside beautiful floral elements of buckthorn, rose and mint. The palate is fresh, creamy with a perfect fusion of fruit and minerality. Balanced, chalky with amazing length.  This is how great 2011s can be!

Louis Brochet Extra Noir 2012

We totally fell in love with this wine the first time we had it. A beautiful use of oak linking the juicy fruit with a nice, complex sweetness on the mid to late. We were really impressed with the structure of it and just how easily the delicious fruit came across. Although not labelled a vintage, if you have a sneaky look at the back label you will see that it is pure 2012.

Bertrand Delespierre Origines Croisées 2013

A delightful 50/50 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend with 6g/ltr, vinified in large oak barrels. This is a wine brimming with orange peel notes and an exotic, peppery edge. The classic profile of the 2013 vintage is captured so well with great energy and tension to the palate which lingers beautifully.

Vincent Charlot L’Or de Basses Ronces 2014

From a vintage that tested the mettle of vignerons, this 100% Chardonnay really shines.  Made from a tiny plot in Mardeuil, just west of Epernay it’s a wine with a bold personality to match the winemaker himself. The mousse is incredible with fresh citrus notes and hints of nuts and the palate shows such a warm tropical side with this brooding rich and powerful finish.

Domaine Vincey La Premiere 2015 

The second release of their superlative debut wine and an even better vintage. 50% fermented in 228L wooden barrels and 50% steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation. There is an intense mineral nose with a floral element. The palate displays ripe peach, apple and citrus aromas and, as with their previous release, the oak does a fantastic job at bringing this playful fruit forward without being overpowering, creating a layered and complex experience.

Barrat-Masson Nuances de Carnoie

A stunning blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from our sole producer in the Côte de Sezanne. Powerful floral nose with a lovely candied sweet, caster sugar element to it, alongside glazed melon and mango. The palate is all about the Chardonnay to start and then it explodes in this rich, round ball. The finish is crisp and dry with Pinot focus and this lovely saline, almost chewy texture. As with the Louis Brochet, the vintage is not denoted on the front label, but turn it over and you’ll see ‘issu des vendages 2016’.

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