Vintage Exploration 4
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.
It seems like only yesterday when we put the fabulous Vintage no. 3 together and it has shot out the door! So, we’re on to Vintage no. 4. You’ll be happy to hear it’s equally sublime, with six epic vintage Champagnes from six fascinating and different vintages, covering the years 2009 to 2015 (see below).
Thoughts on each vintage:
2009 - A hot vintage creating rich, round wines.
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 classic vintage and one that shows very well with Chardonnay.
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.
A blend of 60/40 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay from Verzy and Verzenay. 40% oak vinified. There is so much to love about this wine made from a hot and big vintage. Charming, creamy with loads of brioche, the palate has a lovely verticality to it. Bright, fresh with loads of honey, toffeed apples and touch of nuts.
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!
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.
2g/ltr. 50% oak. A much more sensual affair. The nose delicate and elegant, the palate stricter and more tropical, the length more saline and engaging. A stunning blend from Mareuil sur Ay and one that shows the beauty of organic winemaking.
100% Pinot Noir, 2g/ltr. A lovely use of oak adds an impressive dimension to this delicious wine. So many layers, such rich fruit and this persistent and embracing finish. With this vintage, Remi has reduced the use of sulphur throughout the winemaking process and it works brilliantly. What a gorgeous expression of Pinot from the Aube.
Disgorged in January 2020 with 3g/ltr this wine shows a beautiful light straw gold and tiny bubbles in the glass. The nose is initially playful, light and fruity but with this serious oaky dance in the background. The palate, initially goes broad with the oak but then focuses on the white fleshy apple and lemon right on the tip of the tongue. Then the nose draws you back in with glorious notes of pine nut, baked pineapple and oyster shell. The oak does such a fantastic job at bringing the playful fruit forward without overpowering everything and creates a wonderfully layered and complex experience.