Fratelli Berlucchi Freccianera 2012

60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Bianco, 10% Pinot Nero. Ripe, slightly pithy mandarin and candied grapefruit with sweet peach, pear and quince. Some sweet creaminess on the nose. Quite straightforward – not much backbone or length here, with slightly phenolic character coming through on the palate and introducing a little harshness. Some toast. Attractive

15

Date Tasted : 15/11/2018

Pierre Peters Cuvée de Réserve (magnum) NV, 2012 Base

This was a great find; based on the 2012 vintage and disgorged in 2016 it had just woken up. Lemon and green apple fruit going towards a little papaya richness and ripeness, the intensity surprised a few people (that’s 2012 for you). The fresh, sweet cream on the mid-palate and the overall precision here is only boosted by being in Magnum.

17

Date Tasted : 28/02/2019

Hoffmann & Rathbone Classic Cuvée 2013

60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Meunier. I think this was disgorged towards the beginning of 2017. Quite a lot going on here, with fruit ranging from sweet, fresh apple juice to spicy red pear, quince and candied lemon. Lovely sweet bakery tones of raspberry frangipane tart, ginger snaps and crème Anglaise. The Pinot here touches on some of that meatier, savoury character that sings of quality fruit, with no sensation of meanness or greenness whatever. Pillowy mousse and some length and drive, helped along by the Chardonnay component. 7 g/l dosage is plenty here; at first I thought it might even be a little much for my palate, but I think it will continue to settle in over the next couple of years. A real charmer

17

Date Tasted : 17/11/2018

Rare 2002

As will all the Rare blancs under Camus, this is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. Camus’s definition of 2002 is “La Richesse”. First there are bright notes of chalk dust, fresh white flowers and complex orchard fruits. Behind lurk mango and dried yellow fruits just waiting to open up – this wine is still bound up so tightly. Fragrance comes from faint, almost buried sense of anise and mint, with lovely subtle yellow raspberry sweetness from the Pinot Noir. The palate really takes off – a stunning, layered presentation of freshness and development and an effortlessly floating mousse. The acidity shines a lazer-sharp light from start to finish, yet feels completely encased in the structure of the wine. This has miles to go.

19

Date Tasted : 28/11/2018

/ 2002, Champagne, Classic Blend, Rare

Paul Déthune Extra Brut Grand Cru NV, 2015 Base

Quite direct and powerful with ripe apricot, red apple and redcurrant fruit, sweetened with honeysuckle and creamy fresh fig. Tangy lemon curd lurking in there too. The palate is focussed and direct once more – this is a young wine. Nevertheless the Pinot fruit and subtle oak influence offer up more than just fruit here, with savoury, almost earthy dried leaves and allspice. There is something a tiny bit metallic/chemical here, which I can’t decide if I like or not. A little yoghurt and a more of that tangy lemon curd hang around very enjoyably on the finish. The low dosage does suit the wine, even if it is probably a more complete package in standard Brut form with a bit more age behind it

16

Date Tasted : 25/08/2018

Janisson-Baradon Conges 2006

Quite evolved and lifted (winespeak for a little volatile acidity*), with some of the original freshness of having made way over time for Tarte Tatin, seville orange and crystallised yellow fruits. There are some warmer, more oxidative notes of chestnut honey as well as this slightly fudgy, cashew butter character (something I’ve started to associate with Meunier). After a while quite some quite lovely autumnal blackberry fruit comes through too. There’s some sweet spice, coffee and vanilla, although it feels to me that the oak influence is felt more in the general style of the wine than through any overtly-oaky flavours jutting out. Honeyed and biscuity notes round off tangy palate that has (just) seen its best days, with some volatile notes of bruised apples and spice on the finish. There is complexity and personality here, although with this slightly oxidative style and low dosage it would probably have been at its best a couple of years ago

15.5

Date Tasted : 04/09/2018

Marguet Shaman 14 2014

A few shades of apple here – blossom, posh apple juice and gently caramalised apple tart. The fruit shows some different sides though, with some lovely summer berries and honeyed apricot too.There’s a buttermilk sweetness which points to some oak influence, and some clove/juniper/fennel seed spice complexity too. However that side of things is nicely toned-down and the wine feels pure and fresh. Intensity and real length of ripe acidity. It’s quite rare that I find a zero-dosage wine that feels absolutely complete and settled to my palate, but the generosity of this style achieves just that.

16.5

Date Tasted : 04/01/2020

/ 2014, Champagne, Classic Blend, Marguet

Taittinger Vintage 2012

So clean – lemon tart, fresh red apple with dried apple and thyme. Grapefruit peel, a touch smoky. Lovely progression of acid. Subtle but fine.

17

Date Tasted : 24/09/2017

/ 2012, Champagne, Classic Blend, Taittinger

Taittinger Vintage 2002

More tatin, ripe apricot and milk chocolate here. Open and generous with honey, marizpan and touch of pineapple. Showy but has balance and refreshing length. Great.

18.5

Date Tasted : 19/09/2018

/ 2002, Champagne, Classic Blend, Taittinger

Pol Roger Vintage 2009

A bit quiet here – sweet fresh strawberries behind sharper apple notes. Not so much persistence. (This seems harsh seeing as I’ve tasted this wine before and enjoyed it. Perhaps it just wasn’t showing so well today?)

16

Date Tasted : 24/09/2018

/ 2009, Champagne, Classic Blend, Pol Roger