Our Champagne Week - Part 3
By champagnediscovery, Jun 28 2019 08:37AM
A chance for us to look back and share our highlights from Le Printemps des Champagnes 2019.
Les Artisans du Champagne:
An early start to make our way to Les Crayères for Les Artisans and a chance to revisit Jean-Marc Sélèque who was making his debut at the salon. He has trimmed down his range and the wines are on great form, in particular “Soliste Meunier” 2014. Pierre Gerbais was a delight as always, we love the old vines Pinot Blanc
“l’Originale” which is made from very old Pinot Blanc. Other standout wines included: Frédéric Savart “Les Noues”, Huré Frères “4 Elements Chardonnay” 2014, Doyard “Révolution”, Christophe Mignon “Millésime” 2013, Jérôme Déhours “Œnothèque lieu-dit Maisoncelle” 2003, Pierre Péters “L’Etonnant Monsieur Victor mk12” and Pierre Paillard “Les Maillerettes” 2013.
Grands Crus d’Exception:
A chance to revisit some producers we hadn’t tasted for a while as well as some first tastes. Olivier Bonville’s wines were a joy to return to, especially “Les Belles Voyes” 2012. We loved our first real tasting of Pertois-Lebrun, in particular “Le Fond du Bateau No. 10” 2010. Other notable wines included: Chapuy “Cuvée Unique Oger 2014”, Legras et Haas “Cuvée Exigence No. 9 Brut Nature”, Lamiable “Héliades” 2012, Ernest Rémy “Millésime” 2007 Extra Brut Pinot Noir, Richard-Fliniaux “Premices – d’Une Nouvelle Géneration” and the “Grande Réserve” from Barnaut which includes a perpetual blend dating back to 1874!
Académie du Vin de Bouzy:
We love this night, a change of pace and style with the red Côteaux wine “Bouzy Rouge” taking centre stage partnered by rosé champagnes from producers within the commune of this famous Montagne de Reims village. We often find a few older vintages but the producers we visited this year brought much younger wines. There was a somewhat surprising stand-out debut producer at the event. Nestled among the small producers was one of Champagne’s biggest producers: Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin! The 2012 Bouzy Rouge from their “Clos Colin” was excellent and a real shame they do not market it; the 2008 La Grande Dame Rosé wasn’t too bad either. The 2004 Bouzy Rouge and 2008 “Clos Barnaut” Bouzy Rosé from Barnaut were very good as was Georges Rémy 2015 “Les Vaudayants” and the 2012 Bouzy Rouge from Paul Bara.
That nights impromptu dinner at Au Bon Manger with friends was unexpected…the late night that ensued was to be expected!
Wednesday was always going to be a lot more relaxing. Unfortunately we were unable to get to La Transmission tasting due to its early finish but we were able to enjoy two fantastic masterclasses hosted by Emilie Jeangeorges. Firstly we were treated to some new releases from three very different producers: Pierre Gimonnet, Mailly Grand Cru and Charles Heidsieck. Pierre Gimonnet brought an Extra Brut with longer cellar ageing and a 2008 in magnum from their collection – both excellent. Mailly Grand Gru presented the Composition Parcellaire Extra Brut 2012 and l’Intemporelle Rosé 2011 which was a very good example from a tricky vintage. Charles Heidsieck sprung a surprise by debuting four single village white côteaux from the villages of Montgueux, Oger, Vertus and Villers-Marmery.
The class that followed showcased older vintages; all of the wines were excellent but it was those from 1989 which stole the show from each producer. Pierre Gimonnet’s 1989 in magnum was disgorged just three days prior without dosage and was an absolute stunner. The 1989 Les Echansons from Mailly Grand Cru was utterly delicious and we were also treated to a heady non-vintage “Mis en Cave 1990” (1989 harvest) from Charles Heidsieck. These wines all proved that good champagnes not only have excellent ageing potential but offer a delightful experience to the drinker. The other wines presented were: Pierre Gimonnet “Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay” 2009, “Millésime de Collection” 1999 in magnum. A preview of Charles Heidsieck “Vintage” 2008 and two more 1989s from Mailly Grand Cru – Vintage and Rosé de Mailly.
Time to return to the UK but not before a quick visit to Olivier of Champagne Hubert Paulet. We have been big fans of his luscious Cuvée Risléus since it’s first release labelled without a year despite being a vintage 2001. A vintage labelled version then followed in 2002 and the third incarnation – 2004 has recently been released. Olivier likes to age his wines for a little longer than most and isn’t afraid to add a bit more dosage. The best wines for us were the 2004 Risléus of course, along with a powerful 2004 Pinot Noir and unctuous 2006 rosé. All of Olivier’s vines are located within the village of Rilly-la-Montagne and his wines are well-worth seeking out. Sadly there will not be a 2018 Risléus as Olivier wasn’t happy with the acidity levels in his Chardonnay grapes that are used for the blend. The good news is that there are plenty of fine vintages to enjoy now! Superbly constructed wines that are ideal partners to food.
Lee and Gita