WINE REVIEWS

 

Veuve Clicquot

La Grande Dame

Vintage 2012

The Japanese artist “Yayoi Kusama” created the polka dot and floral design of this limited edition bottling. In the 1800’s Madame Clicquot perfected many innovations in the crafting of Champagne and was referred to as the “Grande Dame of Champagne.” This project was initiated in 1972 as a tribute to Madame Clicquot. This wine emphasizes Pinot Noir with 90% in this elite cuvee, sourced from eight grand cru vineyard sites.  It is aged in medieval chalk tunnels for a minimum of 7 years.

 

Aromas of warm buttered croissants remind you of grandma’s house as it invites you in for more. It has exotic tropical fruits of guava and Korean melon sprinkled with salted pralines. There is excellent concentration and energy in this ultra-complex Champagne that you can easily explore for hours.

Champagne Krug

Vintage 2006

Visionary Joseph Krug established this brand in 1843.  House director Olivier Krug is a sixth-generation family member dedicated to maintaining the uncompromising quality of this renowned house. Seamlessly crafted, as are all Champagnes from this house, Krug is consistently placed at the forefront of French Champagnes.

 

This elite cuvee is the ultimate expression from a given vintage. It is aged over ten years in the Krug cellars. Behind the very fine mousse are notes of freshly baked piecrust that welcome you into this cerebral experience. Quickly you are pulled into the depths of an exotic core of crushed citron, lanolin, Mandarin orange and roasted walnuts.  This Champagne has weight and texture melded together with minerality. The tension runs pure and fresh from front to back, lingering for minutes.

 
 

2007 Dom Ruinart

Blanc de Blancs Ruinart

Blanc de Blancs

2007 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs: Dom Ruinart is crafted entirely of Chardonnay from grand cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. It is produced only in the finest of vintages. This finely detailed Champagne has an entry of warm buttered toast points laced with star fruits, honeyed ginger and lovely undertones of bright minerality. There is a satiny, almost lanolin texture to this Champagne that persists, revealing its pedigree. The Dom Ruinart has a rich and exotic presentation that lasts for minutes.

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs: The official founding of Ruinart was in 1729 by drapery merchant, Nicolas Ruinart. After encouragement by his uncle Dom Thierry Ruinart, this house abandoned the clothing trade and blossomed into a contender in the premium Champagne market. One of my favorites in the Blanc de Blancs category, this finely tuned Champagne has a pale yellow color with a bouquet spring flowers. Freshly picked orchard apples laced with crystalized ginger and lemon oils engage you. It is sleek and racy through the finish.

Louis Roederer Rose´

Vintage 2013

An independent family-run house is recognized for their ultra-premium Cristal label, which was originally created for Russian Czar Alexander II. The 2013 vintage-dated Rose´ Champagne is composed of 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay from the region of Montagne de Reims.

 

The deep crimson color reveals an exuberant Rose´ Champagne. The aromas remind you of a French patisserie in the early morning. Within  the depths of this ultra-complex rose´ is an abundance of wild strawberry, crushed raspberry and cassis, intertwined with touch of chalkiness on the edges. It is well-balanced with great definition and freshness.

 

Champagne Palmer

Blanc de Blancs

Champagne Palmer was founded nearly 70 years ago by a group of seven growers with Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in Montagne de Reims of France. Cellar Master Xavier Berdin creates the blend using different grape varieties, cru vineyards and reserve wines. The backbone of this Blanc de Blancs is Chardonnay sourced from three cru vineyards in Montagne de Reims and the Sézanne.

 

This is an engaging and extraordinarily elegant Champagne that dances across your palate with precision. Underneath there are poached pears and spiced apples layered with  a burst of lemon zest and orange rind on the edges. It is finely balanced and fresh. A classically styled Blanc de Blancs.   

2011 J Schram

2017 Schramsberg

Blanc de Blancs

2011 J Schram:  Jack and Jamie Davis restored this historic 19th century estate and winery in 1965, south of Calistoga, California.  Made of a composite of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay this bottling is aged for seven years on the yeast before being disgorged. The extension of malolactic fermentation in the barrel yields a creamy texture and hazelnut aromas to this sparkling.  Representing only 3% of Schramsberg’s total production, this remains the flagship of the estate, sourced from the best base wines and aged for seven years in the bottle.  A number of years ago in a blind tasting of cuvée de prestige champagnes, “the best of the best” from France, the J Schram secured the number one position among the competitors. This is a plush sparkler with mature notes of sun dried fruits and Mandarin orange, laced with marzipan and a dusting of graham cracker. All the flavors coalesce with delicate freshness and minerality.

2017 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs: The Blanc de Blancs was the first sparkling produced by Schramsberg in 1965. Crafted from 100% Chardonnay using the “méthode champenoise” technique, it is sourced from North Coast vineyards. It is aged on the yeast for 2 years in the bottle. The accolades are always well deserved with Schramsberg, Juicy and engaging with lemon curd, slivered almonds and notes of lemongrass, it has a racy mid-palate that continues and never gives up.