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Holiday Champagne Buyer’s Guide 2013

2013 November 22

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view of Champagne’s Marne Valley from hill near the Abbey of Hautvillers

This is the RJ on Wine annual Holiday Champagne Buyer’s Guide. It’s bigger than ever—including ratings on 325 current releases–and packed with some amazing wines and many excellent values.

I publish the Guide at this time of year because this is when most American wine buyers do their Champagne purchasing and retailers are well stocked with a variety of options. The end-of the-year holidays, and Valentine’s Day that follows a month and a half later, are, of course, great times to enjoy the celebratory qualities of fine Champagne. So are birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

Given the terrific quality level of today’s Champagnes and their tremendous food versatility, however, I submit this season is also a good time to lay down a number of bottles to enjoy throughout the year. I must also share with my readers what I learned from a fellow wine writer on my recent trip to Champagne about the virtues of this special product as a daily “reset button.”

My buddy John Foy—who writes about wine for The Star-Ledger in New Jersey–was a successful restaurateur in New Jersey for many years. After a long day in the kitchen, he found the only thing that would invariably clear up his palate and help “reboot” his energy to face several more hours of preparing meals and being a genial host was a glass of Champagne. He started this practice in June 1976 when he opened his first restaurant, The Tarragon Tree, and has continued for 37 years now to enjoy a glass of Champagne at 6 pm every evening for its singular revitalization qualities.

I have aimed to emulate John by having a glass of the stuff at least a couple times of week, especially after a trying day. I have to report that it works. It’s a mood lifter and a palate cleanser. It’s hard not to be reminded of all that’s wonderful about life after indulging in a single glass of Champagne as a start to the evening. And Champagne keeps beautifully once you’ve poured out a single glass, better than any other wine I can think of. An inexpensive Champagne stopper provides an airtight seal, and the carbon dioxide released by the bubbles keeps the wine fresh and sparkling so another glass can be enjoyed the following night, or even several nights later.

For this year’s Holiday Champagne Buyers’ Guide, I’ve tasted over 400 Champagnes, many of them multiple times. I spent a week in Champagne at the end of September where I tasted over 90 of these wines, and attended small tastings with distributors as well as the major annual trade tasting of grower Champagnes: the Terry Theise/WineWise tasting. I also took part in a few excellent public tastings: the annual Masters of Wine tasting at San Francisco’s Ferry Market Building, K&L’s tent event and Beltramo’s annual tasting. I’ve also received a number of Champagne samples this year. The 325 wines rated below are the currently available Champagnes I tasted. My tasting notes on earlier vintages, or earlier editions of regular non-vintage bottlings, can all be found on CellarTracker.

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Masters of Wine Champagne tasting in San Francisco

Before turning to specific buying recommendations, based on styles and prices, here are a few general observations as a result of my tastings for this report.

The current releases of the non-vintage tastings I sample virtually every year from major producers, including important growers, are as good, or in many cases better, than the prior editions of those wines I’ve tasted in the past. I believe this is due both to the constant quality improvement efforts going on in Champagne, as detailed in my last blog post, as well as to a succession of generally good vintages over the past several years, yielding excellent base and reserve wines from which these non-vintage offerings have been assembled.

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Rosé Champagne

Secondly, the quality of rosé Champagnes has never been greater in the decade or so that I’ve been seriously tasting Champagne. This is a particularly important category in the U.S. Many of the rosé Champagnes I taste pretty much every year stood out in 2013 as being superior to any of those I’ve tasted from the same producers in the past. If you’re a fan of rosé Champagne—and it’s a versatile wine, made in a few different styles—there’s never been a better time to buy it than now.

Finally, one producer stands out this year in both the quality and value columns: Serge Mathieu. I visited this producer on my CIVC organized trip in September, and the wines, by Michel Jacob, were a revelation—delicate, complex and truly artful wines from Champagne’s Cotes des Bar region that are selling at astonishingly low prices, at least for the moment. I will be profiling this producer in an upcoming post.

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Serge Mathieu and Michel Jacob

As usual, it is important to remind ourselves why Champagne remains a costly product. Most Champagne available in the U.S. starts in the high $30s, and most of significant quality begins at $40-$50. At the high end, it’s a matter of marketing and scarcity, but some of the most expensive in this report go from $250 to $400 or more. There are, of course, no values at that level. Many of those high priced bottlings are very impressive, but the main focus in this report as a guide for consumers is on price to quality ratios.

The reasons for prices starting at about $40 has to do largely with the costs of production. As explained in my last report, the entire plantable acreage of the Champagne region is already covered with vines, thanks to the region’s growing financial success over the past 60-plus years. With the high demand for quality Champagne grapes, the raw materials themselves are expensive. Then there’s the elaborate process involved in making the wine, which includes the need for lots of specialized equipment as well as substantial space for aging the wines.

The lengthy period of time required to age the wines on their yeasts, which ties up inventory and adds greatly to the cost of production, is arguably the most significant aspect leading to the distinctive and seductive nature of Champagne. That’s because the second fermentation in bottle required for Champagne involves a yeast and sugar mixture added before bottling that ultimately yields a lot of dead yeast cells, also known as lees, once the secondary fermentation is completed.

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bottles aging on their lees in Drappier’s cellars that date to the Middle Ages

The gradual death and decomposition of yeast cells, releasing molecules that slowly interact with the wine, is known as autolysis. It’s these dead cells remaining in contact with the wine until disgorgement—for a minimum of 15 months but more typically from four to ten years in the case of top Champagnes–that has a number of beneficial effects. Among other things, autolysis inhibits oxidation of the wine and increases the amino acids that lead to some of Champagne’s wonderful aroma and flavor characteristics, like bready and hazelnut flavors.

In my notes below I use the term “yeasty” and related flavor descriptors like almond, biscuit and light brioche to describe wines where the effects of this autolysis on aroma and flavors are noticeable. I employ the term “autolytic,” and related descriptors like hazelnut, toasty and croissant, to convey the smell and taste impressions of wines that are thoroughly autolytic in character. Many Champagne lovers covet these kinds of Champagne the most. And for the increasing numbers of us who are either allergic to gluten or who have for other health reasons greatly reduced bread products in our diet in recent years, these autolytic Champagnes can make a wonderfully aromatic, delicious and evocative bread substitute.

Top Ratings

Of the 325 wines listed below, I rated 15 at 95 points or higher, and another 25 at 94 points.

My top rated Champagnes currently on the market are both vintage Champagnes that I rated 97+ points: 2000 Krug and 1998 Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Rare. The latter was only produced in magnum, and it’s the most impressive of the several Cuvée Rare bottlings I’ve tasted over the years. The average U.S. price on the 2000 Krug per wine-searcher.com is $245, while a magnum of the ’98 Cuvee Rare will set you back $400.

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As to the top wines of particular styles, my top Blanc de Blancs is the 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires, which I rated 96+ points. It’s still the current release of this wine, and averages $180. My top rosé Champagne, and one of the greatest rosé Champagnes I’ve ever sampled, is the 2005 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut at 96+ points. It averages $221. Both the current Krug Rosé (96 points) and the Vilmart Cuvée Rubis (95+ points) are also wonderful, with the latter being my high end rosé value of the year at $82.

My favorite non-rosé, non-vintage offerings of the year are the Krug Grande Cuvee (95 points) and the Serge Mathieu Cuvee Prestige Brut (95 points). The latter also easily tops my list for best value non-vintage Champagne at only $42.

My top sweet style Champagne this year—the kind of wine that pairs beautifully with Asian and spicy foods much like Riesling and Gewurztraminer, as well as with desserts that aren’t super sweet–is the NV A. Margaine Demi-Sec Premier Cru at 92 points ($50).

And for those who like their Champagnes thoroughly autolytic, the 1998 Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Rare is as good as it gets. There are, however, many other wonderful, highly rated choices, such as the 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires (96+ points), 2000 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill (96 points, $237) and 2000 Charles Heidsieck Millésimé (94+ points, $89).

Top Value Recommendations

In terms of values, the least expensive Champagne at 95 points or higher—where the price spread runs from $42 to $509–is the NV Serge Mathieu Cuvee Prestige mentioned above, followed by the 2006 Serge Matthieu Brut Millésimé at $57. At 94 points—which includes wines ranging from $40 to $308–Serge Mathieu again is the best priced at $40 for the NV Brut Rosé, followed by their NV Cuvée Tradition Blanc de Noirs at $45 and the NV Chartogne-Taillet Brut Rosé at $55.

Among the more than 50 excellent Champagnes I rated at 93 points—including bottlings running from $40 to $279–the best priced are the NV Ariston Aspasie Brut Prestige (93+), NV Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé and 2010 Franck Bonnville Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, all averaging $40. The first and third wines just mentioned are currently only available at K&L, one of the country’s great sources for Champagne, including some exclusive imports—thanks in no small part to the tireless efforts of Champagne buyer Gary Westby.

At 92 points, we finally break the $40 floor with the very tasty NV A. Lancelot-Pienne Blanc de Blancs at $37.

For all my ratings and tasting notes, organized by producer, including other highlighted value offerings, see below.

Alain Thienot

  • NV Alain Thienot Champagne Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; lightly yeasty, almond nose; creamy textured, lightly yeasty, almond palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
  • 1999 Alain Thienot Champagne Cuvée Alain Thiénot
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, autolytic, hazelnut nose; tasty, creamy textured, autolytic, hazelnut, almond cream, pear palate with subtle cinnamon and spice notes on finish; medium-plus finish 93+ points
  • 2005 Alain Thienot Champagne Cuvée Stanislas Blanc de Blancs Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, almond, yeasty nose; tasty, almond, yeasty, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 93 points
  • 2006 Alain Thienot Champagne Cuvée Garance Blanc de Rouges
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, yeasty nose; creamy textured, almond, yeasty, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92 points
  • NV Alain Thienot Champagne Rosé
    Light pink yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; savory, yeasty, sauteed onion nose; creamy textured, savory, sauteed onion, golden raspberry palate; medium-plus finish 92 points

Ariston Aspasie
These are terrific values at around the $40 level.

  • NV Ariston Aspasie Champagne Brut Prestige
    From magnum – light pink-tinged yellow color; yeasty, almond, tart pear nose; elegant, yeasty, almond, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier; 2007 base) 93+ points
  • NV Ariston Aspasie Champagne Brut Prestige
    Light lemon yellow color with abundant mousse; appealing, pear cream, almond, yeasty nose; tasty, floaty, light-bodied, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
  • NV Ariston Aspasie Champagne Cepages d’Antan
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, focused, almond, yeasty nose; focused, creamy textured, yeasty, almond, marzipan, mineral, almond cream, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish (40% Meslier, 40% Arbanne, 20% Pinot Blanc) 93 points
  • 2007 Ariston Aspasie Champagne Brut Millésimé
    Light medium yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, savory, sauteed onion nose; tasty, savory, yeasty, sauteed onion, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir) 91+ points
  • NV Ariston Aspasie Champagne Brut Rosé
    Light medium pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, tart raspberry nose; tasty, poised, mineral, almond, tart raspberry, light sauteed onion palate; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Noir, 50% Pinot Meunier) 93 points

Armand de Brignac
These are very pricey Champagnes that have caught on with the hip hop and Hollywood crowd, perhaps because of their unusual and flashy packaging. Their quality, though, has also improved greatly from the first couple editions that I tried years back.
Armand de Brignac

  • NV Armand de Brignac Champagne Brut Gold Montagne de Reims
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, almond, autolytic, light butter nose; tasty, rich, creamy, lightly buttery, autolytic, mineral palate; long finish (40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, from ’03, ’05 & ’06 vintages) 92+ points
  • NV Armand de Brignac Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Montagne de Reims
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, almond cream, light toffee nose; rich, tasty, autolytic, almond cream, mineral, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
  • NV Armand de Brignac Champagne Ace of Spades Rosé Montagne de Reims
    Light orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, light orange cream, ripe apricot cream, autolytic nose; creamy textured, poised, light orange cream, tart apricot cream, mineral, autolytic, almond palate; long finish (50% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay) 92 points

L. Aubry
A small grower producer run by two brothers. They own 17 hectares in 60 different locations. They have gone back to the historical roots of Champagne to include three long forgotten Champagne grapes: Fromenteau (also known as Beurot, probably an ancestor of Pinot Gris), Arbanne and Petit Meslier. A lot of their vines are also planted “en foule,” i.e., the generation of new vines by laying out a branch from a “mother” plant and covering it with soil and manure, as was the common practice prior to phylloxera, especially throughout Burgundy. Two cuvees they make from the old varieties are designated Campanae Veteres Vites, meaning “old vines of the countryside.”

  • NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart pear, chalk nose; tasty, poised, solid, tart pear, chalk, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 5% “other”; 50/50 2010 & 2009; disgorged Jan. 2013) 92 points
  • 2008 L. Aubry Fils Champagne Le Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart pear, pear cream nose; tasty, poised, very tart pear, lemon, yeasty, mineral palate with medium acidity; could use 1-2 years; medium-plus finish (25% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, 20% Petit Meslier, 15% Arbanne, 15% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier; Chard sees large oak, 205-liter, mainly neutral; 3 grams dosage; disgorged Feb. 2013) 93 points
  • 2008,L. Aubry Fils Champagne Le Nombre d’Or Sablé Blanc des Blancs Brut Campanae Veteres Vites
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart pear cream nose; intriguing, sharp, tangy, tart lemon, lemon cream, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points
  • 2006 L. Aubry Fils Champagne Aubry de Humbert 1er Cru
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; brioche, lemon, citrus nose; creamy textured, rich, lemon cream, yeasty, brioche palate; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier; disgorged Feb. 2013; very good for the style) 92+ points
  • 2008 L. Aubry Fils Champagne Ivoire et Ebene
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, pear cream, light white chocolate, lemon cream nose; tasty, lemon cream, mineral, solid, very tart pear palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
  • NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Rosé Brut
    Light orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart golden raspberry nose; tasty, poised, tart golden raspberry, mineral, tart lemon palate; medium-plus finish (40% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, 12% Pinot Meunier, 13% still red wine; Chard sees neutral oak; 2010 fruit except for the still red; disgorged Dec. 2012) 92+ points

Ayala
This producer, a source of very good values, was founded in 1860. Since 2005, it has been owned by the Bollinger family.

  • NV Ayala Champagne Brut Majeur
    Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; tart apple, nectarine nose; ripe nectarine, ripe pear palate; medium-plus finish 90 points
  • 2005 Ayala Champagne Blanc de Blancs
    Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, lemon cream, almond nose; tasty, poised, almond, lemon cream palate; medium-plus finish 92 points
  • 2002 Ayala Champagne Blanc de Blancs
    Light yellow color with lots of speedy, tiny bubbles; maturing, almond, marconi almond, saline, tart apple, cream nose; poised, tasty, creamy textured, almond, lightly saline, tart apple palate; medium-plus finish (8.5 grams dosage; 3.10 pH; 12.4% alcohol) 91+ points
  • NV Ayala Champagne Rosé Majeur
    Pale salmon color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, tart raspberry cream, almond nose; rich, tasty, raspberry cream, almond palate; medium-plus finish 91 points

Baron-Fuenté

  • NV Baron-Fuenté Champagne Galipettes Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond, almond brickle nose; tasty, yeasty, almond, almond brickle, mineral, saline palate; medium-plus finish (70% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir) 91+ points
  • 2006 Baron-Fuenté Champagne Grand Millésime Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, almond cream nose; mature, yeasty, almond, almond cream, nougat palate; medium-plus finish 91 points

Bernard Brémont

  • NV Bernard Brémont Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé Ambonnay
    Light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; cherry, tart strawberry, strawberry cream, almond nose; tasty, strawberry cream, light white pepper, almond, tart raspberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay; 12% alcohol) 90+ points

Besserat de Bellefon

  • NV Besserat de Bellefon Champagne Cuvée des Moines Brut
    Light straw yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, honeyed nose; lightly oxidized, yeasty, tart pear, tart apple, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (12.5% alcohol; typically 45% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir; 3 years on lees; disgorged March 2012) 90 points

Billecart-Salmon
This house dates back to 1818, is still family owned, and makes very consistent, high quality Champagnes in a lighter, delicate style. The lower end offerings tend to be good values. The winemaker since 1998 is François Domi. They buy about 95% of the grapes they need, and own some Pinot Noir vineyards.

  • NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Réserve
    Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond powder, baked pear nose; tasty, delicate, creamy textured, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir; about 30% reserves from ’06, ’07 & ’08) 92+ points
  • NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Extra
    Light pink-tinged yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; oxidative apple, yeasty nose; oxidative apple, mineral, yeasty palate; medium-plus finish 89 points
  • 2002 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond, brioche nose; tasty, creamy textured, autolytic, brioche, mineral, almond cream palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay) 93 points
  • NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé
    Light salmon pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond, almond cream nose; tasty, delicate, almond, almond cream, ripe pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier; 30-40% reserves from ’06, ’07 & ’08) 92 points

H. Billiot
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Laetitia Billiot

  • NV H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé Ambonnay
    Light pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, chalky, mineral, floral nose; tasty, poised, delicious, tart raspberry, orange, mineral, orange cream palate; medium-plus finish (Pinot Noir, 50% 2010, 50% 2009 & 2008; disgorged Jan. 2013) 93 points
  • NV H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Cuvée Julie Ambonnay
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, ripe pear, tart peach, pear cream nose; intense, tasty, tart pear, mineral, tart grilled peach, smoky cherry palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged Dec. 2012) 92+ points
  • NV H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve Ambonnay
    Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; oxidative, oxidative apple nose; tasty, oxidative apple, mineral, tart golden raspberry palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (50% 2010, 50% 2009-2008; disgorged Jan. 2013) 91 points
  • NV H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Cuvée Laetitia Ambonnay
    Light yellow color with lots of tiny bubbles; oxidative, apple, Amontillado sherry nose; oxidative, oxidized apple, lightly nutty, Amontillado sherry, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 88 points

Bollinger
This great house was founded in 1829 by a German, Joseph Bollinger. The vintage wines are fermented in small, aged oak barrels, and malolactic is not encouraged. These are typically very heavy, full bodied wines. The cuvée of the vintage La Grande Année varies from year to year, but is always dominated by Pinot Noir.

  • NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut
    Light lemon yellow color; appealing, yeasty, almond, light hazelnut, praline nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, light medium bodied, autolytic, almond, hazelnut, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier; 8 to 9 grams dosage) 92 points
  • NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart baked apple, golden raisin, toasted almond nose; rich, almond, toasted almond, tart baked apple, light honey palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier; max 8 grams per liter dosage) 92 points
  • 2004 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année
    Light medium yellow color with several columns of very tiny bubbles; appealing, toasted almond, hazelnut, tart pear nose; rich, creamy textured, poised, tart apple, almond, roasted almond, baked apple, mineral, oxidized apple palate; medium-plus finish (66% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay; 88% grand cru fruit, 12% premier cru; 8 grams dosage) 93 points
  • NV Bollinger Champagne Rosé Brut
    Light pink orange color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; light strawberry, yeasty, almond nose; tasty, poised, almond, yeasty, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (62% Pinot Noir (6% finished PN wine), 24% Chardonnay, 14% Pinot Meunier; 5 to 15% comes from reserve wines aged 5-15 years in magnums) 91+ points
  • 2004 Bollinger Champagne Grande Année Rosé
    Light pink color with steady stream of very tiny bubbles; appealing, cherry cream, white chocolate, golden raspberry nose; honey, white chocolate, ripe cherry, cherry cream palate; medium-plus finish (68% Pinot Noir, 32% Chardonnay; aged on lees at least 6 years) 93+ points

Bruno Paillard
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  • NV Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Premiere Cuvée Montagne de Reims
    Light green-tinged yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; elegant, tart pear, light brioche, almond, golden raspberry, Rainier cherry nose; appealing, elegant, tart golden raspberry, tart pear, mineral, almond, tart lemon, ripe grapefruit palate; with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Meunier; disgorged 1/13) 93 points
  • NV Bruno Paillard Chardonnay Champagne Brut Réserve Privée
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, very tiny bubbles; very appealing, yeasty, saline, tart apple, fine pear, floral, chalk nose; tasty, poised, tart apple, tart pear, lightly saline, mineral palate with finesse and near medium acidity; medium-plus finish (5 grams dosage; disgorged 8/11) 92+ points
  • NV Bruno Paillard Champagne Rosé Brut Première Cuvée
    Light salmon pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart strawberry, tart golden raspberry nose; tasty, very tart Rainier cherry, tart golden raspberry, tart citrus, mineral palate with some roundness and medium acidity; medium-plus finish (reminiscent of Bandol Rose, disgorged 1/13) 92+ points

Camille Savès

  • NV Camille Savès Champagne Brut Carte Blanche Bouzy
    Very light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, tart pear nose; tangy, tart pear, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 89 points
  • NV Camille Savès Champagne Brut Grand Cru Rosé
    Light pink color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; light raspberry, tart strawberry nose; tasty, tart raspberry, very tart strawberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points

Cédric Bouchard

  • 2008 Roses de Jeanne/Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Blancs La Haute-Lemblé
    Light lemon yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, floral, tart pear, spicy poached pear, yeasty, tart quince nose; tight, very tasty, tart lemon, tart quince, mi8neral palate with medium acidity; needs 3 years; medium-plus finish (12.5% alcohol; disgorged April 2012) 93 points
  • 2010 Roses de Jeanne/Cédric Bouchard Champagne Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine
    Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; reduction, tart pear, mineral, light apricot nose; tasty, tight, tart apricot, mineral, tart Rainier cherry palate; medium-plus finish (12.5% alcohol; disgorged April 2012) 93+ points
  • 2008 Roses de Jeanne/Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Noirs Les Ursules
    Light yellow color with lots of speedy, very tiny bubbles; appealing, light reduction, tart Rainier cherry, tart pear, lime nose; very tasty, rich but delicate and detailed, mineral, lime, tart apricot palate that is lightly honeyed; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Noir; disgorged July 2010) 94 points

Charles Ellner
This house dates back to 1900 when the founder, then employed by Moët, began buying vineyards. His great grandson, Jacques Ellner, is now making the wines. They own 56 hectares of vineyards.

  • NV Charles Ellner Champagne Brut Réserve
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, toasted almond nose; tasty, rich, poised, almond, croissant, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92 points

Charles Heidsieck
One of my favorite houses, at all levels. Their lower end bottlings are always good and reliable values. Since 1985, it’s been owned by the Rémy-Cointreau Group. The house now owns 30 hectares in Ambonnay, Bouzy and Oger. I’ve had this 1995 Blanc des Millénaires several times, and it continues to impress. It was made by the great chef de caves, Daniel Thibault, before his death in 2002, and remains the current release. The current winemaker for both Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck is the great Régis Camus.
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CEO Cecile Bonnefond and Régis Camus of Charles Heidsieck and Piper Heidsieck

  • NV Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Réserve
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, almond, baked apple nose; delicious, rich, creamy textured, hazelnut, almond, baked apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (per back label, laid in chalk cellars in 2008, disgorged 2012; good value) 93 points
  • 2000 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé
    Light medium lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, savory, dried mushroom, coriander nose; tasty, poised, savory, autolytic, mushroom, coriander, cumin, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (really showing well now) 94+ points
  • 1995 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Blanc des Millénaires
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; toasty, autolytic, hazelnut nose; creamy textured, delicious, autolytic, hazelnut, almond, almond cream palate; long finish 96+ points
  • NV Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Reserve
    Very light orange color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; autolytic, savory, mushroom nose; tasty, autolytic, mushroom, savory, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points

Chartogne-Taillet
Alexandre Chartogne, whom I think of as the “gentle giant of Merfy,” is a brilliant winemaker. The Chartogne-Taillet wines are widely available, thanks to being favorites of Terry Theise, and they are value priced as well as minerally and terroir specific. Highly recommended.
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Alexandre Chartogne

  • NV Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Cuvée St. Anne
    Light straw yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; focused, ripe apple, tart pear nose; tasty, clean, fresh, crystalline, tart apple, very mineral, chalk, saline palate with mouthwatering medium acidity; medium-plus finish (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir; 4 grams dosage; blend of family’s parcels throughout Merfy) 91+ points
  • 2006 Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut Millésimé
    Light golden yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, mature, yeasty, honey, almond, white chocolate nose; creamy textured, delicate, almond, almond cream, mineral, pear cream, biscuity palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay; disgorged 12/8/12) 93+ points
  • 2008 Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut Millésimé Merfy
    Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; tart pear, tart green apple nose; delicious, delicate, focused, very minerally, saline, lime, tart pear, palate; good now but should go 10-15 years; long finish 93+ points
  • NV Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Les Barres Extra Brut Les Barres
    Light yellow color with few, tiny bubbles; lemon chiffon, lemon bar, fresh green apple, chalk nose; fresh, delicious, characterful, tart green apple, lime, mineral, saline palate; long finish (2008 fruit) 93+ points
  • NV Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut Rosé
    Light salmon pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, intriguing, lightly savory, light mushroom, golden raspberry nose; very tasty, delicate but flavorful, juicy, tart golden raspberry, Rainier cherry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir; all 2010; disgorged Jan. 2013) 94+ points

Claude Cazals

  • NV Claude Cazals Champagne Blanc de Blancs extra Brut Cuvée Vive Clos Cazals Le Mesnil Sur Oger
    Bright light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, white chocolate, pear nose; rich, creamy textured, yeasty, mineral, tart pear, light white chocolate palate, nicely rounded for a very low dosage Champagne; medium-plus finish (2006 base; 3 grams dosage) 91+ points

Daniel Ginsburg

  • 2004 Daniel Ginsburg Champagne Cuvée Rene Millesime
    Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; cream, yeasty, almond nose; tasty, creamy textured, savory, saline, tart lemon, almond, almond oil, ripe grapefruit palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 91 points

De Sousa

  • NV De Sousa et Fils Champagne Blanc de Blancs Tradition Avize
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, almond nose; tasty, almond, tart apple, yeasty, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90 points

Delamotte

  • NV Delamotte Champagne Brut Le Mesnil Sur Oger
    Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; chalk, almond, tart apple nose; tasty, mineral, tart apple, chalk palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ points
  • NV Delamotte Champagne Brut Côte des Blancs
    Light lemon yellow color with lots of steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, chalk, oxidative tart apple nose; tart apple, mineral, chalk, lightly oxidative palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier) 88+ points
  • 2002 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Côte des Blancs
    Light green-tinged yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; focused, tart green apple, chalk, green pear nose; tasty, focused, creamy textured, tart green apple, chalk, green pear, mineral palate with lively acidity; long finish 93 points

Demière-Ansiot

  • NV Demière-Ansiot Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger
    Light green-tinged yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, oxidative apple nose; creamy textured yeasty, oxidative apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (mainly 2008 fruit, with ’06 & ’07 reserve) 90+ points
  • 2006 Demière-Ansiot Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, lemon drop nose; tasty, yeasty, creamy textured, lemon drop, mineral palate with lift; medium-plus finish 92+ points

Deutz

  • NV Deutz Champagne Brut Classic
    Light yellow color with lots of speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty,, tart apple, almond nose; tasty, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (12% alcohol) 90 points

Diebolt-Vallois

  • NV Diebolt-Vallois Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Cramant
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, white chocolate, yeasty nose; creamy textured, yeasty, almond, mineral palate with tangy medium acidity; medium-plus finish 90 points

Drappier

  • NV Drappier Champagne Brut Nature Zero Dosage
    Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, ripe pear, ripe lemon, light banana nose; fresh, delicious, light bodied, ripe pear, mineral palate with more of a sense of sweetness than the sans soufre bottling; medium-plus finish 92+ points
  • NV Drappier Champagne Brut Nature Non Dosé Sans Soufre
    Light yellow color with lots of steady, tiny bubbles; very clean, ripe lemon, very ripe grapefruit nose with a light sense of peach; fresh, clean, tart grapefruit, lemon, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Noir; no sugar, no added sulfur, no filtration) 93 points
  • 2006 Drappier Champagne Millésimé Exception
    Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, dried peach, blond fig, lifted, VA, honey nose; tasty, rich, round, opulent, honeyed, blond fig palate; long finish (40% in oak barrels; based on 2006 vintage; disgorged 7/13) 93+ points
  • NV Drappier Champagne Quattuor – Blanc de Quatre Blancs
    Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; honey, honeysuckle, peach nose; delicate, honeyed, tart apple, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (uses the four permitted white grapes of Champagne: Chardonnay, Arbane, Petit Meslier and Blanc Vrais, i.e., Pinot Blanc; pH 3.05; dosage is with a liqueur made from Pinot Blanc aged for 25 years) 93 points
  • NV Drappier Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
    Light yellow color with steady column of tiny bubbles; chalk, light anise, light sesame seed, celery seed nose; delicate, tasty, tart lemon, mineral, tart pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 93 points
  • NV Drappier Rosé Sans Soufre
    Light orange pink color with few, tiny bubbles; savory, tart orange, pink grapefruit nose; tasty, delicate, tart pink lemon, mineral, chalk palate with near medium acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ points

Duval-Leroy

  • 1996 Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Millésimé
    Light lemon yellow color with lots of tiny bubbles; very yeasty, light white chocolate, very tart apple nose; tasty, tangy, maturing, tart lemon, mineral, lightly savory palate with lively acidity and appealing texture; medium-plus finish 91+ points

Edmond Barnaut

  • NV Edmond Barnaut Champagne Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru
    Light straw yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, chalk, lightly oxidized, tart apple nose; tasty, oxidative, tart apple, dried pear, chalk, mineral palate with refreshing acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points

Egly-Ouriet

  • NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Brut Tradition Grand Cru Ambonnay
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, light white chocolate, almond nose; tasty, fresh, tart pear, mineral, tart apple, tart peach palate; medium-plus finish (75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay; 40 months on yeasts; disgorged July 2013) 92 points
  • NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Brut “Les Vignes de Vrigny” 1er Cru Ambonnay
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart peach, baked pear, almond nose; very tasty, poised, yeasty, creamy textured, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Meunier; 40 months on yeasts; disgorged November 2012) 93+ points
  • NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru
    Light salmon pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart raspberry, golden raspberry, almond cream, floral nose; creamy textured, elegant, ripe raspberry, mineral, raspberry cream, tart cherry palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay; 48 months on the yeasts; disgorged July 2013) 94 points

Elisabeth Goutorbe

  • 2005 Elisabeth Goutorbe Champagne Millésimé Aÿ
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, light sauteed onion nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, almond, tart baked apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
  • NV Elisabeth Goutorbe Champagne Cuvée Éclatante Aÿ
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart pear, lightly yeasty, floral, almond nose; delicate, floral, ripe pear, tart peach, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points

Eric Rodez

  • NV Eric Rodez Champagne Cuvée des Crayères Ambonnay
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; almond, yeasty nose; creamy textured, green apple, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points

Fleury

  • NV Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut Côte des Bars (Aube)
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, baked pear nose; tasty, creamy textured, yeasty, almond, baked pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
  • 2004 Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Cuvée Robert Fleury Brut Côte des Bars (Aube)
    Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, autolytic, hazelnut, hazelnut cream nose; tasty, autolytic, hazelnut, hazelnut cream, oxidative, ripe pear, mineral palate with fine delineation; medium-plus finish 92+ points
  • NV Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Brut Rosé de Saignée Côte des Bars (Aube)
    Light peach yellow color with abundant, steady tiny bubbles; autolytic, almond, hazelnut, white chocolate nose; tasty, autolytic, almond, hazelnut, light white chocolate, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points

Forest-Marie

  • NV Forest-Marie Champagne Cuvée St. Crespin 1er Cru
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; savory, autolytic, mushroom nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, very autolytic, mushroom, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (nice version of the style) 93+ points
  • NV Forest-Marie Champagne Blanc de Blancs
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart pear nose; creamy textured, tart pear, baked pear, yeasty, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
  • NV Forest-Marie Champagne Brut Tradition
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, white chocolate nose tasty, round, yeasty, cream sauce, lemon cream, ripe pear palate; medium-plus finish 92 points
  • NV Forest-Marie Champagne Rosé Brut
    Light orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, golden raspberry, light orange nose; tart orange, mineral, very tart golden raspberry, pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 92 points

Franck Bonville

  • NV Franck Bonville Champagne Cuvée Les Belles Voyes Brut Blanc de Blancs Avize
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart lemon, light hazelnut nose; creamy textured, tasty, delicate, lemon cream, mineral, chalk palate with baked pear finish; medium-plus finish (based on 2008; aged in oak) 93 points
  • NV Franck Bonville Champagne Brut Selection Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Avize
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, almond, almond cream nose; yeasty, almond, almond cream, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points
  • 2007 Franck Bonville Champagne Brut Selection Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Avize
    From magnum – light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, savory, chalk nose; creamy textured, poised, tart pear, chalk, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92 points
  • 2010 Franck Bonville Champagne Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Avize
    Light green-tinged yellow color with lots of tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart lime, preserved lime, white chocolate nose; creamy textured, very dry, very tart lime, cottage cheese, yeasty, mineral palate; long finish 93 points

Gaston Chiquet
101911 062
Nicolas Chiquet
This producer goes back eight generations, and currently controls over 22 hectares. The Blanc de Blancs bottling happens to be the only Blanc de Blancs made from the Pinot village of Aÿ.

  • NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Tradition
    Very light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; almond, brioche nose; tasty, almond, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
  • NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Tradition Brut 1er Cru
    Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; cream, light vanilla nose; creamy textured, light creme fraiche, tart apple cream, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir; 82% 2009 fruit; disgorged 7/12) 91 points
  • 2005 Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut Special Club
    Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, focused, tart pear, lightly yeasty nose; tasty, poised, tart apple, tart pear, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (disgorged 6/12) 91+ points
  • 2004 Gaston Chiquet Champagne Réserve Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ
    From magnum – light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, tart pear, light mushroom nose; very tasty, poised, delicate, autolytic, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 6/12) 93+ points
  • 2003 Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut
    Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, lifted, autolytic, lime cream nose; delicate, appealing, lime, lime cream, mineral, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish (additional time in bottle has really benefited this one) 93+ points
  • 2004 Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut
    Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, autolytic, floral, apple cream nose; tasty, rich but poised, apple cream, mineral, autolytic palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay; disgorged 9/11) 92+ points
  • NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Réserve Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ
    Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; lightly oxidative, mineral, lightly yeasty, tart apple nose; tart pear, mineral, lightly yeasty palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 10/12) 92 points
  • NV Gaston Chiquet Champagne Brut Rosé Aÿ
    Very light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, light toast, floral, raspberry, tart strawberry nose; tasty, elegant, delicate but flavorful, golden raspberry palate; medium-plus finish (all 2009; disgorged 8/12) 93 points

Gonet-Médeville

  • NV Gonet-Médeville Champagne Tradition Premier Cru Brut
    Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, brioche nose; tasty, yeasty, autolytic, hazelnut, brioche palate; medium-plus finish (70% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier) 91+ points

Gosset

  • NV Gosset Champagne Brut Excellence
    Light medium yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, light sauteed mushroom nose; tasty, creamy textured, mature, light sauteed mushroom, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (27 months on lees, 30% reserve wines; good value) 92+ points
  • NV Gosset Champagne Brut Grande Réserve
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, tart apple nose; ripe and oxidized apple palate; medium finish 88+ points
  • NV Gosset Champagne Grand Blanc de Blancs
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, almond brioche, almond cream nose; tasty, rich but poised, almond cream, almond brioche palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
  • 2004 Gosset Champagne Brut Grand Millésime
    Light medium yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, savory, light sauteed onion nose; creamy textured, tart pear, mineral, yeasty, lightly oxidative palate; medium-plus finish 92 points
  • 2000 Gosset Champagne Brut Grand Millésime
    Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; oxidative, tart apple, apple sauce, yeasty nose; tasty, creamy textured, rounded, tart apple, baked apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92 points

Henri Giraud

  • NV Henri Giraud Champagne Hommage A François Hemart Brut Aÿ
    Light yellow color with steady tiny bubbles; appealing, floral, light vanilla, almond nose; poised, creamy textured, elegant, light footed, mineral, tart apple, tart pear palate with integrated oak; medium-plus finish (50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir; 12% alcohol) 93 points

Henri Goutorbe
101911 064
Etienne Goutorbe


    Henri Goutorbe owns nearly 22 hectares, and the Cuvée Prestige is typically Pinot Noir dominated (65 to 70%), with Chardonnay and sometimes a small amount of Pinot Meunier. The wines all go through malolactic.

    • NV Henri Goutorbe Champagne Cuvée Prestige Aÿ
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart pear nose; creamy textured, tart pear, mineral, almond palate; medium-plus finish (based on 2007 w/15-20% 2006 fruit; disgorged 7/12) 92 points
    • 2004 Henri Goutorbe Champagne Special Club Aÿ
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, autolytic, tart pear nose; autolytic, tart pear, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (from Ay old vines; disgorged 1/13) 92 points
    • NV Henri Goutorbe Champagne Rosé Aÿ
      Light salmon pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; light cherry cream nose; creamy textured, tart cherry, cream, raspberry, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (best version of this bottling I’ve ever tried; all 2009 fruit, 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay; disgorged 12/12) 92+ points

    J. M. Gremillet

    • 2009 J. M. Gremillet Champagne Brut Grande Réserve Blanc de Noirs
      Light straw yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, sesame seed nose; creamy textured, yeasty, tart apple, mineral, green apple, chalk palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (12% alcohol) 90+ points

    Henriot
    The Henriot family have been growers in Champagne since the mid 1600s, and started this house in 1808. They generally work with vines averaging 25 to 30 years old.

    • NV Henriot Champagne Blanc Souverain Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, almond nose; tasty, almond, yeasty, brioche palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
    • NV Henriot Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut nose; tasty, poised, autolytic, hazelnut, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • 1998 Henriot Champagne Cuvée des Enchanteleurs Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, very yeasty, brioche, apple pastry, apple tart filling nose; creamy textured, light-medium bodied, yeasty, apple pastry, brioche, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points
    • 2005 Henriot Champagne Brut Millésimé
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; savory, autolytic, dried onion soup mix nose; autolytic, creamy textured, tart pear, baked pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points
    • NV Henriot Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light orange pink color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart strawberry, light sauteed onion nose; tasty, delicate, ripe strawberry, yeasty, mineral, tart cherry palate; medium-plus finish (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay) 92+ points

    Jacques Chaput

    • NV Jacques Chaput Champagne Brut Rosé Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Very light orange color with steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, floral, tart orange nose; tasty, tart orange cream, mineral, autolytic palate; medium-plus finish 91 points

    Jacques Selosse
    IMG_2759
    Jacques Selosse

    • NV Jacques Selosse Champagne Brut Initiale
      Light golden color with steady, tiny bubbles; oxidative, manzanilla, vaguely smoky nose; tasty, elegant, tart lemon, oxidative, mineral palate; long finish (based on ’06, ’05 & ’04 vintages) 93 points
    • NV Jacques Selosse Champagne Version Originale Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs
      Light golden color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, sherry, tart lemon nose; rich, creamy, ripe lemon,, mineral, almond palate; very long finish 94+ points
    • 2003 Jacques Selosse Champagne Millésimé
      Light medium golden yellow color with tiny bubbles; appealing, oxidative, almond, ghee, biscuit nose; creamy textured, mineral, melted butter, ghee, lightly oxidative palate; long finish 95 points
    • 2002 Jacques Selosse Champagne Millésimé
      Light golden color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, oxidative, melted butter, croissant, tarte tatin, almond nose; tasty, creamy textured, almond, mineral, sweet butter palate; very long finish (from 2 parcels planted in 1975 on average 12% gradient, up to 59%) 94+ points

    Jacquesson
    IMG_2980

    • NV Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Cuvée No. 737
      Pre-release (late Nov. 2013 release) – light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, toasted almond, light hazelnut, saline nose; tasty, almond, saline, golden raspberry palate with firm texture and medium acidity; needs 2 years; long finish (43% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier, 27% Pinot Noir; 30% reserves; based on 2009 vintage; 3.5 grams dosage; disgorged March 2013) 94 points
    • NV Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Cuvée No. 736
      Slightly hazy, light straw yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; reduction, light lemon, yeasty, almond nose; tight, tasty, tart apple, very tart pear, mineral, saline palate; needs 2 years; medium-plus finish (53% Chardonnay, 29% Pinot Noir, 18% Pinot Meunier; 34% reserves; based on 2008 vintage; 1.5 grams dosage; disgorged November 2012) 93+ points
    • 2002 Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Millésimé
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; light reduction, almond, saffron nose; tasty, layered, coiled, ripe lemon, mineral palate with medium acidity; long finish 94+ points
    • 2002 Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Brut Avize Grand Cru Champ Caïn
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, saline, yeasty, almond, sesame seed nose; intense, tasty, saline, almond, sesame seed palate; long finish 96+ points
    • 2004 Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Vauzelle Terme Aÿ
      Light peach yellow color; floral, pear, lightly yeasty, almond, tart peach, saline nose; tasty, fresh, elegant, very tart pear, tart apple, minerally, tart peach palate with fine delineation; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Noir) 94 points
    • 2004 Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Brut Avize Grand Cru Champ Caïn
      Light yellow color with few, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, yeasty, almond, peanut nose; tasty, rich but poised, medium bodied, delicate, mineral, yeasty, tart pear, lemon, poached pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 94+ points
    • 2004 Jacquesson & Fils Champagne Dizy Corne Bautray
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond, sesame seed, sesame seed oil nose; tasty, tart lemon, sesame seed, mineral palate with great precision, weight and lively acidity; long finish 95 points

    Jean Lallement
    This is a family operation that owns four and a half hectares in Verzy, Verzenay and Ludes. Eighty percent is planted to Pinot, and 20% to Chardonnay. They use native yeast and very little dosage.

    • NV Jean Lallement Champagne Brut Grand Cru Verzenay
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; lifted, yeasty, oxidative, tart apple nose; tart apple, oxidative apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay; 80% 2009, 20% 2008; disgorged Nov. 2012) 90+ points
    • NV Jean Lallement Champagne Cuvée Réserve Grand Cru
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; focused, tart pear, tart apple, yeasty nose; focused, tart pear, tart apple, yeasty palate; medium-plus finish (80% 2008, 20% 2009; 4 grams dosage; disgorged Nov. 2012) 90 points
    • NV Jean Lallement Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru
      Very light orange color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; golden raspberry, lightly yeasty nose; creamy textured, yeasty, golden raspberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (all 2009 Verzenay Pinot Noir; disgorged July 2012) 91 points

    Jean Milan
    Another small grower, with roots going back five generations. They own five hectares of vineyards.

    • NV Jean Milan Champagne Blanc de Blancs Spécial Grand Cru Oger
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; tart apple, chalk, tart pear cream nose; tasty, creamy textured, rounded, ripe pear, mineral, chalk palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (much stronger this year than in prior editions of this NV; 50/50 2008 & 2009) 92+ points
    • NV Jean Milan Champagne Grande Reserve 1864 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Oger
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; savory, chalk, mineral, tart apple nose; tasty, tangy, very tart apple, citrus, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (blend of cask-aged wines from 2003 & 2004) 91+ points
    • 2009 Jean Milan Champagne Terres de Noel Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Côte des Blancs
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; lemon cream, creme fraiche nose; tasty, creme fraiche, lemon cream, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (from 72-year-old vines; 8 grams dosage; ideal pairing with smoked salmon and creme fraiche) 91+ points
    • NV Jean Milan Champagne Rosé Glamour Côte des Blancs
      Very light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, tart strawberry, light roses, mineral nose; tasty, vinous, focused, sour cherry, tart strawberry, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus (all 2010 fruit: 20% Oger Chardonnay and 10% Bouzy Pinot Noir; a Burgundy lover’s sparkling rosé) 92+ points
    • NV Jean Milan Champagne Cuvée Tendresse Sec Côte des Blancs
      Very light green-tinged yellow color with few, steady, tiny bubbles; chalky, sharp, sauerkraut, VA nose; unusual, savory, sauerkraut, chalk palate; medium-plus finish (20 grams dosage) 88 points

    Krug
    The House of Krug was founded in 1843, and reliably produces some of the finest, and most sought after, Champagnes year after year. The wines are all fermented in well-aged 205-liter barrels, undergo just two rackings, and they do not induce malolactic fermentation. The wines are aged at least six years before disgorgement. The Grande Cuvée is a complex and layered assemblage made from dozens of wines, over 100 in recent years, from 10 different vintages.

    • NV Krug Champagne Grande Cuvée Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; autolytic, dried mushroom, hazelnut nose; tasty, autolytic, dried mushroom, hazelnut, ripe pear palate; long finish (Krug ID 112001; blend of 134 wines from 1990 to 2005) 94 points
    • NV Krug Champagne Grande Cuvée Brut
      Light medium yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; very appealing, toffee, hazelnut, shelled almond, dried pear and apricot nose; delicious, poised but rich and luscious, almond, tart apple, tart pear, almond cream, mineral, tart lemon palate; long finish 95+ points (ID#112008, indicating it was disgorged in the first quarter of 2012; a blend of 134 different wines, based on 12 different vintages, the oldest from 1990 and the youngest from 2005) 95 points
    • 2000 Krug Champagne Brut
      Light lemon yellow color with few, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, bright, hazelnut, vanilla, almond, toffee, dates nose; creamy textured, very tart pear, almond, mineral, tart apple, tart citrus palate with crisp acidity; long finish (ID code 210008; 43% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier; blend of 35 wines from the 2000 vintage) 97+ points
    • 1989 Krug Champagne Brut Collection
      Light medium golden yellow color with abundant, steady, pinpoint bubbles; appealing, mature, hazelnut, dried fruits, light coffee, toffee, orange marmalade nose; tasty, mature, tart apple butter, orange marmalade, hazelnut, Brazil nut, hazelnut cream palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (disgorged in 2000 and held in Krug cellars in Reims until release as latest Collection offering) 95+ points
    • NV Krug Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light pink orange or “rose gold” color with speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, complex, subtle, almond, Jordan almond, orange melon, dates, hazelnut nose; creamy textured, rich, dates, almond, golden raspberry palate, a very elegant sparkling rosé; long finish 96 points

    La Caravelle

    • NV La Caravelle Champagne Cuvée Niña Brut Côte des Blancs
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; tart pear nose; tasty, ripe pear, apple palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points
    • NV La Caravelle Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Côte des Blancs
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; almond, apple nose; tasty, creamy textured, almond, yeasty, green apple palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • NV La Caravelle Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light salmon pink color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; lifted, floral, tart raspberry nose; vinous, tart cherry, tart raspberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points

    Lallier

    • NV Champagne Lallier Champagne Premier Cru Brut Rose Aÿ
      Very light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; tart cherry, ripe raspberry nose; tasty, creamy textured, raspberry, cherry palate; medium finish 90 points

    Lamiable

    • NV Lamiable Champagne Brut Grand Cru
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; oxidative, almond nose; oxidative apple, coarse palate; medium finish 86 points
    • 2007 Lamiable Champagne Cuvée Les Meslaines Brut Grand Cru
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; intriguing, baked peach, dried apricot nose; tight, oxidative, tart dried apricot, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 89 points

    A. Lancelot-Pienne

    • NV A. Lancelot-Pienne Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cramant
      Light yellow color with lots of tiny, leisurely bubbles; light white chocolate, toffee, lime honey nose; tasty, tangy, tart green fruit, mineral, very tart peach palate; medium-plus finish 92 points

    Lanson

    • NV Lanson Champagne Extra Age Brut
      Light yellow color with few, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, lemon brioche nose; yeasty, creamy textured, zesty tart lemon, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ points

    J. Lassalle

    • NV J. Lassalle Champagne Brut Reserve Cachet d’Or
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart apple, yeasty, light brioche nose; creamy textured, tart apple, mineral, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish (1/3 each Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay; base of 2008 & 2009; 8 months on lees) 90+ points

    Laurent-Perrier

    • NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut L.P
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, sauteed mushroom nose; creamy textured, yeasty, almond, sauteed mushroom palate; medium-plus finish (usually about 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier) 91 points
    • NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Ultra Brut
      Light straw yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, yeasty nose; tasty, creamy textured, almond, yeasty palate; medium-plus finish (55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir; based on ’99 vintage) 92 points
    • NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Grand Siècle
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, sauteed mushroom nose; tasty, savory, autolytic, hazelnut, sauteed mushroom palate; medium-plus finish (60% 1996, 20% 1999, 20% 1997) 94 points
    • 2004 Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Millésimé
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; savory, yeasty, light hazelnut nose; tasty, savory, yeasty, light hazelnut, mineral, chalk palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut
      Light medium orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, tart pear nose; autolytic, hazelnut, tart pear, mineral, very tart tangerine palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points

    A. R. Lenoble

    • 2006 A. R. Lenoble Champagne Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs
      Light golden yellow color with abundant, tiny bubbles; lifted, vanilla, peach yogurt, honey nose; creamy textured, peach yogurt, vanilla, oak palate that’s rich at the outset but thins toward finish; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Noir; 3 grams dosage; 20% oak) 88 points

    Lilbert-Fils

    • NV Lilbert-Fils Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Perle
      Light yellow color with few, tiny bubbles; tart apple, dried apple nose; tasty, dried apple, tart pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (4-5 grams dosage) 90 points
    • NV Lilbert-Fils Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Côte des Blancs
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, ripe pear, poached pear, chalk nose; tasty, bright, lithe, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (6-8 grams dosage) 90+ points
    • 2000 Lilbert-Fils Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Cramant
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, very tiny bubbles; appealing, tart lemon, quince, almond nose; tasty, savory, tart lemon, mineral, citrus palate with austere acidity; medium-plus finish 90+ points
    • 2004 Lilbert-Fils Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Cramant
      Light lemon yellow color with few, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, hazelnut, almond, toast now; very tasty, toast, yeasty, hazelnut, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (4-5 grams dosage; full malo) 93 points

    Louis Roederer
    This top house owns 218 hectares of vineyards mainly in grand cru sites, which provide about two-thirds of the grapes needed for their production. The current chef de cave is Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. Malolactic fermentation is generally avoided.

    • NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, almond, yeasty, almond cream nose; tangy, tasty, yeasty, tart pear, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier; 10 grams dosage; partial malo; 10% of reserve wines are aged in cask) 91 points
    • 2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Vintage
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, autolytic, lemon brioche, lemon cream nose; tight, tart lemon, lemon cream, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ points
    • 2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Blanc de Blancs
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; autolytic, tart lemon, preserved lemon, almond nose; tight, tasty, almond, lime cream, cottage cheese palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • 2005 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; saline, chalk, tart apple cream nose; tasty, saline, chalk, tart apple, cream, tart apple, mineral palate; long finish 93+ points
    • 2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Rosé Brut
      Pale salmon color with tiny, steady bubbles; tart orange, ripe cantaloupe, orange cream nose; creamy textured, tart orange, orange cream, mineral, very tart Rainier cherry palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 92+ points

    Marc Hébrart

    • NV Marc Hébrart Champagne Brut Selection Premier Cru
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; tart apple, oxidized apple nose; tangy, tart apple, oxidized apple palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (80% 2008, 20% 2007-2006; 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay; disgorged 10/12) 89 points
    • NV Marc Hébrart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 1er Cru
      Very light green-tinged yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; tart green apple, oxidized apple nose; tasty, tart green apple, oxidized apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (80% 2009, 20% 2008/2007; disgorged 10/12) 89 points
    • NV “Marc Hébrart Champagne Premier Cru “Cuvee de Reserve”
      Light peach yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, tart pear nose; tasty, rich, poised, creamy textured, lemon, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (82% Pinot Noir, 18% Chardonnay; 60% 2010; disgorged 10/12) 91+ points
    • 2006 Marc Hébrart Champagne Rive Gauche-Rive Droite Grand Cru Brut
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, almond brioche, croissant, pear brioche nose; tasty, rich, pear brioche, almond, mineral, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Noir, 50% old vine Chardonnay; vinified in 3rd use barriques; disgorged 11/11) 93+ points
    • 2008 Marc Hébrart Champagne Spécial Club 1er Cru
      Very light green-tinged yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, almond brioche nose; tasty, almond, almond brioche, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay; disgorged 11/12) 92 points
    • 2007 Marc Hébrart Champagne Brut Prestige 1er Cru
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, ripe pear nose; tasty, almond, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay; disgorged 11/12) 92+ points
    • NV Marc Hébrart Champagne Rosé Brut Reserve 1er Cru
      Light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; oxidative, tart raspberry nose; tasty, tart raspberry, very tart cherry, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (largely 2010 fruit; 50% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir and 9% still red 2009 Mareuil Pinot Noir; disgorged 11/12) 91+ points

    A. Margaine
    101911 080
    Arnaud Margaine
    This is a small grower with seven hectares, planted mostly to Chardonnay.

    • NV A. Margaine Champagne Brut Cuvée Traditionelle
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, light grapefruit cream, yeasty nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, tart apple, mineral, yeasty palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (92% Chardonnay, 8% Pinot Noir; 36% 2010, 35% 2009, 10% 2008, 10% 2007, 9% 2004; disgorged Jan. 2013) 92+ points
    • NV A. Margaine Champagne Extra Brut Premier Cru
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart apple, lightly yeasty, dried apple nose; tart apple, lightly yeasty, dried apple, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (85% 2007, 15% 2006, no malo; disgorged Nov. 2012) 91+ points
    • NV A. Margaine Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light pink color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; ripe cherry, raspberry nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, tart cherry, raspberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (76% Chardonnay, 24% Pinot Noir, with 11% still red from 2008 & 2009; base mainly 2010; disgorged Nov. 2012; for those who like a fruity rosé, but one with a lot of poise) 92+ points
    • NV A. Margaine Champagne Demi Sec Traditionelle
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart apple nose; rich, creamy textured, almond, almond brioche palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged Jan. 2012) 90 points
    • NV A. Margaine Champagne Demi-Sec 1er Cru
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, light pear nose; rich, creamy textured, sweet almond cream, pear cream palate; medium-plus finish (very elegant for a sweet style Champagne) 92 points

    Marguet

    • NV Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Cuvée Réserve Brut
      From magnum – light peach yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, tart apple, pear, yeasty nose; tasty, poised, chalk, tart apple, mineral, saline palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (2009 base) 91 points
    • 2008 Marguet Père & Fils Champagne Les Crayères Ambonnay
      Slightly hazy light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, ripe pear, light white chocolate nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, tart pear, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • 2006 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Ambonnay
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, ripe pear, yeasty, delicate, apple cream nose; creamy textured, zesty, very tart apple, chalk, mineral palate with tangy, medium acidity; medium-plus finish 93 points
    • NV Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Rosé Grand Cru Ambonnay
      From magnum – light orange pink color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, lifted, almond cream, yeasty, toasted almond nose; very tasty, creamy textured, tart lemon, mineral, chalk, almond, almond cream palate; medium-plus finish (based on 2010) 92+ points
    • 2007 Marguet Père et Fils Champagne Rosé Grand Cru Ambonnay
      Light medium orange pink color with abundant, steady tiny bubbles; yeasty, savory, tart Rainier cherry, poached pear nose; tasty, very tart Rainier cherry, tart strawberry, orange cream, mineral palate with mediu acidity; medium-plus finish 91+ points

    Michel Loriot

    • NV Michel Loriot Champagne Brut Réserve
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, almond, oxidative apple nose; oxidative apple, apple cider palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 86 points
    • NV Michel Loriot Champagne Brut Réserve
      From magnum – light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, savory, almond nose; tasty, savory, yeasty, almond, mineral, toasty almond palate; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Meunier) 91+ points
    • 2006 Michel Loriot Pinot Meunier Champagne Vieilles Vignes
      Light peachy yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, oxidative apple nose; yeasty, almond, oxidative apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 89 points
    • NV Michel Loriot Champagne Cuvée Marie Léopold Sec
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, yeasty nose; rich, almond, yeasty palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points

    Moët & Chandon
    This mammoth producer owns over 553 hectares in 44 villages, but the produce of those vineyards only supplies about a quarter of the fruit they need. The fruit for the Dom Pérignon bottlings is primarily from the vineyards owned by the Abbey of Hautvillers in the time of Dom Pérignon, and purchased by Moët & Chandon in the 1820s. They are also now using fruit from the former Lanson vineyards.

    • NV Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Impérial
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; chalk, tart green apple, fresh green melon, very tart pear nose; crisp, a little austere, floaty, very tart green apple, chalk, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (great pairing with oysters) 90 points
    • 2004 Moët & Chandon Champagne Grand Vintage Brut
      Light yellow color with lots of speedy tiny bubbles; appealing, tart pear, lightly yeasty, lightly floral, light honey nose; youthful, tart pear, mineral, very tart pear, very tart apple palate with citrus on the finish; medium-plus finish (38% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 29% Pinot Meunier; 5 grams dosage) 92+ points
    • 2004 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very autolytic, preserved lemon, savory, white truffle nose; tasty, lemon, fresh lime, mineral, autolytic palate; needs 3-plus years; long finish 94 points
    • 2003 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon
      Light medium yellow color with few, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart lemon, tart pear, tart apple, hazelnut nose; tight, tasty, yeasty, mineral, very tart apple, tart lemon, hazelnut palate; medium-plus finish 94+ points
    • 2004 Moët & Chandon Champagne Grand Vintage Brut Rosé
      Light pink orange color with abundant, speedy, torrent of very tiny bubbles; appealing, tart orange, orange rind, lemon rind, tart Rainier cherry, torrefaction, roast coffee nose; poised, tasty, elegant, laser focused, tart orange, tart Rainier cherry, mineral palate with vibrant acidity; medium-plus finish (sample provided by winery) 93 points
    • NV Moët & Chandon Champagne Nectar Imperial
      Light yellow color with lots of speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, tart apple, tart pear nose; rich, ripe peach, pear, almond palate; medium-plus finish (45 grams dosage with hyper oxygenation) 89 points

    Moussé
    Champagne Moussé has been a grower since 1750. Eighty percent of their vines are Pinot Meunier. They use almost exclusively stainless steel, and all the wines go through malolactic.

    • NV Moussé Fils Champagne Brut Rosé Tradition
      Light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; floral, lemon nose; tasty, refreshing, lemon, lemon cream palate; medium-plus finish (based on 2010 vintage) 92 points
    • NV Moussé Fils Champagne Noire Réserve Brut
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, tart pear nose; tasty, poised, almond, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • 2008 Moussé Fils Champagne Millésimé Brut
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, pear, pear brioche nose; tasty, poised, tart pear, pear brioche, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir; disgorged January 2013) 93 points

    G. H. Mumm
    Mumm became part of the Pernod Ricard group in 2005. They own 218 acres primarily in grand cru sites.

    • NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Mumm de Cramant Blanc de Blancs
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond, praline nose; tasty, yeasty, almond, praline, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • NV G. H. Mumm & Cie Champagne Cordon Rouge Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; subtle tart peach, tart pear nose; creamy textured, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points

    Nicolas Feuillatte

    • NV Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Réserve
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, ripe pear, apple nose; tasty, light-medium bodied, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points
    • NV Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light salmon pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, ripe cherry nose; tasty, creamy textured, ripe cherry, raspberry palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points

    Pascal Doquet
    This house was founded in 1974. Pascal Doquet now owns 8.66 hectares, including 1.67 hectares of the great grand cru Le Mesnil. They’ve been fully certified as an organic producer since 2008.

    • NV Pascal Doquet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, almond cream nose; tasty, creamy textured, almond, yeasty, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points
    • 2002 Pascal Doquet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, yeasty, white chocolate, ripe pear nose; tasty, rich but balanced, creamy textured, yeasty, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points

    Paul Bara

    • NV Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve Bouzy
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; mineral, tart apple, chalk nose; tasty, creamy textured, rounded, lightly yeasty, tart apple, mineral, chalk palate; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay; 8 grams dosage) 91+ points
    • 2006 Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Spécial Club Bouzy
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, chalk nose; tasty, yeasty, mineral, chalk, tart apple palate; medium-plus finish (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay; 6 grams dosage) 91+ points

    Paul Dethune

    • NV Paul Dethune Champagne Brut Cuvée Prestige Princesse des ThunesAmbonnay
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond, biscuity nose; tasty, rounded, creamy textured, apple cream, pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay) 91+ points

    Pehu Simonet
    101911 071
    David Pehu, winemaker/proprietor at Pehu Simonet
    I am increasingly impressed by the Champagnes from this house, which was founded in the early 1900s. David Pehu studied oenology in Burgundy, and has been sole winemaker since 1995. They own 7.5 hectares, of which six are grand cru. Malolactic fermentations are strictly avoided.

    • NV Pehu Simonet Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Verzenay
      Very light green-tinged yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, light white chocolate, chalk, tart pear nose; tasty, poised, tart pear, yeasty, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (all 2009, all Mesnil; disgorged Nov. 2012) 92+ points
    • NV Pehu Simonet Champagne Brut Selection Grand Cru Verzenay
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart pear, mineral, chalk nose; tasty, rich, ripe pear, lemon drop palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay; 70% 2010 and 30% reserve/solera dating to 2006; disgorged Aug. 2012) 91+ points
    • NV Pehu Simonet Champagne Transparence Extra Brut Verzenay
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, savory, yeasty, pear nose; tasty, yeasty, pear, savory, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay; all 2007 & Verzenay; disgorged Nov. 2012) 92+ points
    • NV Pehu Simonet Champagne Brut Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Verzenay
      Very light peach yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart pear cream nose; tasty, poised, tart pear cream, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (all 2009; disgorged Dec. 2012) 92+ points
    • NV Pehu Simonet Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru Verzenay
      Very light orange pink color; oxidative, Rainier cherry, yeasty nose; tangy, very tart raspberry, golden raspberry, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (based on 2010 with 8% still Pinot Noir; 25% of the solera dating to 2006; disgorged Oct. 2012) 90 points

    Perrier-Jouët
    This house dates back to 1811. It was acquired by Mumm in 1950, and is now owned, along with Mumm, by Allied Domecq. The house has excellent vineyards in Cramant, whose fine Chardonnay grapes play a major role in the house’s delicate, elegant style.

    • NV Perrier-Jouët Champagne Grand Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, almond nose; creamy textured, almond, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points
    • 2004 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Belle Epoque
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; autolytic, brioche, apple bear claw nose; tasty, creamy textured, ripe apple, ripe lemon, mineral palate; long finish 93+ points
    • 2004 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Brut Rosé Belle Epoque
      Very pale salmon color with tiny, steady bubbles; appealing, tart cherry, ripe peach, peach cream nose; oxidative, tart cherry, tart peach, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 92+ points

    Philippe Prié

    • NV Philippe Prié Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light medium pink color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, savory, creme fraiche, tart golden raspberry nose; creamy textured, tart golden raspberry, yeasty, mineral, tart orange palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay; 12% alcohol) 90+ points

    Philipponnat
    This house was founded in 1910, and is now owned by Bruno Paillard. Their holdings include the fabulous Clos des Goisses Vineyard, but they buy over three-quarters of the grapes they need. The 1522 is typically dominated by Pinot Noir.

    • NV Philipponnat Champagne Royale Réserve Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, tart pear, light white chocolate nose; tasty, rich but poised, white chocolate, tart apple, pear palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
    • 2003 Philipponnat Champagne Cuvée 1522
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, brioche, apple strudel, lemon cream nose; richly flavored, tasty, lemon cream, apple pie filling, mineral palate; long finish 94 points
    • 2005 Philipponnat Champagne Grand Blanc
      Light lemon yellow color with few tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, white chocolate, vanilla nose; creamy textured, white chocolate, sauteed mushroom palate; medium-plus finish 93 points

    Pierre Gimonnet
    The Gimonnets have been growers in the village of Cuis since 1750, and started to produce and sell their own Champagne in 1935. They own 26 hectares in Cuis and the Grand Crus of Chouilly and Cramant, all planted to Chardonnay.

    • NV Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuis 1er Cru
      Light green-tinged yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, ripe pear nose; tasty, poised, almond, ripe pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (80% 2010, with reserves from 2009 (9.8%), 2008 (4.2%), 2007 (5.2%) and 2002 (1%); disgorged 11/12) 92 points
    • 2005 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut Oenophile 1er Cru
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond nose; tasty, yeasty, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (Fleuron blend w/o dosage; disgorged October 2012) 92+ points
    • 2005 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Millésime de Collection Vieilles Vignes
      From magnum – light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond nose; tasty, creamy textured, yeasty, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 9/12) 92 points
    • 2005 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Special Club
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, almond brioche, white chocolate nose; tasty, creamy textured, almond, almond brioche, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (good value in this range; disgorged 11/12) 93 points
    • 2006 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Brut Paradoxe 1er Cru
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, yeasty nose; tasty, creamy textured, almond, yeasty, mineral, tart pear palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • 2006 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Fleuron 1er Cru
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond nose; creamy textured, yeasty, almond, mineral, almond cream palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 10/12) 92 points
    • 2008 Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Gastronome 1er Cru
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; subtle, yeasty, tart pear, almond nose; tasty, yeasty, tart pear, almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 10/12) 91+ points
    • NV Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Rosé des Blancs Brut 1er Cru
      Light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; golden raspberry, almond nose; creamy textured, golden raspberry, yeasty almond palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points

    Pierre Moncuit

    • NV Pierre Moncuit Champagne Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Brut Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; lightly oxidative, almond nose; lightly oxidative, almond, lime, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 90 points

    Pierre Paillard

    • NV Pierre Paillard Champagne Brut Grand Cru Bouzy
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, lightly oxidative, oxidative apple nose; oxidative apple, mineral, tart pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 90 points
    • 2002 Pierre Paillard Champagne Brut Millésimé Grand Cru Bouzy
      From magnum – light medium yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, poised, tart apple nose; tasty, poised, yeasty, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • 2004 Pierre Paillard Champagne Brut Millésimé Grand Cru Bouzy
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; focused, almond, almond cream, tart pear, chalk, yeasty nose; poised, youthful, tart apple, tart pear, almond, yeasty, chalk, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir) 92 points

    Pierre Péters

    101911 083
    Rodolphe Péters
    This small but highly esteemed grower producer controls 17.5 hectares, including 12 in the best parts of Le Mesnil.

    • NV Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      From magnum – light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, mineral, tart apple, chalk, yeasty, tart lemon nose; tasty, focused, precise, tart lemon, mineral, very tart pear palate; long finish (based on 2008 vintage; much stronger than the 750 ml version based on the 2010 vintage at this point) 94 points
    • NV Pierre Péters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; mineral, chalk, tart apple nose; tasty, elegant, lighter bodied, chalk, tart apple, mineral, lemon palate; medium-plus finish (based on 2010 vintage) 93 points

    Piper-Heidsieck
    The Piper-Heidsieck branch of the Heidsieck houses was formed in 1834, and became part of Rémy-Cointreau in 1989. The house doesn’t own any vineyards, but buys grapes from 70 villages. All the wines now go through complete malo.

    • NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, light white chocolate nose; tasty, poised, tart pear, ripe pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (55-60% Pinot Noir, 20-25% Pinot Meunier, 10-15% Chardonnay; 12% alcohol; 11 grams dosage) 91 points
    • 2006 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Millésimé
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, saline nose; austere, tart grapefruit, lightly yeasty, mineral, iodine palate; needs 2-3 years; medium-plus finish (51% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir; released 9/12; 12% alcohol) 90+ points
    • 2002 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Rare
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, savory, autolytic, brioche, almond brioche nose; tasty, autolytic, tart lemon, iodine, saline, almond palate; needs 4-5 years; long finish (70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir; 12% alcohol; 8th edition of this wine) 94 points
    • 1998 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Rare
      From magnum – light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; elegant, yeasty, brioche, toasty, saline nose; delicious, autolytic, lemon, mineral, lemon cream palate; long finish (this vintage was only produced in magnum) 97+ points
    • 1988 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Rare
      Light golden yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; mature, mushroom, dried porcini mushroom, lemon confit, lanolin, dry lemon marmalade nose; mature, delicious, savory, lemon confit, mineral, light dried mushroom palate; long finish 94+ points
    • NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Sublime Demi-Sec
      Light lemon yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; baked pear, ripe pineapple, almond gelatin nose; rich, almond gelatin, coconut, ripe pear palate; medium-plus finish (45 grams dosage; a very good demi-sec; good pairing with Asian dishes) 91 points
    • NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Sauvage
      Light medium pink orange color; vinous, tart cherry, roses, blood orange nose; delicious, vinous, tart cherry, juicy, ripe blood orange, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (w/25% dry red from Riceys; a Burgundy lover’s Champagne; good pairing with Chinese food, orange duck, roast lamb) 92+

    Pol Roger
    This house, one of my favorites at all levels, was founded in 1849. It owns 85 hectares of vineyards, which supply 45% of the needed fruit, and they purchase the rest from Pinot villages.

    • NV Pol Roger Champagne Brut Réserve
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart pear, apple nose; tasty, poised, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • NV Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvee de Reserve Côte des Blancs
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, almond, tart pear, apple pie filling nose; tasty, poised, autolytic, hazelnut, tart pear, mineral, saline palate; medium-plus finish (1/3 each Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay; also labeled “”Pure””) 92+ points
    • 2002 Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvee de Reserve
      Light medium yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, hazelnut cream, toffee, brioche, autolytic nose; mature, creamy textured, autolytic, light sauteed onion, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay) 92 points
    • 2002 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Vintage
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, almond, lemon cream, vanilla nose; tasty, lithe, ethereal, almond, lemon cream, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points
    • 2002 Pol Roger Champagne Blanc de Blancs
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, toasted almond nose; tasty, creamy textured, autolytic, hazelnut, toasted almond, lemon marmalade, almond cream palate; medium-plus finish 93 points
    • 2000 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Brut
      Bright, light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, tart pear, almond, lemon curd nose; flavorful, rich but poised, autolytic, almond, lemon cream, tart pear, tart apple, saline, mineral, hazelnut palate; long finish 96 points
    • 2004 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light medium orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, autolytic, almond cream, golden raspberry nose; tasty, poised, autolytic, almond cream, golden raspberry, light cherry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 93 points
    • NV Pol Roger Champagne Rich
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, mushroom nose; rich, tasty, almond cream, mushroom, yeasty palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points

    Pommery

    • NV Pommery Champagne Brut Royal
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut nose; mature, autolytic, hazelnut, savory palate; medium-plus finish (good value at about $30) 92+ points
    • NV Pommery Champagne Brut Apanage
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, light hazelnut, toasted almond nose; autolytic, light hazelnut, toasted almond palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • 1999 Pommery Champagne Cuvée Louise Brut
      Light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; autolytic, hazelnut, dried mushroom nose; creamy textured, autolytic, hazelnut, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir) 93 points
    • NV Pommery Champagne Rosé Brut
      Light peach yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, light sauteed onion, baked pear nose; tasty, creamy textured, yeasty, baked pear palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points

    Prévoteau-Perrier

    • NV Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Brut Tradition
      Bright light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; chalk, yeasty, lemon nose; very tart lemon, tart grapefruit, mineral, chalk, saline palate with weight and searing medium acidity; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay) 89 points
    • NV Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Adrienne Lecouvreur
      Bright light lemon yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, brioche nose; tasty, focused, creamy textured, yeasty, saline, almond palate; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir; 4.5 years on lees; 50% reserve wines) 90+ points
    • NV Prévoteau-Perrier Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; lightly savory, tart grapefruit, tart apple nose; tasty, very saline, tart grapefruit, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay with 10% Damery rouge) 90+ points

    René Geoffroy
    Another small family owned grower that can trace their family ownership back to the 1600s. They harvest grapes in several passes (“tries”), use oak foudres and prevent malolactic.

    • 2007 René Geoffroy Champagne Empreinte Brut Premier Cru Vallée de la Marne
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, tart pear nose; tasty, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (76% Pinot Noir, 13% Chardonnay, 11% Pinot Meunier; disgorged 11/12) 90+ points
    • NV René Geoffroy Champagne Expression Brut Premier Cru
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; savory, tart apple, tart cherry nose; tasty, tart Rainier cherry, tart golden raspberry palate; medium-plus finish (70% 2009, 30% 2008; disgorged 10/12) 90 points
    • NV René Geoffroy Champagne Blanc de Rose Extra Brut
      Light medium orange pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; light cherry soda, raspberry cream nose; raspberry cream, light cherry soda palate; medium finish (50/50 co-maceration of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, all 2010 fruit, disgorged 6/12) 89 points
    • 2004 René Geoffroy Champagne Millésimé Vallée de la Marne
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, pear cream, almond nose; yeasty, almond, tart pear, oxidative palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 10/12) 91 points
    • NV René Geoffroy Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut 1er Cru Vallée de la Marne
      Light medium pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, vinous, tart cherry, raspberry cream nose; tart cherry cream, tart cherry, ripe raspberry palate; medium-plus finish (disgorged 11/12) 91 points
    • 2007 René Geoffroy Champagne Volupté Brut Premier Cru Vallée de la Marne
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; lemon chiffon, white chocolate, pear pastry nose; tasty, tart pear, mineral, lemon cream palate; medium-plus finish (80% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier; no malolactic; 45% in large oak foudres) 91 points

    Roger Coulon
    IMG_3045

    • NV Roger Coulon Champagne Grande Tradition Brut Premier Cru Montagne de Reims
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart apple, floral, light lime nose; elegant, tart lime, mineral palate with tangy medium acidity; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir; 6 grams dosage; disgorged July 2012; 12% alcohol; 30% reserve from solera) 90+ points
    • NV Roger Coulon Champagne Brut Nature Esprit de Vrigny Montagne de Reims
      Light yellow color with speedy, tiny bubbles; oxidative, tart apple, reduction nose; tangy, very tart pear, mineral, saline palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (1/3 each Pinot Noir from clay soils, Pinot Meunier from sand and Chardonnay from chalk; no dosage) 92 points
    • NV Roger Coulon Champagne Cuvée Prestige Chateau de Vallier Montagne de Reims
      Light golden yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, biscuity nose; delicious, elegant, yeasty, biscuity, mineral, almond pastry, saline, honey palate; long finish (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier; based on 2002 & 2003 vintages; 5 grams dosage; 12% alcohol) 93+ points
    • 2005 Roger Coulon Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut Montagne de Reims
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart apple, chalk nose; elegant, very tart apple, mineral, saline palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (50% Pinot Meunier from own rooted vines, 50% Pinot Noir; 6 grams dosage; disgorged July 2012; cries out for pairing with oysters) 92+ points
    • NV Roger Coulon Champagne Réserve de l’Hommée Montagne de Reims
      Light yellow color with lots of steady, tiny bubbles; tart pear, saline, light white jasmine nose; austere, very tart pear, mineral palate with medium acidity; very ageworthy; medium-plus finish (1/3 each Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay; Chardonnay aged in 7 months in barrique; 6 grams dosage; disgorged July 2013; 12% alcohol) 91+ points
    • NV Roger Coulon Champagne Rosélie Montagne de Reims
      Light medium orange pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; red berry, ripe cranberry nose; rich, tasty, tart currant, tart red berry, mineral palate with mouthwatering acidity; medium-plus finish (4 grams dosage; disgorged April 2013) 90 points

    Ruinart
    Ruinart was the first Champagne house, founded in 1729.

    • NV Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Montagne de Reims
      Light yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, almond, green apple nose; creamy textured, almond, nutshell, green apple palate; medium-plus finish 88+ points
    • NV Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Montagne de Reims
      From magnum – light lemon yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; savory, chalk, yeasty nose; tasty, yeasty, light footed, chalk, tart yellow apple, mineral palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • 2002 Ruinart Champagne Brut Millésimé Montagne de Reims
      Bright light yellow color with abundant, speedy column of very tiny bubbles; appealing, lifted, tart pear, lemon cream, floral, lightly yeasty nose; appealing, delicate, lemon cream, fresh lemon, mineral palate with good acidity; medium-plus finish (5 grams dosage) 92 points
    • 1998 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Brut Rosé Grand Cru Montagne de Reims
      From magnum – light pink orange color with a column of speedy, very tiny bubbles; chalk, tart strawberry, floral, hibiscus nose; delicate, light footed, creamy textured, floral, light cherry, strawberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 93 points
    • NV Ruinart Champagne Brut Rosé Montagne de Reims
      From magnum – light medium orange pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart orange cream nose; yeasty, tart orange cream, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points

    Saint-Chamant

    • NV Saint-Chamant Christian Coquillette Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light yellow pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; yeasty, brioche, light toast nose; tight, creamy textured, yeasty, almond, brioche, mineral, baked pear palate; medium-plus finish (90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier) 91+ points
    • NV Saint-Chamant Christian Coquillette Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; oxidative, almond cream, hazelnut, cream nose; tight, creamy textured, almond, autolytic, almond cream, mineral, creme fraiche palate; medium-plus finish 91 points

    Salon

    • 1999 Salon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      Light yellow color with lots of tiny bubbles; mineral, chalk, tart apple, yeasty nose; tasty, mineral, tart apple, tart quince, chalk palate; long finish 94 points

    Sanchez-Le Guédard

    • NV Sanchez-Le Guédard Champagne Brut Séléction
      Very light peach yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; ripe peach, Rainier cherry nose; refreshing, saline, tart Rainier cherry, ripe grapefruit, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier; 9 grams dosage; aged 3 years) 89+ points
    • NV Sanchez-Le Guédard Champagne Grande Réserve
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; ripe apple, tart pear, tarte tatin nose; yeasty, tart pear, mineral, rock salt palate with bright acidity; medium-plus finish (60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay; aged 1 year in oak; 8-9 grams dosage) 89 points
    • NV Sanchez-Le Guédard Champagne Elegance Brut
      Light yellow color with lots of tiny, speedy bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart apple, saline nose; tasty, poised, tart green pear, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (based on 2009 vintage; name will change in future to Cuvee Fleur, after winemaker’s daughter’s name) 90 points
    • NV Sanchez-Le Guédard Champagne Rosé de Saignée Brut Rosé
      Light medium cherry red color with abundant, tiny bubbles; vinous, raspberry, violets nose; tasty, tart raspberry, violets, candied violets, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (100% Pinot Noir; 24-30 hours maceration) 89 points

    Serge Mathieu
    IMG_1127

    • NV Serge Mathieu Champagne Brut Select Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Light yellow color with steady, abundant, tiny bubbles; very appealing, delicate, almond, lightly yeasty nose; tasty, almond, mineral, ripe lemon palate; medium-plus finish (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir; 8.4 grams dosage; all 2006 fruit; disgorged 11/12) 92+ points
    • NV Serge Mathieu Champagne Cuvée Tradition Blanc de Noirs Brut
      Very light peach yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; floral, almond, candied almond, light reduction, ripe white grapefruit nose; tasty,tight, delicate, ripe white grapefruit, mineral, lemon palate; medium-plus finish (8.6 grams dosage, Pinot Noir from 2008/2009) 94+ points
    • NV Serge Mathieu Champagne Cuvée Prestige Brut Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Very light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, ripe pear, lightly yeasty, ripe lime, almond nose; absolutely delicious, fresh, clean, ripe lemon, lime, mineral, ripe white grapefruit palate; medium-plus finish (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay; 8.6 grams dosage; 2007-2008 vintage; disgorged 11/12) 95 points
    • NV Serge Mathieu Champagne Extra Brut
      Light peach yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, floral, ripe peach, lillies nose; delicious, poised, elegant, delicate, tart peach, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (Pinot Noir from 2008 & 2009; 5 grams dosage; disgorged 10/12) 94 points
    • 2006 Serge Mathieu Champagne Brut Millésimé
      Light yellow color with steady, abundant, tiny bubbles; yeasty, almond, light hazelnut nose; delicious, very delicate, lightly yeasty, almond, green almond, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (6 grams dosage) 95 points
    • NV Serge Mathieu Champagne Brut Rosé
      Very light pink color with speedy, abundant, tiny bubbles; very appealing, strawberry, tart cherry. light golden raspberry, almond nose; delicious, vinous, delicate, complex, tart raspberry, blood orange, tart cherry, mineral, lemon palate with bright acidity; medium-plus finish (68% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, 12% red wine; 9.6 grams dosage; disgorged 10/12) 94 points

    Stéphane Coquillette

    • NV Stéphane Coquillette Champagne Brut Chouilly
      Light medium pink orange color with lots of tiny bubbles; appealing, cherry, white chocolate nose; tasty, rich, strawberry, tart raspberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 92+ points
    • NV Stéphane Coquillette Champagne Cuvée des Cles Chouilly
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond, yeasty, light hazelnut, toast nose; tasty, creamy textured, tangy, almond, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • NV “Stéphane Coquillette Champagne Brut “Carte d’Or” Chouilly
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; almond cream, brioche nose; tasty, poised, creamy textured, almond, tart apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (67% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay) 90+ points

    Taittinger
    IMG_3457
    This house was founded after World War I by Pierre Taittinger. After a great deal of expansion, including the purchase of Domaine Carneros in Napa, the house was acquired by a Franco-American group led by Credit Agricole. The Taittinger family reacquired the house, however, in 2007, and the production at all levels has seen great improvement in the last several years, making it one of the most reliable of all the top houses.

    • NV Taittinger Champagne La Française Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; tart pear, yeasty nose; tasty, creamy textured, tart pear, yeasty palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
    • NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve/La Française
      From magnum – light golden color with few tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart lemon, lemon oil, very tart pear nose; tasty, youthful, tart pear, tart lemon, yeasty, mineral palate with fresh, vibrant acidity; medium-plus finish (bottle had been cellared for at least 5 years) 92+
    • NV Taittinger Champagne Prelude Grand Cru
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, autolytic, hazelnut, almond, almond brioche nose; very tasty, creamy textured, poised, elegant, yeasty, almond, hazelnut, mineral, lightly saline palate with delicacy; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir; based on 2006 vintage) 94 points
    • NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve
      Light straw yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart pear, pear glacee, floral, tart peach nose; tasty, delicate, light and elegant, tart pear, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier; 9 grams dosage; 100% malo) 92 points
    • NV Taittinger Champagne Les Folies de la Marquetterie
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, pinpoint bubbles; complex, autolytic, vanilla, almond pudding nose; rich, poised, creamy textured, baked pear, vanilla, vanilla pudding, almond, mineral, apple pie filling palate; medium-plus finish (55% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay; from 25-30 year old vines; 12.5% alcohol) 93 points
    • 2005 Taittinger Champagne Brut Millésimé
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady bubbles; lightly yeasty, lemon, almond, brioche nose; poised, tasty, tart pear, mineral, iodine, ripe lemon palate; good now and should age beautifully; medium-plus finish (50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir) 94 points
    • 2004 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne
      Light green-tinged yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, lightly toasty, tart pear nose; tight, creamy textured, juicy, rich but elegant, lemon, mineral, tart pear palate with medium acidity; could use 5-plus years and should go 30+; long finish (9 grams dosage) 94+ points
    • NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Prestige Rosé
      Light medium pink orange color with pale meniscus and steady, pinpoint bubbles; vinous, lifted, tart orange, mandarin orange, golden raspberry nose; elegant, vinous, light footed, delicate, mandarin orange, tart raspberry, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay; 15% red wine; 12% alcohol; based on 2008 harvest) 93 points
    • 2005 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut
      Light peach pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, ripe orange, mandarin orange, golden raspberry nose; delicious, juicy, tart golden raspberry, orange slices, mineral, chalk palate; long finish (70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay; 13% red wine; 9 grams dosage; one of the best rosé Champagnes I’ve ever tasted) 96+ points
    • NV Taittinger Champagne Nocturne Sec
      Light straw yellow color with steady, very tiny bubbles; appealing, apricot cream, vanilla, almond cream nose; tasty, creamy textured, vanilla, pear cream, apricot cream palate; medium-plus finish (40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier; 2008 base; 17.5 grams dosage) 91 points

    Varnier-Fanniere
    This is a tiny producer that owns four hectares of Grand Cru vineyards, entirely planted to Chardonnay. The wines undergo full malolactic. The Cuvée St. Denis is from 70-plus year old vines in the Clos de Grand Père in Avize.

    • NV Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Grand Cru Brut Avize
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, oxidized apple nose; oxidized apple palate; medium finish 87 points
    • NV Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Saint-Denis Avize
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, almond cream nose; tasty, almond, almond cream, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points
    • NV Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru Avize
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; lightly oxidative, oxidized apple nose; oxidative, oxidized apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (50/50 2009 & 2010) 91 points
    • NV “Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Cuvée “Jean Fannière Origine” Avize
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; almond, almond brioche nose; tasty, almond, almond brioche, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (1/2 2007, 1/2 2008; disgorged 12/12) 91+ points
    • 2006 Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Grand Vintage Avize
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, almond, toasty nose; creamy textured, tasty, tart pear, almond, toasty palate; medium-plus finish (5.2 grams dosage; pH 3.0) 92+ points
    • NV Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé Avize
      Very light pink color with steady, tiny bubbles; raspberry cream, almond nose; tasty, raspberry cream, mineral, golden raspberry palate; medium-plus finish (30% 2008, 40% 2009, 30% 2010, with 8% still Ambonnay Pinot Noir; disgorged 11/12) 92 points

    Vazart-Coquart

    • NV Vazart-Coquart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Reserve Brut
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; lightly oxidative apple nose; oxidative apple, mineral, oaty palate; medium-plus finish 89 points
    • 2005 Vazart-Coquart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut Chouilly
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, lightly yeasty, baked apple, pear nose; rich, creamy textured, pear cream, light vanilla, mineral, almond palate; medium-plus finish 91+ points

    J.L. Vergnon

    • NV J.L. Vergnon Champagne Eloquence Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; broiled pear, yeasty, sauteed almond nose; elegant, tart apple, mineral, tart pear, saline palate; medium-plus finish (mainly 2009 fruit with 15% reserve; no malo; all tank fermentation; disgorged Feb. 20, 2013; 12% alcohol) 93+ points

    Veuve A. Devaux

    • NV Veuve A. Devaux Champagne D de Devaux La Cuvée Côte des Bars (Aube)
      From magnum – light straw yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart apple, chalk nose; tight yet, tart apple, chalk, lightly yeasty, mineral, lightly saline palate; medium-plus finish (50/50 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay) 90+ points
    • NV Veuve A. Devaux Champagne Blanc de Noirs Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Light, slightly peach yellow color with few, tiny bubbles; tart pear, tart apple, very tart peach nose; tart peach, ripe pear palate with freshness; medium-plus finish 89 points
    • NV Veuve A. Devaux Champagne Brut Grande Réserve Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Light yellow color with few, tiny bubbles; yeasty, vanilla nose; yeasty, almond, very tart pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay; 2008 base with 20-25% reserve; 50% aged in oak, 50% stainless steel; 8-9 grams dosage) medium-plus finish 88+ points
    • 2005 Veuve A. Devaux Champagne D de Devaux Millesime Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Light green-tinged yellow color with abundant, tiny, speedy bubbles; yeasty, green apple, green pear nose; tight, creamy textured, green apple, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • NV Veuve A. Devaux Champagne Cuvée Rosée Côte des Bars (Aube)
      From magnum – lemon yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; yeasty, tart pear, tart apple, tarte tatin nose; tart apple, very tart pear, mineral, saline palate; medium-plus finish (2009 base; 50% reserve wines; 7 years in bottle) 89+ points
    • NV Veuve A. Devaux Champagne D de Devaux “Le Rosé” Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Light salmon pink color with tiny bubbles; savory, tart strawberry, light sauteed onion nose; tasty, tart golden raspberry, tart orange palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay; 13% dry red wine) 89 points
    • NV Veuve A. Devaux Champagne Crème de Cuvée Demi-Sec, Côte des Bars (Aube)
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny, bubbles; vanilla, almond nose; creamy textured, almond gelee, vanilla palate; medium-plus finish 89 points

    Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
    IMG_2865

    • 2004 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, autolytic, hazelnut, lemon brioche nose; creamy textured, poised, autolytic, almond, mineral, apple palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points
    • 2004 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame
      Light yellow color with steady, stately, tiny bubbles; appealing, yeasty, tart apple, light white truffle nose; tasty, poised, elegant, yeasty, tart apple, mineral, very tart pear palate; medium-plus finish 93 points
    • NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé
      Light tangerine orange color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; ripe tangerine, ripe cantaloupe nose; rich, tasty, creamy textured, Rainier cherry, strawberry palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (based on 2008 fruit; about 15% still red wine; good pairing with ham, teriyaki salmon) 89 points
    • 2004 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé Vintage
      Light copper orange color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, tangerine, light white pepper, smoke nose; savory, vinous, light white pepper, mineral very tart orange palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier; good with white meat, or steak tartare) 91 points
    • 2004 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé La Grande Dame
      Light copper orange color with steady, tiny bubbles; savory, sauteed sweet Vidalia onions, smoke turkey, chopped ham nose; tasty, savory, vinous, sauteed sweet Vidalia onion, chopped ham, smoked turkey, mineral palate with near medium acidity; medium-plus finish (good pairing with pink fleshed fish, smoked fish, prosciutto, smoked duck) 92+ points
    • NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Demi-Sec
      Light yellow color; ripe grapefruit with powdered sugar, ripe pear nose; rich, ripe grapefruit, ripe pear, pear syrup, mineral palate with grapefruit acidity; medium-plus finish (45 grams dosage) 89 points

    Veuve Fourny

    • NV Veuve Fourny & Fils Champagne Brut 1er Cru Grande Reserve
      Light medium yellow color with few, leisurely bubbles; yeasty, lightly oxidized, tart apple, mineral nose; tart apple, mineral, oxidized tart apple palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir) 88+ points

    Vilmart
    101911 067
    Laurent Champs of Vilmart
    Vilmart is a terrific grower Champagne. They practice organic viticulture, ferment in large oak foudres, and avoid malolactic. The Grand Cellier is generally about 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. The terrific 2005 Coeur de Cuvée is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from the oldest vines in Vilmart’s two best vineyards. It is fermented and raised in new barriques.

    • NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Grand Cellier Brut Premier Cru
      Light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; tart pear, apple nose; tasty, very tart pear, tart apple, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish (70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir; blend of 2010, 2009 and 2008, with base wine aged 10 months in large oak; disgorged July 2012; more on the austere side than usual for this bottling) 92+ points
    • 2008 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Grand Cellier d’Or 1er Cru
      Light yellow color with abundant, speedy, tiny bubbles; appealing, floral, ripe peach, pear nose; very tasty, delicate, tart lemon, tart peach, pear, mineral palate with saline notes and medium acidity; long finish (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir; base wine aged in largely neutral barrique; disgorged October 2012) 94 points
    • 2006 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Grand Cellier d’Or 1er Cru
      From magnum – light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; lightly savory, tart apple, pear, yeasty nose; tasty, poised, tart pear, mineral, tart peach, chalk palate; long finish (disgorged Feb. 2012) 93+ points
    • 2005 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Coeur de Cuvée
      Very light yellow color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; very appealing, yeasty, tart pear, baked apple, subtle spice nose; tasty, delicious, elegant, tart apple, pear, mineral palate; long finish (heart of the free run pressing–the first 2,000 liters from the press, with the first and last 200 or so liters removed) 95 points
    • NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Cuvée Rubis
      Light pink color with abundant, steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, tart raspberry, freeze dried strawberry, strawberry cream nose; elegant and delicious, rich but poised, creamy textured, strawberry cream, golden raspberry, tart orange palate with medium acidity; long finish (90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay; 2010 & 2009 fruit; disgorged Sept. 2012) 95+ points

    Vouette et Sorbée

    • NV Vouette et Sorbée Champagne Blanc d’Argile Extra Brut
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; appealing, savory, yeasty, chalk nose; fresh, tart lemon, mineral palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 91 points
    • NV Vouette et Sorbée Champagne Cuvée Fidèle Extra Brut
      Light yellow color with steady, tiny bubbles; chalk, yeasty, oxidative, lemon nose; tart lemon, oxidative, mineral palate; medium-plus finish (based on 2010 fruit; disgorged 11/12) 91 points

    One Response leave one →
    1. Hal Walker permalink
      January 25, 2014

      RJ,
      Great site. I practice law in the kansas City area (semi-retired and dabble in local politics). Love your website and intend to follow you. I have over the last through years seen your comments on Cellartracker and have been impressed with you reviews. Local wieries are springing up in the Kansas and Missouri I-70 corridor but as you might expect, the Norton graps is pretty tough to make a silk purse. We have recently returned from a cross country wine buying trip with emphasis on SE Washington and western Oregon and have been very impressed. The point is to tell you I intend to follow your tasting notes and try your recommendations. Kansas and Missouri have limited allocations of many great wines that have to be ordered.

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