Highly regarded winery Lucien Albrecht was a pioneer in the production and sale of Cremant d’Alsace (which is methode traditionalle sparkling, or bubbles-made-in-bottle as I like to say), making it in 1976 when the French AOC for Cremant d’Alsace was established. Made from 100% Pinot Noir. Nicely on the very dry side of Brut, showing bits of plum, cranberry and red melon flavors. It’s austere in a good way. On a personal note, in my house the Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose has usurped our long-beloved Allimant Laugner (also a Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose) as the house bubbles. The […]
Family vineyard and winery started in the 1960s, now made and run by the 2nd generation (the kids of Jean Diot). Vallee de la Marne, 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier. I like the pop of citrus and then white peach and Fuji apple flavor in here. For an Extra Brut (meaning less than 6 Grams/Liter dosage), this has a good balance of ripe fruit. Big thumbs up, and a good value for around $50/bottle. More Information Jean Diot is a family-run Champagne house started in the 1960s and going strong today. These are all very well-made Champagnes […]
Vallee de la Marne producer gets Chardonnay from the Cotes des Blancs for their Blanc de Blancs Champagne. I like Chardonnay’s crisp lemon/apple character and “zip” character, followed by a round, voluptuous mouth feel and lightly toasty flavor that comes from the lees aging in bottle. This has something for fans of all styles of Champagne. More Information Jean Diot is a family-run Champagne house started in the 1960s and going strong today. These are all very well-made Champagnes selling for very reasonable prices.
Here’s an original. Sauvignon Blanc (from near Hopland, southeast Mendocino County) made into a lightly sparkling wine. Method Ancestrale means the wine, not a dosage, makes the bubbles. In this case it is a second fermenation. Subject to Change uses Sauvignon Blanc must that was frozen at harvest, then thawed and added to wine in bottle. Very yellow-grapefruity, also generous on the green heirloom apple and lime. Kaffir lime and Meyer lemon gives the wine a little exotic-ness. Lightly sparkling, not nearly as much as Champagne. Exceptional intensity of citrus fruits, acidity and herbal character typical of Sauvignon Blanc. Probably […]
Tiny producer in the Côte des Bars, southern end of Champagne. The Brut Rosé is 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay. Mid range on dosage for Brut at 10 Grams/Liter R.S. The dosage plus the Pinot Noir extraction makes for a red-berry heavy, fruity, off-dry sensation that is A) delicious and B) not everyone’s first choice of Champagne style. Get wild red cherries, raspberries, cranberry nut bread, blood oranges and then toasted pie crust, nutmeg and black licorice on the end. This soft, fleshy, lush style is quite different than the other Dosnon Champagnes. I love it, and it’s a fantastic […]
All Chardonnay from the Cote des Bar, southern end of Champagne. Unsweetened apple sauce, lemon zest and quince paste, classic for Blanc de Blancs Champagne, is here in spades. Less chalky than Blanc de Blancs from the Cotes des Blancs. The Henri Dosnon Champagne Blanche is rich, textured mouthfeel and a 25 second long soft, creamy finish. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
Friendly, perfumed, intense and bold aromas of peaches, dried apricots and pears, roasted almonds and marzipan. And it keeps on going straight through its 25 second finish – fresh and dried orchard fruits, toasted pastries, wild red cherry peaking through now & then. Aged 5+ years en tirage. Mostly Pinot Meunier with a small amount of Chardonnay. A low 5.5 Grams/Liter dosage on the Francoise Bedel Champagne dis vin secret. More Information I’ve found a new favorite Champagne producer. Francoise Bedel is on the western edge of Champagne, just 60 miles from Paris. Their wines are predominantly Pinot Meunier. Farming is […]
Friendly aromas of ripe peach & apple plus cooked cream and pie crust. The taste is more crisp and dry than the nose suggests. Get red plums, citrus and quince. Then on the finish it gets rich again! Round texture, wheat toast, dry herbs come to mind. I like how this $50 Champagne is an adventure as well as a delicious drink! The comment below re. letting it breathe may change the crisp palate into something richer. Blend is 75% Pinot Meunier, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir. Aged 3 years en tirage. A very low 3.6 G/Liter dosage. Francoise Bedel […]
One of my top picks for special drinking Champagne for a great, under $100/bottle price. Facts are this: 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, all Grand Cru fruit, has gone through full malo, aged over 7 years on its lees. Get dried orchard fruits, both fresh and dried citrus zest, Gravenstein apples, sweet cream, etc. I really like the round, creamy texture and all the flavors I get in the 30 second finish. the H Goutorbe Champagne Special Club is great stuff. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
A total winner, especially for the price. All Chardonnay, all 2012 (a fantastic Champagne vintage). Went through full Malo, aged over 4 years on its lees before disgorgement. Super tasty, full of ripe lemon, green apple and crisp peach flavors. Great balance and delicious flavors start to finish. I want some Goutorbe Blanc de Blancs! Here are all my Champagne reviews.
We all need as much high quality, under $40 Champagne as we can possible get, right? Duc de Romet is made by Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy of R. Geoffroy. It’s Blanc de Noirs: ¾ Pinot Meunier, ¼ Pinot Noir, 70% from 2013, a good vintage for the area, and the rest “reserve wine” from earlier vintages. 4 years on the lees, which is impressively long for a $35 Champagne. Sports ripe, bright fruit, a ying/yang of tart & sweet, a clean rocky finish and a juicy friendliness. Don’t think too hard about this wine as you enjoy. Just enjoy.
Mark this down as a special Champagne to drink, which means for under $100 it really is an excellent value. It is 69% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir from what Geoffroy considers their best plots in Cumieres, Vallee de la Marne. No malo…8 years on the lees before disgorgement. Solid vintage 2009: “Plump and approachable,” writes Jancis Robinson. I love how the Geoffroy Champagne Cuvee Volupte hits all my sensation spots. Jolt of acidity, fresh fruit basket, doughy frame. And long as a winter night. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
Delicious Grand Cru, Cotes des Blancs Champagne. However, it’s delicious in a different way than you may expect. Instead of crisp, chalky and “racy,” this is more lush, round and what I call friendly. Could be the lower pressure of the wine, equating to less bubbly. Could be the vintages, 2014 and 2015, in this cuvée. In any event, you’ll like the ripe apple, citrus, pear, fig and peach flavors along with some tarragon, basil and sweet cream sensations in the Varnier Fanniere Champagne. Consider this to be more like a (still) Burgundy than the other Champagnes I recommend. Here […]
Always one of my favorite richer, rounder Champagnes, the Jean Lallement Champagne Brut is 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay from their multiple holdings on the Montagne de Reims. This is mostly 2014 vintage with 2013 making up the rest. Steel tank ferment and aged, full malo, 36 months on its lees after 2nd fermentation. The Lallement is lush, quite creamy and rich. With the richness there’s baked apples and pears, lemon custard, peaches and melons. You truly get the full package here, from fresh fruits to toasty/doughy from winemaking and aging. This is a relative bargain in the Champagne world. […]
All from Billiot’s Grand Cru vineyards in Ambonnay. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. While the wine wants to be rich, Billiot keeps the rich character in check with tank ferment and aging, no malo and more current vintages in the cuvee (this is 2013, 14 and 15). The H Billiot Champagne Brut Reserve comes out like a champ. Crisp green apples, Meyer lemons, a squeeze of lime and then tangy plums and a whiff of cranberry hit the palate. Tarragon and red rose show up near the end and on the generous finish. Gotta like acidity to thoroughly enjoy this […]
A front-row recommendation for sub-$50, grower Champagne, this “entry level” wine from Aubry is full of pleasure. For the location (Montagne de Reims) and cuvée (55% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir) you’d expect a darker, denser style of bubbles. Actually, what you get is crisp, cool Granny Smith apples, myriad citrus flavors, a little pear and THEN some pie crust, spice and Fino Sherry notes (coming from the reserve wine, a perpetual stash started in 1998). If you, like me, like variety in your non-vintage Champagne selection, put the Aubry Champagne Brut in your “CRISPER” section. Here are […]
Always one of the best sub $50 non-vintage Champagnes on the market, the current release of Gaston Chiquet Champagne Tradition is as good as ever. It’s made from 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir from Chiquet’s vineyards in the Vallee de la Marne. With tank ferment and aging, going through malo then at 2nd fermentation aging on its lees for 4 ½ years, the style is half green apple/citrus/pear, half creamy/doughy. The quality is very consistent, but I think this bottling raises its already lofty bar. Could be because the base wine is the fantastic 2012 vintage. Definitely […]
If you don’t already, get to know the wines of Moussé from the Vallée de la Marne. The Mousse Champagne “L’Or de Eugene” (The gold of Eugene) is 95% Pinot Meunier and 5% Pinot Noir. Primary fermentation and aging is in steel tank. This release is half 2015 vintage and half a reserve cuvée of 2003 to 2014. There’s a dark side to this wine. Smoky cherry, cherry pit, dried persimmon, green tea…honestly it’s hard to put my finger on it, but it’s really good. The fruit hits more base notes, there’s more weight and texture here than most Champagnes, […]
95% of the Chardonnay comes from Callot’s Avize vineyards. 2014 base wine with 30% from a Solera-like reserve stash Callot started in 1985. This is more fruity, fleshy and easy-going than most Cotes des Blancs Champagnes I know. Orchard & stone fruits are more prevalent than lemony citrus (that said, the lemon is there). The region’s rocky/lemon zest character peaks through on the 20 second finish. The Pierre Callot Champagne Brut Grand Cru is very enjoyable and a good one to pour for a group with a broad range of tastes. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
The Gimonnet Champagne Extra Brut is, like most of their wines, 100% Chardonnay from the chalky vineyards of the Cotes des Blancs. First time they’ve released an Extra Brut/lower dosage. Really good balance, particularly impressive to me for an Extra Brut. Ripe fruit, high acid and faint sweetness work as a team with no one part dominating. That’s a good thing. All the typical flavors of Cotes des Blancs are here. Dryness nibbles the palate on the finish as the fruit lingers. At $40 this is a fantastic value for Champagne. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
This is a Rose Champagne to pay attention to. Smell and taste wild cherry, plums, grapefruit, Meyer lemon, rose petals, touch of peppery spice. A jolt of acidity is quickly followed by fresh raspberries and pie crust. More mouth-watering acidity than you may expect at first, but then fruit and richness make the Vilmart Cuvee Rubis sing. Highly recommended as a special occasion Champagne. The facts: 90% Pinot Noir (small % of it still wine), 10% Chardonnay. 2013/2014 vintages (good vintages to marry: 2013 higher acid, 2014 riper). No malo, barrel aged, a low 9 G/L dosage.
85% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay from Champagne’s Vallee de la Marne. 2012 through 2015 vintages in this cuvee. Spent 2 years on its lees prior to disgorgement. Showing more austerity and earthiness at my tasting. The soil qualities will always be the star I suspect, but the citrus and orchard fruits, part dried/part fresh, will show themselves by early 2019. Marc Hebrart is recommended for Champagne lovers who prefer more earth-driven and less fruity Champagnes.
40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir. Base wine is 2010. Aged 7 years on its lees. The Gaston Chiquet Cuvee de Reserve elicious Champagne, combining a friendliness of fruit and a creamy, doughy side from the longer aging. Easy to understand and totally enjoy while still being definitively Champagne. Here are all my Champagne reviews.
Unquestionably one of the best American sparkling wines made. This is 91% Pinot Noir, 9% Chardonnay from their Estate vineyard in Willamette’s Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA. Barrel fermented and aged 8 months before 2nd fermentation in bottle. 2 years on its lees before disgorgement in spring 2017. The Soter Brut Rose comes out of the gate like a lightning bolt with fruit-forwardness (blood orange, wild cherry, raspberries) plus fresh pie crust, roast almonds and chamomile tea. You’ll really notice this wine – shy it is not. And with all its flavor, the acidity is running right alongside. Pour this next to […]