After working in the wine biz for a few years I've become very lazy with my notes. My 2016 resolution is to take time to write up some of the fabulous and otherwise wines that I've had the good fortune to be able to taste and drink.

And I wanted to use the dancing banana again. Cool

A TOUR OF CHAMPAGNE: IS IT ALL ABOUT THE VILLAGE OR THE BRAND? - Wine and Food Foundation Tasting Room Austin TX (12/9/2015)

The idea here was to see if the brands are the key or the location. It's a bit inconclusive because even the Grand Marques have attention to detail during their winemaking that I found very interesting on our trip to Champagne. In other words if you say you are only into "Grower Champagnes" you might be limiting yourself as the percentage of actual "Growers" using ONLY their own grapes is very small. The great majority of Champagne producers have some of their own vineyards and contracts with other vineyards to round out their cuvees. In looking at a map of Champagne you can see why because there are areas where Pinot Noir is the dominant variety and others where Chardonnay rules. The other varieties including Pinot Meunier are a lower percentage of the total harvest.

For my personal tastes I generally find the champagnes with a high degree of Pinot Meunier on the coarse side. It might be an earthiness or other but I can usually pick them out of a line-up for this characteristic.

In all a fine way to de-stress on a Wednesday afternoon. Thanks to Mark Rashap, CWE for the nice tour through my favorite wine region.
  • NV François Labet Crémant de Bourgogne Brut - France, Burgundy, Crémant de Bourgogne
    Serviceable bubbles under $15. It is a nice apertif wine and more correct than others in its price range. I've bought this before and would consider it again. (85 pts.)

  • NV Perrier-Jouët Champagne Grand Brut - France, Champagne
    This was surprisingly delicate and rather lightweight. I haven't tried this Champagne in a long time. Not really to my taste as it seemed a bit sweet. Not much to recommend here especially for the price. Wine 2 of 8. 40% Pinot Noir/40% Pinot Meunier/20% Chadonnay (87 pts.)

  • NV Chartogne-Taillet Champagne Cuvée Sainte Anne - France, Champagne
    From magnum (as it should be... ) Balanced and sophisticated Champagne with yeasty aromas - not obvious and needs food to shine. Medium weight. 60% Pinot Noir/40% Chardonnay. Chartogne Taillet is one of my favorite Champagne producers. Wine 3 of 8. (90 pts.)

  • NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Brut - France, Champagne
    Prominent red apple flavors in a fruit forward style. Quaffable. Disgorged Jan 2015. Wine 4 of 8. Aubry is one of the Champagne producers to use all of the varieties in some of their cuvees. This one had significant Pinot Meunier. (89 pts.)

  • NV Varnier-Fanniere Champagne Brut - France, Champagne, Avize, Champagne
    Wine 5 of 8 and ding, ding we have a winner for my palate. This had good fruit flavors but added in minerality. 100% Chardonnay goodness. Disgorged in 2011. I would buy this. (90 pts.)

  • 2005 Jean-Pierre Marniquet Champagne Brut Tradition - France, Champagne, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne
    Not a lot going on in this wine. Not rated but this bottle on this day 87-88. It seemed very young and acidic so it probably has a long life ahead of it. Wine 6 of 8. This wine is no-dosage but the producer does not want to label it that way. (88 pts.)

  • 1995 Jean-Pierre Marniquet Champagne Prestige Millesime - France, Champagne, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne
    Very interesting medium-weight Champagne. Tasted as bottle 7 of 8. This was acidic and nicely integrated but still young. Perhaps this producer keeping it on the lies for so long contributes to this? It is also no-dosage but the producer apparently does not want to label it as such and goes with "Brut". Slight smoke and mushroom flavors. At about $75 it might be a cellar candidate but there are others in this price range that might age better. (92 pts.)

  • NV Louis de Sacy Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru - France, Champagne
    Nope not for me. As the Closing Wine - #8 of 8. Too much odd funk (dirty socks?) in this budget Champagne. Others liked it so it might be just me.

An interesting tour through Champagne. Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Posted from CellarTracker
Original Post
Thanks Board-O. One of the attendees had visited Marniquet and was impressed. They keep the champagnes on the lies for a looong time and experiment with different disgorgements. So their Champagnes might be like a box of chocolates -- you never know what you are going to get.

I have heard of Vazart-Coquart but never had the chance to try them. It's interesting how the available Champagnes are different from East, Central and West Coast.
Vino Me - yes they mentioned the reserve wines from solera in the Aubry blend. One one hand it adds complexity but in some instances adds bottle variability. Selosse is a good example - different bottlings are very different wines. It's one reason I keep the disgorgement dates and lot numbers if they are on the bottles.
Originally posted by Winetex:
Vino Me - yes they mentioned the reserve wines from solera in the Aubry blend. One one hand it adds complexity but in some instances adds bottle variability.

I would think that using a solera system would lead to less variability. You are always going to have a certain percentage of a NV wine that stays the same from year to year. Whereas, without a solera system, the blend of vintages used from year to year in a NV could be completely different (or very little overlap).

I'm really not sure - maybe the variability is in the Lots. I would like to visit one of the producers using the solera method to compare and contrast. The big boys are insanely precise about their blends to maintain their house "style" whatever that may be.
A couple solera style Champagnes that I have had:

NV H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Cuvée Laetitia - France, Champagne, Ambonnay, Champagne (2/14/2015)
This non vintage wine is a blend of 20 vintages and is made in a solera style. Disgorged Sept 2013. This is one of 2 Tete du Cuvees made by this estate. Majority Chardonay. Wonderful stuff if you like deep, rich, full bodied Champagne. Golden hue. Lighter bead with fine bubbles. Very aromatic with aromas of rasted hazelnuts. Chalky and minerally with notes of peaches and powerful apple flavors. This kicked it in with secondary cherry notes on the persistent finish. 95 points.

NV Roger Pouillon et Fils Champagne Brut Soléra - France, Champagne (11/13/2014)
At a retailer tasting. This was the most unique Champagne at the tasting. 5 g/ltr of sugar. The solera for this wine was started in 1997 and about 30% is turned over every year. Aromas of glue and spice. A rich and full bodied wine. Thick texture with yellow fruit and herbal notes. 92-93 points.

Originally posted by Board-O:
Originally posted by BirDungy:
I was serving vazart-coquart blanc de blanc nv this weekend which was on great form.

Where did you find this? I'd love to pick up some of their wines.

Board-O, Here is a holiday present for you. A shop in New York that has the following wine at a very good price:

2002 Vazart-Coquart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Special Club Brut

Fantastic vintage also. Should be a great wine.

Logistically, how does a producer do a solera of Champagne? Do they age the multiple vintages in barrel before drawing off a batch for secondary fermentation in the bottle? Do they put blends in the barrel or keep the Chard separate from the PN and PM and then blend when ready to bottle? Do they tend to age them further on the lees in the bottle before disgorging?

And does further cellaring after release tend to have a beneficial or negative effect?
Originally posted by Tannin Pig:
Logistically, how does a producer do a solera of Champagne?

Solera Champagnes are normally kept in one large barrel or tank. Wine from a new vintage is added to the tank (no matter the varietal) and the producer uses the wine from the tank whenever he needs it (to add to other wine to be bottled or to be bottled by itself). The purpose is to add consistency and depth to a NV blend. Whether it is good or bad depends on your taste I suppose.

It is great to have a resource like these forums available! I would otherwise never have heard of some of these wines. I just bought 4 bottles of 2008 Vazart-Coquart Blanc de Blancs Grand Bouquet, which until this afternoon I didn't know was available in a local shop. (Also a couple each Gaston Chiquet Rosé and Bruno Gobillard Rosé Mlle Sophie).

Thanks to all for sharing your wine knowledge and info!!

And a Happy New Year to all!
Originally posted by Board-O:
Originally posted by Seaquam:
I just bought 4 bottles of 2008 Vazart-Coquart Blanc de Blancs Grand Bouquet

sunshades Closed with a cap or a cork?

Not sure yet. I haven't had a chance to go downtown to pick them up. I did not know they were offered with crown caps; my assumption-- as I think most people's would be-- is that it's cork unless otherwise indicated.

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