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Champagne Wines

Champagne Wines

Champagne Wines

Champagne Wines

"The sharp, biting acidity, cutting through the richness; the explosive force that shatters the bubbles as they rise to the surface; the intense flavor and compelling, lively mouthfeel; these are all hallmarks of a good Champagne. Most wines are made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, but there are pure-Chardonnay variants and ones that blend only Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. As a result, most wines come with a feeling of familiarity, if not nostalgia. Each Champagne house has its own unique style, so different bottles of Champagne may not resemble each other outside of the core varietal strengths. The soil composition of the subregion is characterized by belemnite and chalk, which lets it absorb heat during the daytime and release it at night. This terroir helps create the feeling of airy, playful lightness of fine sparkling wine.

These wines were originally marketed towards royalty, and you can feel a hint of that elusive blue-blood elegance and confidence while drinking one. A good Champagne carries you away like a hurricane carries small debris, and you can feel the powerful life force in each bubble even. The characteristic Champagne “pop” has become a staple at parties and celebrations around the globe – when you hear it, good times are right around the corner."
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1996 krug Champagne

It’s hard to imagine how a wine of this power can sustain perfect balance. What is now a more nonchalant intensity in the aroma was, in fact, too much to handle when we tasted this last year, as if the wine had no time for mere humans with their limited sense receptors. If you stop to taste ripe pear, ginger spice, apple blossom and butterscotch the wine leaves you lost in random flavor descriptors as it soars off into a vinous glow that lasts for minutes. This may well be the greatest vintage wine of Henri Krug’s career (unless it is challenged by the 2002). It is impossible to predict how long this wine will thrive in bottle, though considering the current fine condition of the 1959 Krug, the first 50 years are a given.Wine & Spirits | 100 W&SA powerful, majestic Champagne. Deep and compelling, with aromas of whole-grain toast, coconut and dried citrus that draw you in. Lean and racy on the palate, with a creaminess that’s yet to be integrated. A classic ’96, with ripe, exotic aromas and a steely structure. Still a baby, with the long, resonant finish confirming its potential. Best from 2009 through 2040. 10,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 99 WSThe real surprise among Krug’s 1996s is the 1996 Vintage, which is drinking beautifully, even among this rarified air of single-vineyard Champagnes. The 1996 Vintage is explosive and creamy, with just the right balance of power, richness and freshness. The mousse is perhaps just a touch less refined than in the 1996 Clos du Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay, but it is also perfectly measured with the wine’s exuberant personality. This multi-dimensional, textured Champagne is at the early part of its drinking window and promises to deliver an incredible drinking experience over the coming decades. The take-away from this flight of 1996s from Krug is simple. Although the 1996 Vintage can’t possibly be described as inexpensive, it shows exceptionally well next to its much more expensive brethren and clearly delivers a similar level of quality. Readers who have the opportunity to pick up this wine should not hesitate. It is a gem. No disgorgement date provided. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2036.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPThe 1996 Vintage is magnificent. A towering, explosive Champagne, the 1996 delivers the house’s signature breadth in a full-bodied, structured Champagne with enough pure density and acidity to age well for decades. Warm nutty and spiced overtones add nuance on the finish. The 1996 is just beginning to enter the early part of its mature stage, where it is sure to remain for several decades. Krug’s Vintage is one of the truly epic wines of the year.Antonio Galloni | 98 AG(Krug Vintage Brut (Reims)) I had not drunk a bottle of the 1996 Krug in several years, as I had deemed the wine still in climbing mode and I am not generally in the business of drinking Krug before its time. But, a friend recently opened a bottle and I was very impressed with how the wine is evolving in the bottle since its release. The bouquet is now starting to show some lovely secondary layering of complexity in its blend of apple, peach, a touch of sweet walnut, patissière, a refined base of minerality, caraway seed and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine flavors on the attack echo the nose nicely, with the wine’s full-bodied format sporting excellent depth at the core, still plenty of the vintage’s snappy acidity, great focus and grip and a very, very long and utterly refined finish. Though this remains quite racy structurally, I really like the point it has reached in terms of aromatic and flavor complexity and it is really not a crime to be opening bottles up at this point in its evolution, though it still has room to grow with further bottle age. A great, great vintage of Krug. (Drink between 2019-2060).John Gilman | 98 JGThis is a handsome yellow-gold colour with hints of bronze. Still fresh and vigorous yet with a ripe acidity. Wow, this is something else in the mouth! There is a lot going on - firm and tight one moment, then a panoply of sensuous flavours. Williams pears and glace à l’orange evolve into lemon and prunes. A splendid finale of great length and vigour demonstrates that this ’96 still has years of life ahead of it. Drinking Window 2017 - 2030.Decanter | 96 DEC

99+
VM
As low as $745.00
1996 moet chandon dom perignon Champagne

The brilliant 1996 Dom Perignon, which has largely disappeared from the marketplace, may be the finest young example of DP I have ever tasted. Notes of crushed rocks, honeysuckle, lemon oil, orange marmalade, and white pear provide a stunning aromatic display as well as palate impression. Great acidity and huge flavor intensity backed up by vibrant acidity make this an exquisite Champagne. It should drink well for 20-25 years, possibly longer. Readers should remember that the 1971 Dom Perignon Rose is still drinking exquisitely. I recently had the 1969 and 1970 Dom Perignons (from magnum), and both were drinking brilliantly. It makes one realize just how long-lived these wines can be. Production is confidential, but there must be hundreds of thousands of cases of Dom Perignon since it available in most of the world’s luxury hotels and restaurants.Robert Parker | 98 RPA distinctly reticent but elegant nose with a purity of expression that is truly impressive to experience as it's relatively high-toned and while the yeast comes up with air, it's relatively muted at present, combining with intense, precise and superbly detailed and complex flavors that culminate in an explosive and wonderfully long finish. This may very well rival the sublime '90 in time even if it's not quite as concentrated. This is still a baby so there is absolutely no rush whatsoever.Burghound | 97 BHThis minerally, toasty wine has flavors of almonds and white stone fruits, and a long, finish. It is still young, and is just coming into great balance. Elegant and ethereal.Wine Enthusiast | 96 WE(Dom Pérignon Brut (Moët et Chandon)) This is the original release of 1996 Dom Pérignon and I drank this bottle with friends only a few weeks before I left New York for my planned month on the road tasting in France in March. This bottle is not a whole lot further along its evolutionary path than the P2 reported on below, but still shows the excellent promise of the 1996 vintage. The bouquet offers up a complex blend of wizened apples, lemon peel, stony minerality, sourdough bread, just a hint of the sweet nuttiness to come and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with excellent focus and grip, lovely mousse, still quite brisk acids and a very long, nascently complex and beautifully balanced finish. (Drink between 2023-2065).John Gilman | 95 JGVery pale color. Wonderfully complex, musky aromas of minerals, ginger, lemon, earth, mushroom, smoke and brioche; with aeration, this showed sweaty saline and chicken broth notes that reminded me of Le Montrachet, as well as a captivating topnote of fresh rose petal. Fat, ripe and mouthfilling without being at all heavy. Loaded with flavor and long and delicious on the aftertaste. In the same quality league as the superb '95, but does it have the grip of that wine? I should note that some other tasters report having bottles more in the backward, structured style of this vintage.Vinous Media | 94 VMThis features floral, candied citrus, pencil shaving and hazelnut aromas and flavors. It's fresh and focused, with a firm structure offset by a mouthfilling richness and a lacy texture. Not a blockbuster, but seamless and seductive in its approach. Drink now through 2010.Wine Spectator | 93 WSReal concentration, yet with better balance than many ’96s. A big wine, quite vinous, and in that sense not a typically fragrant Dom Pérignon of finesse. Not outstanding, but a very good wine surpassed by the subtlety of the ’98 P2. Drinking Window 2017 - 2020.Decanter | 91 DEC

96
RP
As low as $499.00
1996 moet chandon dom perignon rose Champagne (Rose)

Three 1996s from Dom Perignon are special. After having compared original releases and OEnotheque bottlings across a number of vintages going back to 1964 I am increasingly of the belief that the most enjoyable Dom...Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPBright, amber-tinged pink with pinpoint bubbles. Deep, smoky and complex, with a kaleidoscopic bouquet incorporating wild strawberry, peach, apricot, chestnut honey and cured meat. A firm, strikingly concentrated midweight with powerful flavors of orange peel, raspberry, redcurrant, baking spice and smoked meat and gentle supporting acidity. Smoky, sweet and long on the back, with a slowly building impression of acidity that suggests this will be a long ager. As usual, a stunning Champagne. Also tasted: NV White Star, 1999 Millesime Rose Brut*.Vinous Media | 95 VMWoodland strawberry scents drive this powerful rosé, as intense as a great red Burgundy, made transparent by the chalk soils in which it grew. The fine mousse lifts spicy scents of sandalwood, the long finish starts out dark-toned, growing brighter with air. Tight and young, this is a beautiful, floral pinot noir that carries the essence of Champagne.Wine & Spirits | 95 W&SThis is going to be a great wine: going to be, because it is still firm, dry, serious and very pure with structure over the red fruits and acidity. Give this wine another five years at least—and then it will be both impressive and delicious.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEThis features floral, candied citrus, pencil shaving and hazelnut aromas and flavors. It's fresh and focused, with a firm structure offset by a mouthfilling richness and a lacy texture. Not a blockbuster, but seamless and seductive in its approach. Drink now through 2010.Wine Spectator | 93 WSAn exuberantly fresh nose features notes of strawberry, cherry, apple and a hint of yeast. The vibrant and intense middle weight flavors are on the leaner side and without the same depth that one normally sees and it's not clear that the underlying material is present such that significantly more will develop. To be clear, and fair, this is a delicious effort that is certainly enjoyable for its fruit. At the same time, given how good the '96 vintage is I was a bit disappointed by this.Burghound | 91 BH

97
RP-HG
As low as $825.00
1996 duval-leroy femme de champagne grand cru Champagne Blend

A sculpted Champagne, with a steely backbone of acidity swathed in a fine and silky texture, offering rich flavors of baked apple and plum fruit, almond financier, crème de cassis, honey and toasted coconut. Long and mouthwatering, and still very, very young. Drink now through 2090. 1,500 cases made, 200 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 97 WSCompared to the 2000, the 1996 Champagne Femme offers a touch more vibrancy and purity in a similarly rich, layered, complex style. Stone fruits, beautiful minerality, hints of charcoal, as well as a touch of brioche and nuttiness, all flow to a textured, balanced, beautifully long and layered Champagne that’s drinking brilliantly today.Jeb Dunnuck | 96 JD(Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne Brut) The 1996 Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne is a stunning wine that is now reaching its apogee of peak drinkability and is wide open and absolutely superb on both the nose and palate. The deep, complex and toasty bouquet offers up a classy mélange of apple, tangerine, pain grillé, a beautifully complex base of soil and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and toasty, with a superb core of pure fruit, crisp acids, utterly refined mousse, laser-like focus and superb length and grip on the wide open, vibrant and very classy finish. This is just a stunning bottle of bubbly. (Drink between 2012-2035)John Gilman | 95 JGDeep yellow in color the 1996 Femme de Champagne offers a complex, superbly clear, multilayered and fresh bouquet of cooked and roasted apples, citrus flavors, brioche, apricots, a touch of caramel and a hint of farmyard smell. Medium-bodied but full-flavored, clear and complex on the palate this is a stimulatingly and persistently pure, fresh and minerally flavored Champagne with citrus flavors in the aftertaste. Impressively vital and young this delicate but expressive Champagne is lovely to drink today but can be stored for another decade.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPThe estate’s 1996 Brut Femme de Champagne is really quite pretty in the way it balances some of the more mature notes from extended lees aging with the freshness of the vintage. To be sure, this isn’t a blockbuster 1996, but the Femme de Champagne offers plenty of class and elegance in an approachable, delicate style for the vintage. The rich, radiant fruit flows effortlessly through to the long, satisfying finish. This is a terrific effort from Duval-Leroy. This is Lot L9250N. Disgorged September 7th, 2009.Antonio Galloni | 91 AG

97
WS
As low as $799.00
1996 Philipponnat Clos des Goisses

Next up is Philipponnat’s 1996 Clos de Goisses. Tasted from magnum, the 1996 is remarkably fresh, vibrant and powerful. This is a great bottle.Vinous Media | 97 VMOne of the greatest examples of the ’96 vintage, this wine has it all with elegance, intensity, subtlety and grace, not to mention buckets of unrealized potential that will enable this beauty to improve for at least another decade and perhaps longer. I can only imagine just how good this would be from magnum format! The nose is discreet, reserved and pure with lemon, green apple and layers upon layers of fruit framed by just the right amount of yeast influence that continues onto the exceptionally dry and tight flavors that are crisp and refined as well as superbly intense yet through it all there is this underlying sense of harmony, as though all of the elements are working in concert. The greatest wines, at least those cut from classical cloth, persuade through the subtlest means and so it is with the ’96 Goisses, which is indeed a great wine by any measure. While it is drinkable now, for my taste preferences a lot of potential would be left in the glass and I wouldn’t start in earnest on this for another 5+ years.Burghound | 97 BHAs I noted back in my feature on Clos des Goisses back in the autumn of 2014, the 1996 vintage here is a bit atypical, as its cépages is a fifty-fifty split of chardonnay and pinot noir, rather than the more customary two-thirds pinot. The wine has started to really hit its plateau of peak maturity since I last drank it four and a half years ago, as the musky floral tones and beautiful nuttiness of mature Clos des Goisses are really starting to be felt in the beautiful bouquet of pear, white peach, macadamia nut, brioche, chalky soil tones, a touch of citrus blossoms to go along with the more stridently musky floral overtones. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and shows off beautiful, rock solid mid-palate depth, with lovely mousse, racy acids and laser-like focus on the very long and very complex finish. Though this is a bit of an outlier in the pantheon of Clos des Goisses, with its half chardonnay blend, it is one of my favorite vintages of this great wine and one of the best examples of the vintage, as there is no shortage of fruit here to stand up to the vintage’s snappy acidity. A great, great wine that is getting awfully good to drink, though still in climbing mode and has not yet reached its apex. This bottle was disgorged in June of 2010. (Drink between 2019 - 2060)John Gilman | 96+ JGOne of the most powerful wines of the 1996 vintage, Clos des Goisses grew at the famed walled vineyard in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. There the vines provide a direct connection between the limestone soil and the wine, the same kind of uncompromised connection that the riesling vines provide at Clos Ste. Hune in Alsace. The tension in the wine is palpable, even after it delivers a blast of flavor, a flavor that might be described as quince paste made of limestone, with so much acidity to balance it that the flavor intensity lasts for minutes and feels cool and clean. This ’96 may be best left in the cellar for another ten years before you pop the cork.Wine & Spirits Magazine | 96 W&SOffering up complex aromas of candied peel, warm biscuits, golden orchard fruit and toast, this perfectly preserved original disgorgement of the 1996 Clos des Goisses is medium to full-bodied, incisive but fleshy, its bright spine of vintage-typical acidity cloaked in lively fruit, and complemented by a pearly mousse. This is one 1996 Champagne that has finally arrived at full maturity.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPWhile this is unexpectedly reticent on the nose, it’s generous and expansive on the palate, showing golden, honeyed flavours and a pronounced richness. Its acidity is equally as forceful, keeping the finish firm and taut, and while it’s not extremely complex, it’s alluring for its powerful presence and extroverted intensity. Disgorged: April 2006.Decanter | 93 DECHints of orange marmalade vie with whole-grain bread and roasted almond in this dry, mealy Champagne. Turns austere on the finish, but has intensity, so enjoy with food. Drink now through 2015. 2,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

As low as $679.00

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