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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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2006 taittinger comtes de champagne Champagne

We started with the 2006 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, which is every bit as racy and seductive as it has always been. It’s a great, great vintage for Comtes.Vinous Media | 98 VMTasted almost two years after disgorgement, the 2006 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs shows a beautiful golden-citrus color and opens with a fascinating intense, floral, slightly reductive nose that develops enormously in the glass, offering lemon and lemon confit aromas along with flinty notes of crushed chalk and the iodine flavors of the Atlantic Ocean. This is an utterly complex and promising bouquet! The palate is terribly fresh but also rich, lush and intense, with the purity of the finest wines of the Côte de Blancs, the concentration of perfectly ripe Chardonnay and the suppleness of 2006. This has impeccable balance paired with high tension. The wine is very tight and still seems to be on its way right now. Although there is a first hint of aromatic ripeness, this should be a great Comtes de Champagne in a couple of years. The finish is tensioned, concentrated and mineral but keeps its talents in an almost bursting bubble. Disgorged September 2016; tasted May 2018 (lot L6316UM13600).Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThis is settling into a deeper presence. It has a freshness that really appeals, along with Taittinger’s signature toasty layer of autolysis, grilled nuts and praline. Plenty of flesh and weight on the palate. Acidity clasps ripe peach and mango fruits, finishing long, powerful and fine. Drink now.James Suckling | 96 JS(Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut (Reims)) The 2006 vintage of Taittinger’s iconic Comtes de Champagne bottling is a beautifully refined example of the vintage, offering up a pure and vibrant bouquet of apple, pear, brioche, complex, chalky soil tones, hazelnut, a touch of orange zest, white flowers and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and supremely elegant in profile, with outstanding mid-palate intensity, utterly refined mousse, bright acids and laser-like focus on the very long, nascently complex finish. Whereas many examples from the 2006 vintage are drinking very well at age ten, it is still very early days for this outstanding Comtes de Champagne and this wine will not peak for at least another decade, though it is already very, very easy to drink! I would be inclined to let it hibernate in the cellar for at least another five years, just to allow its secondary layers of complexity to start to emerge. (Drink between 2021-2060)John Gilman | 96 JGA cold winter and scattered frost were followed by a hot, dry July. August rains cleared in time for the two weeks of dry, warm weather before a harvest in near-perfect conditions from 11 September. The Comtes is softly rich and lush, with an elegant, approachable ripe apple fruit, a hint of buttered toast and a firm mineral underpinning. Although the texture is somewhat soft, this wine has plenty of extract and potential for ageing.Decanter | 95 DECTaittinger’s prestige cuvée epitomizes the Chardonnay predilection of this producer. This now-mature bottling is elegant and very stylish. Toast and a soft texture combine with great complexity to reveal a wine that is poised and ready to drink. But with the acidity in the background, it could still age, so drink now and until 2022.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEA vivacious Champagne, with fine integration of the racy acidity and chalky bead, rich mineral character and creamy palate of glazed apricot, ground anise, biscuit and passion fruit flavors. Offers a firm, focused finish. Drink now through 2030. 500 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 94 WSIn much the same fashion as the ’06 Rosé this is aromatically quite restrained with notably cool and elegant aromas that speak of citrus, floral, yeast and green apple nuances. The wonderfully refined mouth feel is enhanced by the beautifully fine effervescence that shapes the medium weight flavors that culminate in crisp, intense and gorgeously complex and persistent finish. This is not only a terrific effort but it’s an amazingly good 2006 as there are no exotic hints plus it offers exceptionally good verve. While this could certainly be enjoyed now I would be inclined to hold it for at least another 3 years and 5 will probably be the sweet spot.Burghound | 94 BH

98
VM
As low as $175.00
2006 billecart salmon cuvee nicolas francois vintage brut Champagne

Created in 1964 as a tribute to the house’s founder, the youngest release is the 2006 Millésime Brut Cuvée Nicolas François, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir from premier and grand crus from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs. Almost entirely fermented in stainless steel (only 5% was vinified in oak barrels) and aged for 11 years on the lees, this is a beautifully ripe and rich yet pure champagne with ripe fruit flavors intermixed with chalky notes and brioche/nougat flavors. The palate is intense and concentrated in its rich fruit and substantial depth but also tight, highly elegant and perfectly balanced. The typical finesse of Billecart-Salmon is palatable as well as amazingly pure, with the persistent structure of a great Champagne. The 2006 already drinks dangerously well, but there is no need to hurry, this will go a long way.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe 2006 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine, but it needs time to be at its best. I am surprised by how tightly wound it is. But that only makes me think what it might develop into with time in the cellar. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint, crushed rocks and sage meld together in a bright, crystalline Champagne endowed with terrific purity. The 2006 is 60% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, mostly done in steel, with just a touch of oak, around 5%. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.Vinous Media | 97 VMThis wine has always been a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay since its inception in 1964, honouring the house's co-founder. Like the other founder's cuvées, 5% of the wine is vinified in old oak barrels and it then spends 11 years on its lees with partial malolactic fermentation. It has a beautiful mousse and fine, fast-streaming bubbles, and is very tight and reserved at first, opening in the glass to reveal refined sous bois, pastry, tart red apple, rich yellow plum and lifted floral notes. Elegant, complex, long and zesty, it's still very young with its full potential yet to show.Decanter | 96 DECA rounded vintage, with very attractive white peach, apricot and nectarine fruits as well as lemon and yellow grapefruit, dried flowers, orange rind and some clotted cream. The palate has an assertive, sturdy and punchy feel to it. Bright acidity that's lime sorbet-like. Good length and plenty of fresh stone fruit flavors. Fleshy and lively. Drink this now.James Suckling | 96 JSNamed after the founder of the house, Nicolas François Billecart (who married Elisabeth Salmon), this wine is now at its peak. It is poised between fresh apple fruits and broader, riper maturity. This balance gives a ripe wine hinting at toast and almonds while still with a dry aftertaste.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEFine and creamy, this harmonious Champagne layers a firm backbone of bright acidity with a lovely range of orange pâte de fruit, marzipan, lime blossom and toasted brioche notes. Tightly meshed and racy, with a long, lightly spiced finish. Drink now through 2030.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

97
VM
As low as $179.00
2006 louis roederer cristal Champagne

(Louis Roederer, Cristal, Champagne, France, White) Fantastic from the start. A colossal power of beautiful rumbling Pinot maturity. It’s like chewing on the ripest grapes from Aÿ and Verzenay. At the same time ultra stylish: unmistakable Cristal essence of peach and mango sweetness, pineapple, coconut, vanilla, sprightly acidity and citrus blossom. Many similarities with 2002 but with a clearer Pinot touch. (Drink between 2016-2030)Decanter | 97 DECDeep pinot-driven presence is the first and lasting impression. Power with control. Superfine bead, bread and spiced biscuits, candied ripe red fruits and a sense of tight-knit complexity. Some grapefruit, lemon pith & gently flinty notes too - impressive nose. In the mouth it is rich, powerful, mouth-filling and flavorsome with a core of the same biscuity red fruit flavor, savory nutty notes and a wrap of assertive, persistent acidity that holds rich powerful flavor deep and focused whilst maintaining a polished, gently creamy texture. Long chalky bread and biscuit finish. A superb pinot-driven vintage.James Suckling | 97 JSBroad, ample and resonant on the palate, the 2006 Cristal dazzles with its pure richness and volume. Readers need to give the 2006 another 4-5 years in bottle, perhaps longer, as the wine appears to be shutting down a bit. Tasted next to the 2002, today the 2006 is a bit less opulent but just as intense, layered and deep. This is a fabulous showing. 10,000 cases imported in the US.Vinous Media | 97 VM(Louis Roederer Cristal Brut) The 2006 Cristal is comprised of a blend of fifty-five percent pinot noir and forty-five percent chardonnay, with twenty percent of the vins clairs having been barrel-fermented for this vintage. Despite the 2006 vintage’s predilection towards precociousness, there is no sign of this character in this beautiful rendition of Cristal, which offers up a deep, youthful and very serious bouquet of apple, delicate tangerine, brioche, fresh almond, very classy limestone minerality, incipient smokiness, a touch of orange peel and a floral topnote redolent of white lilies. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and impeccably balanced, with a great core of fruit, laser-like focus, utterly refined mousse, crisp acids and superb length and grip on the very pure and primary finish. Structurally, the 2006 Cristal is decidedly more open than its 2005 counterpart, but aromatically the wine is certainly not more developed and remains a young and very beautiful bottle of Champagne. I really love the background influence from the barrel fermentation here, which gives the wine a hint of roundness out of the blocks, but which does not intrude on the classically racy style of young Cristal. The 2006 Cristal will certainly reach its apogee earlier than the 2005, but this is still a young wine and deserves at least a handful of years in the cellar prior to drinking. (Drink between 2018-2040)John Gilman | 95 JGThe 2006 Cristal shows rich and ripe (tropical) fruit on the nose along with delicate brioche notes. Round and textured on the palate, this is a generous but fresh, fine and salty Cristal with a very long and greatly finessed finish. Tasted in New York, November 2018.Robert Parker | 95 RPAlthough it is still young, this vintage of Cristal promises great things. There’s an impressive balance between ripe fruit and crisp acidity, rich and food friendly, but also a fine apéritif. Apricot and grapefruit flavors are round and rich, but with considerable minerality as well. This is a beautiful wine that can improve with age, at least through 2030. Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEThis elegant version shows beautiful texture and a sense of finesse despite the underlying power of vibrant acidity and smoky minerality. The palate offers a finely layered mesh of blackberry, poached pear, almond pastry, lemon zest and pickled ginger flavors. Drink now through 2028. 20,000 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 95 WS(Louis Roederer Brut - Cristal (magnum) Champagne/Sparkling) Like the wine from 750 ml format, there is an ever-so-vaguely tropical element present on the yeasty, ripe and citrus-suffused nose. I like the solid mid-palate density exhibited by the rich and relatively round medium weight flavors that possess a fine but not especially firm effervescence; indeed the mouth feel of the finish is almost soft. In sum, this stylish effort is certainly complex and classy and the larger format preserves some of the vibrancy that the 750 ml version lacks. Note that this is drinking quite well even in the larger format though it will certainly live for years. (Drink starting 2017)Burghound | 92 BH

97
DEC
As low as $295.00
2006 piper-heidsieck cuvee rare Champagne

The flagship release is the 2006 Champagne Rare, a 70/30 split of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that’s a cellar selection from 8 different Grand Cru vineyards. Tight, backward, and straight-up structured, it offers brilliant notes of stone fruits, toasted brioche, white flowers, and obvious minerality. Needing plenty of air to show at its best, this beauty has a wonderful mid-palate, a racy mousse, and the balance and class to cruise for over two decades in cool cellars.Jeb Dunnuck | 97+ JDAromas and flavors of toasted brioche and grilled nut enrich the yellow plum, nectarine and grated ginger notes of this rich and creamy Champagne. Finely woven and beautifully integrated, with a firm backbone of mouthwatering acidity providing precise balance for the lush range of flavor. Drink now through 2029. 14,000 cases made, 1,800 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 96 WSPiper-Heidsieck’s luxury cuvée with its beautifully decorated bottle is a well-matured blend of mainly Chardonnay with some Pinot Noir. Great drive and energy comes from the ripe fruit with its hints of almonds and toast. Drink this wine now.Wine Enthusiast | 95 WEThe 2006 Brut Cuvée Rare is a rich, gourmand rendition of this prestige bottling, unfurling in the glass with a complex bouquet that mingles aromas of yellow orchard fruit, pears and fresh pineapple with nuances of buttered toast, iodine and smoke. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and textural, while remaining fresh and surprisingly tight-knit at the core, concluding with a long and saline finish. There’s sufficient structural tension here to promise more than a decade’s graceful evolution, and although this is nicely balanced, it’s a generous, sun kissed rendition of the Cuvée Rare that reflects the warm vintage. The blend is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPPiper-Hiedsieck’s 2006 Cuvée Rare is racy and polished to the core. Baked apple tart, apricot, lemon confit, vanillin and brioche infuse the 2006 with striking aromatic intensity and creaminess that builds with time in the glass. Sumptuous and forward, the 2006 offers tons of near and medium-term appeal.Antonio Galloni | 93 AGCellar master Régis Camus sums up each vintage at this tasting with a single word or phrase. In 2006, ‘sunny’ is the word, reflecting both the warm and sometime humid summer conditions, and also the style of the wine: bold and generous. It has a golden hue and seductive aromas of nutmeg, quince and tropical fruit such as mango and kiwi. He describes it as a vintage ‘gorged with the sun’, going on to outline the ‘ping-pong’ match of the palate which glides effortlessly between generosity of texture and freshness. Opulence abounds. Drinking Window 2019 - 2026.Decanter | 91 DEC

98
DEC
As low as $579.00

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