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The needle & the Dumangin done

Dumangin Vieux Marc de Champagne (Champagne) – Spirituous exotica, kinda-sorta floral, or mineral, but then neither. Fruit plays a role as well, but it’s hard to identify which or how. And there are non-primary complexities as well. I like this as much as any marc I’ve tasted since a Château Grillet many, many years ago.. (9/11)

Bolly good

Bollinger Champagne Brut “Special Cuvée” (Champagne) – Not sure of the “vintage” of this non-vintage, but it’s at least four, and probably more, years past release. It’s good, of course, with weighty, dark fruit and a gloomy neutron star concentration of light and darkness in tandem, but I realize as I drink it that I hardly ever drink Champagnes in this style anymore. I don’t know that my tastes have changed as much as the context in which I explore those tastes has changed; the reasons I used to like Bollinger still apply here, and yet I think I’m more interested in other directions and diversions in bubbly these days. The lusciousness that I love gets, by the last glass, a bit more tedious than I think I would have found it a decade ago, and I think it’s both the style and the short-term age that even this bottling can definitely absorb. (9/11)

Captain Krug

Krug 1989 Champagne Brut (Champagne) – My taste in Champagne has drifted away from the world on which Krug sits atop (or near) the mountain, so I’m not sure my assessment will be what it was back in the days where I would have bathed in Bollinger should the lottery have come my way. Laden with toast, brioche, yeast, and bronzer, this is a powerfully heavy Champagne. And yet the number of notes it sounds are few…fewer than I’ve become accustomed to after drinking my way through a lot of the small growers’ efforts. I like it – of course I do, it’s extremely well-made – but it is well-made, and that gilded aspiration is evident. The thing is, by complaining in this particular way I’m kind of asking Krug to not be Krug, which is ridiculous and presumptuous. I guess what I’d ultimately conclude is that I’d be more enamored of its Krugness were it a heck of a lot cheaper. That, of course, is not the case, and one pays for Krug more than one pays for a Krug, if that distinction makes sense to anyone other than me. (8/11)

GC non-GC

Gaston Chiquet 1997 Champagne Brut (Champagne) – Disgorged 18 July 2005. Biting. Grapefruit, bubbles, grapefruit, more bubbles, later, rinse, repeat. Very precise. (5/11)

It hurts like Billiot

H. Billiot Fils Champagne Grand Cru Brut Réserve (Champagne) – Disgorged 10 September 2007. Subtle. Perhaps too subtle for my tastes. Copper and sourdough starter, divergence and dissipation come the finish. (5/11)


Thierry Fluteau Champagne Brut Blanc de Noirs (Champagne) – Delicate. Strawberry, perhaps a little clover, with a very fine bead. Initially appealing, but it sort of vanishes into itself in response to attention. Pleasant. (9/10)


Lanson Champagne Brut (Champagne) – Sprightly with deeper tones. Not complex. Just basic, direct, flavorful bubbly. (2/11)

Miss Chétillons

Pierre Peters 2000 Champagne Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru Brut “Cuvée Spéciale” Blanc de Blancs “Les Chétillons” (Champage) – Jeebus, that’s a lot of words. Here’s a bit of info that’s not a word: L.SBAA02, for the interested. And what about the wine? Lurid white flowers that quickly flash into an even more lurid state of decay, white pepper, intense Granny Smith apple. Long. Very long. Incisive and, once some of the overt floral prelude has sorted itself out, focused. Frankly, this is a brilliant wine. (1/11)

The Entertainer

Cédric Bouchard “Inflorescence” Champagne Aube Brut “La Parcelle” Blanc de Noirs (Champagne) – L.01, though I’m told the source material is 2002. I don’t drink so much Cédric Bouchard that I need this level of differentiation, but those who do no doubt will. Very floral and showy, whacking tart strawberry with a plank of tannin, after which the structure firms and the wine’s showiness almost completely disappears. Then, later, it gets all fluffy and intense again, dialing up something puckery in the pomegranate realm for the big finish. Impressively noisy and impossible to ignore. (1/11)