Champagne critic Michael Edwards picks out six of the best wines on show at the annual Champagne Bureau tasting in London, held on 11 March 2015.
The UK is the largest export market for Champagne and regional trade body Comite Champagne holds an annual tasting in London to allow critics, journalists and the trade to taste wines both old and new. Here, author and critic Michael Edwards picks out six of the best from the tasting.
Admired numbered series of NV which aims to show the distinct character of each successive vintage as a base wine rather than a uniform blend year by year. The 738 is based on 2008, their best effort yet: impressive interplay of complexity, spice, vinosity. Very dry. Class.
Price: Millesima £260 (x6 bottles)
Warm but balanced year from important grower (35 hectares in premier cru vineyards). Size, diversity of holdings equals greater complexity. Expressive Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, moderate dosage (under 6g/l), but fresh and incisive. À point. .
Price: Taurus Wines £29.9
Paul Dethune, Brut, Cuvee Prestige Princesse
Top Ambonnay domaine with all the famed class of this Grand Cru. 50/50 Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, base the stylish 2006+ reserve wines in solera system, creamy, ethereal, all about texture and finesse.
Price: Highbury Vintners £50 / Richard Dawes £335 (x12 bottles)
In contrast to the straight Vintage Veuve Clicquot Rosé 2004 (a big black fruits wine), this is more refined and subtle with a higher percentage of Chardonnay. No lack of flavour, though. Clos Colin Pinot Vineyard adding a touch of kirsch and ‘Burgundy‘ notes. Lovely.
Price: Thedrinkshop £248
Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart 2002
Almost the last to release their 2002, a legendary vintage, it’s certainly worth the wait. Exquisite green gold, a wine of sustained power and endless complexity to open fully over next decade. Wonderfully fresh at 13 years old.
Price: Berry Bros & Rudd £480 (x6 bottles)
Beaumont des Crayeres, Fleur de Meunier 2008
Bijou co-op known for top Meunier on chalk near Epernay. Super- fine aromas of red/yellow
fruits & brioche, generous mouthfeel, expressive peach and mirabel, ripe acidity. Great year. Ready. Value.