Taste Champagne is a very large tasting of Champagnes with over 40 Champagne houses pouring their bubblies.
It is a bit overwhelming. Champagne is the most manipulated wine in the world. You get a house style, mainly along the axis of Pinot vs. Chardonnay composition, ageing sur lies or not, and residual sugar. While there are premier cru and grand cru fruit going into Champagnes, terroir cannot easily be detected.
Over the last few years, so called Grower Champagnes made big inroads into the traditional leaders. Partly on the back of the fabulous 2008 vintage, the major houses have fought back.
Crowds gathering at Bollinger and Billecart-Salmon
My Champagne of the night was the Bollinger La Grande Année 2008. Great purity of fruit, caressing the mouth, very fine and fresh, with yeast underneath the fruit, delivering moderate bread and toast flavours - beautifully balanced (97 points). The Bollinger R.D. 2004 was finer and very delicate, and long on the finish (95 points).
Other Champagnes in the 94/95 point bracket were the Billecart-Salmon Vintage Extra Brut 2007, the Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2011, Pol Roger Vintage Brut 2012, Agrapart & Fils Grand Cru Terroirs Blanc de Blancs NV, Brimoncourt Extra Brut Grand Cru NV, Henriot Brut Millésimé 2008, Palmer & Co Amazone de Palmer NV, Taittinger Brut Millésimé 2009, Charles Heidsieck Millésimé Vintage Brut 2005.
Krug and Dom Perignon were not present.