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50 years of Champagne Gosset  

A rare chance to taste a vertical collection of vintage Champagnes spanning 50 years. The wines were presented by CEO Béatrice Cointreau, with Patrick Ligeron (export manager, Europe). I was genuinely surprised by how good the older wines were. You might have expected 40 and 50 year old bottles of fizz (the ‘old ladies’) to be past it – mere curiosity pieces – but these were still very much alive, complex, and lacking the off-notes commonly found in bottles heading towards senescence. Perhaps the ideal storage conditions at Gosset, where these bottles will have slept undisturbed, have something to do with this: Champagne is notoriously susceptible to environmental insult. Thanks to McKinley Vintners for arranging this enlightening tasting opportunity. 

1996 Gosset Grand Millésime
Subtle nose with a fresh edge. Lovely balance on the palate: fresh and crisp but still youthful. Nice stuff. Very good+

1995 Gosset Celebris
Quite pale, with a nice fresh toasty edge to the nose. Rich, intense palate with high acidity and good balance. Very attractive. Excellent

1990 Gosset Celebris
Very rich nose with some bready, toasty complexity and a creamy edge. Complex, savoury palate again shows great balance. Very good/excellent 

1988 Gosset Celebris
Slightly deeper colour with a restrained savoury, toasty nose. Quite lean; a high acid style. Tastes youthful. Very good+

1989 Gosset Grand Millésime
Deeper colour. Quite an evolved nose with an interesting herby complexity. Rich, rounded savoury palate with a touch of butterscotch. Quite evolved and very tasty. Very good/excellent

1985 Gosset Grand Millésime
Quite deep coloured with an evolved savoury nose. The texture has begun to thin out a bit, and there’s high acidity. Almost flat, but with interesting savoury, biscuitty flavours. Very good+

1982 Gosset Grand Millésime
In contrast to the 1985, this is quite fizzy. Lovely herby edge to the nose which displays a pronounced grassy character. Youthful palate with nice complexity. Very good/excellent

1976 Gosset Brut (in magnum)
Quite fizzy. Clean crisp nose with a touch of herbiness and some lifted acid. Wonderfully rich but youthful palate with bready complexity and very high acidity. Youthful. Very good/excellent

1975 Gosset Brut
Gentle mousse and subtle, toasty creamy nose: complex, with just a touch of caramel. Rounded, rich balanced palate is really delicious. Excellent

1961 Gosset Brut
Gosh. A wine that predates me by several years. There aren’t many wines of any sort still going strong at 41. Some fizz still. Rich evolved herbal and toasty nose with some caramel notes. Distinct herby palate with a lovely texture and rich biscuitty undertones. Complex and still very much alive: a remarkable wine. Excellent

1952 Gosset Brut
Fascinating stuff. Deep yellow/gold colour. Complex nose is harmonious displaying creamy, toasty and yeasty notes. Not too evolved, with a bit of herbiness. Remarkably clean and pure. It’s hard to pick out any dominant flavours on the complex palate: everything seems to pull together. Excellent

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wines tasted February 2002; article published September 2002