Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV

Taittinger make some very nice wines. I’ve particularly enjoyed their NV of late, which always shows well in blind tastings. They have a sizeable vineyard holding of 288 hectares, which helps with quality. This is a non-vintage blend from Grand Cru vineyards and it spends five years on its lees.

Champagne Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV France
Fresh, [...]

Champagne Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier

This is really good. Vilmart have 11 hectares of vines in the Monntagne de Reims, in the small village of Rilly la Montagne. No chemical fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides are used. The base wines are aged in oak. This is a proper wine: still primary and youthful, but with great potential.

Champagne Vilmart & Cie Grand [...]

Champagne Armand de Brignac: a marketing success story

The Armand de Brignac story is a remarkable one, and represents one of the great wine marketing successes of all time.

It begins with the Cattier family, from the village of Chigny-Les-Roses, in the Montagne de Reims. They have cultivated vines here since 1763, although the first wines weren’t made by the family until 1918. Jean-Jacques [...]

So just how good is English sparkling wine? A blind tasting

I took part in a brilliant tasting today, organized by Noble Rot magazine. Alas, there’s an embargo, so I can’t tell you the outcome or list the wines involved, but I can share some pictures and give a little commentary.

So, the tasting was pitting four of the best English sparkling wines (and the Noble Rot [...]

Another lovely Champagne: Gatinois Aÿ Grand Cru NV

Gatinois, based in Aÿ, have 7.5 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards spread across 29 plots. They sell half their grapes to Bollinger and other grand marques, but father and son team Pierre and Louis Cheval-Gatinois also make their own wine, including this NV, which is 90% Pinot Noir with the balance Chardonnay. This spends at [...]

Champagne Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut Réserve NV France

Continuing my exploration of well priced and delicious grower Champagnes, here’s another, from Michel Arnould. They have 12 hectares of Grand Cru vineyards in Verzenay. It’s Pinot Noir: although I’m at heart a Blanc de Blancs fan, there are times when some Pinot character is welcome.

Champagne Michel Arnould Grand Cru Brut Réserve NV France
From Verzenay, [...]

Ulysse Collin Les Maillons Blanc de Noirs - a sensational Champagne

I was blown away by this rich, distinctive Blanc de Noirs from Ulysse Collin. It’s sensational, and it has a good back story.

Olivier Collin’s family had been farming vineyards from their base in Congy since 1812, but were renting out their 8.7 hectares of vineyards to a negociant. But Olivier wanted these vineyards back: he [...]

Champagne Pierre Péters Cuvée du Réserve Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru NV France

Champagne Pierre Péters is a Blanc de Blancs specialist located in Le Mesnil sur Oger, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs. Under the direction of Rodolphe Péters since 2008, this sixth generation family firm just makes wines from their own grapes. Fortunately they have sizeable holdings: 19 hectares of Chardonnay, most of which [...]

On Champagne bubbles

I was reminded last night about how bubbles aren’t really a property of a Champagne (or sparkling wine). I poured the same Champagne into two different glasses. In one, the bubbles were fine – a steady stream. In the other, they were big and clumsy looking. The same wine.

It’s common to hear wine professionals comment [...]

Champagne R&L Legras Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

I’m getting into grower Champagne at the moment. Some stunning wines, often at very good prices. This lovely: it’s from R&L Legras in Chouilly, the most northerly village in the Cotes des Blancs, and it’s the same price as a Grand Marque NV. Which is nuts. I’ve reviewed wines before from them here, here, here [...]