Champagne highlights from 2016, and a resolution for the New Year

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It’s new year’s day! It’s normally the time for resolutions, but I’m struggling to think of any. This year I drank quite a bit of Champagne, but there’s room for improvement, so this year coming I resolve wholeheartedly to drink more fizz (including a decent proportion of Champagnes). I’ve been through all my notes for this year, and in no particular order, these are my Champagne highlights for 2016

Olivier Collin of Ulysse Collin

Olivier Collin of Ulysse Collin

Champagne Ulysses Collin Les Enfers Blanc de Blancs NV France
This is based on the 2010 vintage with 48 months on lees and was bottled in 2011. Disgorged in 2015. Wonderfully appley and aromatic on the nose with some lemony notes. Powerful, nutty and lemony on the palate with almonds and fine toasty notes, as well as ripe apples. Complex and very fresh with stone fruits and pear, coupled with good acidity. Profound wine. 96/100 

Champagne Ulysses Collin Les Perrières Blanc de Blancs NV France
This is based on the 2012 vintage and was disgorged in February 2016. 12.5% alcohol. Concentrated and intense with fine, expressive citrus fruits and a touch of herbiness, as well as some apple and pear richness. Focused, with nice bright lemony notes. Very fine and expressive, showing real intensity. Pristine and fine with lovely acidity. 95/100

Champagne Jacques Selosse Initial Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV France
This is the March 2013 disgorgement. It’s a thrillingly rich and complex Champagne with lovely toast, ripe apple and bright lemon fruit. Lovely complex spiciness here with concentration and depth and attractive grapefruit, pear and melon notes. Crystalline. 96/100

Tasting with Anselme

Tasting with Anselme

Champagne Jacques Selosse V.O. Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV France
This stands for Version Originale, and it’s from poorer soils higher up the slope, based on vintages 2009/8/7. ‘For me this is the chalk speaking: the language of chalk,’ says Anselme Selosse. Dosage is 0.7 g/litre. Very fine aromatic nose with lovely citrus fruits, herbs, ripe apples. So linear and pure. Lemony, intense and mineral with great acidity. There are lots of dimensions here. ‘For this wine there is no smile,’ says Anselme. ‘It’s Cistercian, not Benedictine.’ So fine and linear with amazing structure. 97/100

Rodolphe Peters, Pierre Peters

Rodolphe Peters, Pierre Peters

Champagne Pierre Peters Les Chetillons 2008 France
Fine toast and pure citrus fruits on the nose. Explosive palate with minerality and acidity. So pure with amazing precision. Notes of almonds, citrus and ripe apple, with a hint of creaminess, and subtle toast. Profound. 96/100

Champagne Pierre Paillard Les Maillerettes Bouzy Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs 2010 France
Disgorged November 2015, dosage 2.5 g/litre. Chalky soil with 50 cm of clay/limestone over pure chalk. Attractive broad, fruity nose: cherries, lemons and herbs. Very fruity with some richness, but also some fresh, minerally chalky notes. Very bright in the mouth with lovely pure acidity. Fine and expressive with real elegance: it has Pinot richness but you can also taste the terroir here. 95/100 

Champagne Bereche et Fils Campania Remensis Rosé 2010 France
2010 base, disgorged May 2014, dosage 3 g/l. 12% alcohol. So lovely: tart and lemony with lovely cranberry and raspberry hints, as well as a touch of nice sour cherry. Precise and detailed with appealing fruitiness. 95/100

Champagne Bruno Paillard NPU 2003 France
NPU stands for Nec Plus Ultra, and this gets a 3 g/l dosage. This was the famously hot vintage, but Bruno has produced something special, in a year when another challenge was very little Chardonnay because of frosts. Distinctive creamy, toasty nose with fine pear and white peach fruit. Rich, taut, nutty palate with cherries, pear and quince. Complex, broad and intense with hazelnut, pear, cherry and some delicate savouriness. Hints of fennel and white pepper. 95/100

leclepart

Champagne David Léclapart l’Amateur 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs Pas Dosé NV France

Very fine, fresh, textured and mineral with fine pear and citrus fruit. So pure and linear with notes of anise and a nice savoury edge. Focused and poised. 94/100

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006 France
12.5% alcohol. Tight, fresh, complex and detailed with subtle toast, white peach, white pepper, yellow plum and lemon notes. Bright and pure with precision and good acidity. Has beautiful detail and brightness, with a core of lemony fruit. There’s a bit of toast and honeycomb here, also. A remarkably good wine. 96/100

Champagne Vazart Coquart Special Club Blanc de Blancs Brut 2008 France
Dosage 8 g/l, aged on cork. Very linear and pure with subtle cream and toast notes. Nice acidity. Amazing purity with lovely lemony fruit core and subtle toast and herb characters, with a waxy edge. 94/100

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