The third New Year Great Blind Champagne Tasting video!

So here it is. The third installment of the Great Blind Champagne Tasting, which is – by tradition – held on new year’s eve. This years’ was bigger (16 wines) and longer than ever. But I hope you’ll find it gripping viewing.

Some real surprises here. There were three ringers: a top Cava, a famous English fizz and a Cremant de Bourgogne. And 13 rather different Champagnes, including smaller growers as well as big names.

It is filmed with my brothers in law, William Beavington and Dominic Cavan.

Previous years’ tastings can be viewed here and here.

19 comments to The third New Year Great Blind Champagne Tasting video!

  • I am not surprised you didn’t like the Nyetimber Blanc de Blanc 2001 – it’s never been any good and is now far too old. Why did you have that as your ONE English Sparkling Wine? There are SO MANY better ones out there. Next Xmas, please choose something better.

  • Jack Matthew

    Really? Nyetimber BdB 2001 is one of my favourite wines. It’s a acidity is a bit of a surprise at first, but it works with the right food. Interestingly I’ve found that people don’t like it if it follows champagne; but when I served it before Jacquesson cuvee 734, it made the Jacquesson seem clumsy. With a wine like that, they’re comparing apples with oranges.

  • We didn’t want to put much emphasis on the ringers – they were a bit of an aside. Would be fun to do a comparison of top english fizz with other sparkling wines at some stage. But the emphasis here is on blind tasting Champagne.

  • Jack Matthew

    I did forget to mention how pleased I was to see this again in 2012. At the risk of sounding a little sad, I’ve been checking and rechecking the blog for this all day, whilst nursing a slight hang over. Very impressive tasting.

  • Stephen, was there some edict from Nyetimber that the 2001 wasn’t to be included in tastings? Or is there some rule I’m unaware of that only brilliant examples of English sparkling wine are allowed to be tasted against Champagne? As if the sole pre-ordained purpose of such a tasting is to show English wine in a permanently positive light? That would be an unusual focus on one English wine, which is essentially just a ringer in a fun Champagne tasting. Were the Cremant and Cava also unwise choices?

  • Richard

    As last year I wonder what effect of not using flutes had on the results? A white wine (?) glass would tend to attenuate the aromas and the mousse possibly?

  • Steven Pritchard

    Enjoyable as always!

    Interesting your views on the Jose Michel 2002 SC, I do think that this was a bad choice by me, the Oak, Meunier and Ph ripeness of the year probably stuck out like a sore thumb against more neutral BdB cuvees (Jamie you loved the 2000 recently :-P)

    Blanc de Blancs always show well in blinds don’t you think? Pierre Gimonnet release their NV after only minimal lees aging (18 months) so tends to be simple, estery and fruity, I love this wine!

    Do you guys go back and taste them later? Do you change your mind?

    Happy new year!

    Cheers,

    Steve

  • fatfred

    Interesting to note how much the amateur drinks and the pro doesn’t.
    William evem emptied glasses of the stuff he didn’t like!

  • bob parsons alberta

    Seems William made some eeerrr poor buys! Give them to the neighbours.
    Had the Raventos Cava Brut yesterday, very nice but yes obvious Cava.

    Bob Alberta.

  • Arthur Goode

    Sad not to have been able to make it this year but I must say that Dominic’s shirt more than made up for my absence.

  • Steve, was amazed by the JM SC – went back to it later and liked it a bit more. But not as much as I liked the 2000. I tasted everything again later to write some sighted notes.

  • Steven Pritchard

    Jamie,

    Maybe I just dig the intensity and terroir a little too much on that one – probably a Champagne Anoraks wine rather than a classic pourer. I agree lacks finesse and complexity though to make it a super wine.

    Cheers,

    Steve

  • In response to Chris Kissack (January 1st:

    I accept that one must try and be objective, but given that the first UK sparkling wines made from Champagne varieties didn’t really appear until 1989/90 (Lamberhurst Brut) and the first Nyetimber release was about 15 years ago, plus the fact that there are ca 500 ha of Champagne varieties in the UK, compared with almost 40,000 in Champagne, the selection of a flagship wine to go up against a batch of wines from overseas needs to be done with care.

    The 2001 Nyetimber is (a) not reckoned by Nyetimber to be one of their best, (b) far too old,(c) no longer in retail circulation (OK – so there may be a few bottles lurking here and there) and (d) there are so many better UK-grown wines on the market – why choose it when the results are going to be broadcast to the world?

    If its just for a private tasting, then slurp away, but it wasn’t.

  • Steven Pritchard

    I think there were some very average Champagnes in that tasting too. This is the problem, often the best of british is pitched against the worst of Champagne – is this fair either?

    This tasting is a bit of new year fun, I wouldn’t take it too seriously.

  • william beavington

    Stephen, you are wrong to say “no longer in retail circulation” as it is, and has been available at Fortnum & Mason for some time. Also, I don’t think it matters that its “not reckoned by Nyetimber to be one of the best” as this was not meant to be a “best of the best head-to-head tasting”. I would add that this is three years in a row in which Nyetimber, in any grape variety has not shown well against even average French Champagnes.

  • william beavington

    I would add that I’ve just checked on winesearcher and it is widely available all over the UK. I’d also add that this tasting is just a bit of fun, but, as you know, blind always brings up some surprising results and finally that you were very kind to have thown in 2 to try so thank you very much for that. Next year I’m sure we’d love to have your recommendations on what to pitch in the UK against France.

  • Jack Matthew

    “(OK – so there may be a few bottles lurking here and there)”

    I don;t mean to be rude but wine writers are often ignorant about such things. However, if you’re in my position of being poor but loving wine, you have to much more selective about what you drink.

  • ed

    As I written here before Veuve Cliquot has steeply declined in quality these past 15 years

  • Bob Parsons

    I am getting ready for next one!!

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