Champagne detective Johan Tidelius arranged a 1976-tasting in Stockholm. Here are the tasting notes.
LANSON ‘MILLÉSIME’ 1976
Reims / Champagne / France / Lanson / Swedish importer: Chris Wine / 46PN 54CH / RJpoints 94(94)
TASTING NOTE Relatively mature color, incredibly toasty, almost burned character. Impressive with its sea tones, crême brûlée, liquorice, brioche and also nowadays passionfruit and orange blossom. A marvellous wine that illustrates the wonderful development curve of the wines from 1976, which is better than most.
VEUVE CLICQUOT ‘MILLÉSIME’ 1976
Reims / Champagne / France / Veuve Clicquot / Swedish importer: MoëtHennesy / 67PN 33CH / RJpoints 94(94)
TASTING NOTE Very well preserved and youthful with aromas of chocolate, nut, cellar, and newly baked bread. Excellent attack and a pure fruity taste with length. A personal favorite that I love serving my guests.
DIEBOLT-VALLOIS ‘CUIS’ 1976
Cramant / Champagne / France / Diebolt-Vallois / importer: PrimeWine / 100CH / RJpoints 93(93)
TASTING NOTE This is a great wine that comes from Guy Vallois in Cuis, but which has been disgorged and dosed by Jacques Diebolt and thus carries his name—that’s how strange the laws in Champagne are. The wine is deliciously butterscotchy and exotically rich with tons of browned butter and créme-brûlée tones. Big and impressive, as you would expect from this warm year. In regular bottle a bit up and down but in magnums really great and consistent.
GOSSET ‘MILLÉSIME’ 1976
Aÿ / Champagne / France / Gosset / importer Divine / 60PN 40CH / RJpoints 95(95)
TASTING NOTE Typical oxidative Gosset style, with hints of purple coneflower, red apples, honey, and truffles, both in the scent and the taste. The structure is masculine and fleshy and the vigor unmistakable. The ’76 is wonderful today. Massive, rich, fat fruit with a long, dry, and stringent aftertaste.
MOËT & CHANDON ‘GRAND VINTAGE’ 1976
Epernay / Champagne / France / Moët & Chandon / importer MoëtHennesy / 35PN 65CH / RJpoints 95(95)
TASTING NOTE Almost as fantastic as Dom Pérignon ’76. An insanely good development in magnum in the untouched cellars of Épernay. Colossal power and sweet, euphoric opulence.
MOËT & CHANDON ‘DOM PÉRIGNON’ 1976
Epernay / Champagne / France / Moët & Chandon / importer MoëtHennesy / 50PN 50CH / RJpoints 96(96)
TASTING NOTE A wine that has impressed me very little in the past, with its vintage-typical, slightly burned, warm character. That’s why it was it was such a great surprise that I liked the ’76 best of all among sixteen vintages at a gargantuan dinner featuring wines from Moët in December 2000. This bottle had a sensual floweriness that distinguishes the foremost ’76s, as well as a stately, long, sweet finish. Grandiose! It should perhaps be pointed out that the wine was served blind. Winner of the comprehensive DP tasting in Copenhagen 2006.
HEIDSIECK & MONOPOLE ‘DIAMANT BLEU’ 1976
Epernay / Champagne / France / Heidsick & Monopole / importer: ChrisWine / 50PN 50CH / RJpoints 95(95)
TASTING NOTE One of the best ’76s and clearly more homogeneous today than the ’79. The wine is grand and aristocratic, with a sophisticated, buttery tone from the vintage adding a touch of charm to an otherwise rather barren wine. Some tired bottles poping up now.
de VENOGE ‘DES PRINCES’ 1976
Epernay / Champagne / France / De Venoge / importer Enjoy Wine / 100CH / RJpoints 98(98)
TASTING NOTE So unbelievably rich and concentrated that it takes one’s breath away. ”Almost like an American Chardonnay in its over-explicitness,” remarked one taster. I myself am completely seduced by this romantic, Comtes-like aromatic spectrum. It is clear to me now that Des Princes is one of the Champagnes that I have most underestimated. Magnificent every time!
TAITTINGER ‘COMTES de CHAMPAGNE’ 1976
Reims / Champagne / France / Taittinger / importer Fondberg / 100CH / RJpoints 99(99)
TASTING NOTE This ’76 was one of the Champagnes that sparked my obsession with the area and its wines. Never before have I tasted anything so exotic, fruity, and enjoyable. It still holds up very well, even if the character has changed a little. An enormous nose and taste of sweet lemons have now replaced the butteriness. These can be found in many mature Champagnes, but never as clearly as in the Comtes de Champagne ’76. A classic milestone, and absolutely one of the ten Champagnes I would pick out for someone who doubts that Champagne can be really good and big. A champion in its class!