Så early this Monday morgning it was time for Björnstierne to fly to Oslo and meet the students who is attending the Norwegian Sommelier Education – NSU  – Norsk Sommelier Utdannelse. The lectures took place at the beautiful Tjuvholmen. We started with two fligths of sparkling wines from all over the world, but in the afternoon we focused on Champagne. View over Tjuvholmen MOËT & CHANDON ‘BRUT IMPÉRIAL BRUT ‘ │ bottle │50PN 40PM 10CH │75(82) RJpoints │TASTINGNOTE ‘The most successful champagne in the world. Every other second a bottle of Moët is opened somewhere in the world. The quality, or rather the degree of maturity, is uneven, although the basic style is supremely constant. The grapes are plain and the storage time is only two and a half years. The mousse is impeccable, and the aroma always has elements of bready Pinot Meunier, mushroom purée and orange. The flavour can change from elder in its youth to complex exotic fruitiness in certain well-matured magnum bottles. I have recently tasted a long row of mature, well-fed bottles, so the points are higher than ever.’ DEUTZ ‘BRUT CLASSIC’ │ bottle │38PN 32Pm 30CH │75(82) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘The Champagne is always of a high quality, but has previously been sold too early. If you put the wine aside for a few years in the cellar, a fine, bready note will develop, which will tone down the exaggerated apple-like fruit. I tasted a couple of bottles at the beginning of 2001 that already had a classic maturity. Very good, exuberant, and complex at the moment. I hope this tendency continues.’ Taittiinger20130111_0016 LOUIS ROEDERER ‘BRUT PREMIER’ │ bottle │68PN 8PM 30CH │83(91) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘Invariably praised, nonvintage Champagne with a high proportion of reserve wines that had been stored in big oak barrels. Four years in the bottle before disgorging only the first pressing is used. For several years, an appley, storable, and decently good nonvintage Champagne. Today, a Cristal-like Champagne with outstanding finesse. Fantastic in magnum.’ BOLLINGER ‘SPÉCIAL CUVÉE BRUT’ │ bottle │60PN 15PM 25CH │82(88) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘Yet again, one of my absolute favorites among nonvintage Champagnes. Since the beginning of the 1990s the wine has only been four years old when it enters the market and is vinified in steel vats. Even so, it’s fascinating to see how much 12 percent old reserve wines, vinified in oak barrels and stored in magnums, do to lift the product. The oakish, smoky, and deep Bollinger style develops after a couple of years in the bottle.’ CHARLEMAGNE ‘BLANC de BLANCS RÉSERVE’ │ bottle │100CH │81(86) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE  ‘This Champagne, which is aged for three years, is made from grapes from Oger and Le Mesnil. It’s one of the most elegant nonvintage Champagnes I’ve ever had! The nose is incredibly pure and flowery, like a Chablis grand cru from Louis Michel. The flavor is also romantically light and multifaceted—the perfect aperitif on an early summer evening. A bit more powerful and oaky nowadays.’ VEUVE FOURNY ‘CUVÉE ‘R’ │ bottle │15PN 15PM 70CH │89(90) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘Since 1955 the Fourny family has made its own champagne. Nowadays Monique and Charles Fourny make delicious champagnes from their 6.5 hectares. Organic farming, old vines, and oak barrels are the keys to their rapid success. The oaky, utra-serious wines from Clos Notre Dame need to be given time! The hour that was accidently given to me was enough to show the beginnings of greatness in the 02. A touch of smoky barrel and concentrated organic loveliness! Close to 4 stars. A wonderful prestige cuvée that was made to honor the founder, Roger Fourny. Organic handling of the old stocks, low yield, no filtration, local natural yeast, 50 percent old reserve wines, and everything in old barrels. Still, there is a Selosse-like spectrum of aromas: butter pears, dwarf bananas, sesame seeds, and new barrels in a deliciously buttery outer layer.’ 2013-05-13 19.51.21 HERBERT BEAUFORT ‘BRUT RÉSERVE LES FACETTES’ │ bottle │100PN │74(77) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘Beaufort owns seventeen hectares in Bouzy and has a good reputation for its range of Bouzy reds. This grower is known in Sweden because the Monarque Bleu Club chose to invest in this producer’s nonvintage Champagne to drink as the clock struck twelve on New Year’s Eve 2000. It would be interesting to hear just how this normally disgorged Bouzy tasted then. The wines are typical Bouzy champagnes. A purer wine of stringence and potential. The nose has a toasty element which makes one think of Chardonnay.’ 2013-05-13 21.53.59 EGLY-OURIET ‘BRUT TRADITION │ bottle │80PN 20CH │84(88) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘This firm was established in 1930 and nowadays Michel Egly owns 7,7 hectares at Ambonnay, a third of a hectare at Bouzy and one and a half a hectare at Verzenay as well as 2 hectares Meunier in Vrigny. The average age of the vines is 35 years, with 60 years for the prestige wines. The wines are phenomenally great and rich. The grower is very close to gaining five stars through his fantastic development in recent years. Probably the foremost grower of Pinot Noir in the entire Champagne region nowadays. His much sought-after Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes comes from grapes from Pinot vines grown in 1946. They give this wine extra weight and density. The fruitiness is massive and soft, and the potential for maturation is enormous. He succeeds better and better for each issue. Nowadays this is a Selosse-like, exotic, oaky and biodynamically influenced giant among champagnes. The taste layers are fantastically generous and many-headed. Very close to 5 stars. A copy of Bollinger’s nonvintage Champagne. Chocolate, hazelnut and ripe apples. A broad, masculine fleshiness and vigor. Better and better with greater depth, elegance and Selosse-like barrel quality and organic style. Avoid the youngest and most recently disgorged specimens of all.’ 2013-05-13 18.41.24 EGLY-OURIET ‘LES VIGNES de VRIGNY’ │ bottle │100PM │87(90) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘If you have never tasted Prévost in Gueux then you should taste this wine. Very similar style. Inspired by Selosse, to put it mildly. Pure Meunier with biodynamics and new barrels. A lovely combination in the right hands and a new stylistic contribution in the already abundant flora of Champagne.’ 2013-05-13 18.13.09 MOUTARD ‘VIEILLES VIGNES ARBANE BRUT’ 2006 │ bottle │100 ARBANE │83(85) RJpoints │TASTING NOTENOTE ‘The firm was established in 1927 by François Diligent. It is run nowadays by his daughter and her husband, François Moutard. They own twenty-one hectares. As much as 75 per cent of the production is exported. The domain makes wines under two different labels: François Diligent and Moutard Père & Fils. The firm is one of the few to make a very shining Champagne from the almost extinct Arbanne grape. Cuvée 6 Cépages consists of one sixth each of PN, PM, CH, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbanne. I always enjoy the firm’s exciting wines made from these odd varieties of grape. This year, so ultra-sophisticated and mellowly elegant, the style is also very fitting so that the odd grapes do not escape and become too wild. The wine is mellow and harmonious with a nice tropical fruitiness and som classically apple-tinged undertones. Good creaminess and white wine structure. An extremely idiosyncratic wine that frightened a few tasters and fascinated others. The density and concentration are fantastic. The aromatic profile is, on the other hand, anything but classic. I found banana, white currants, oil, and litchi—almost like a Gewürztraminer in the nose. The taste was nearer to a big, dry Chenin Blanc from Loire. The mousse is coarse and indelicate, probably because the density is so high that the bubbles are unable to move about in the languid fluid. This wine has to be experienced in order to understand what I’m jabbering about.’ 2013-05-13 20.04.05 KRUG ‘GRANDE CUVÉE’ │ bottle │50PN 15PM 35CH │93(95) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘Krug’s nonvintage wine costs about $150. They themselves would rather call it a “multi-vintage.” Strangely enough, this exceptional wine is one of the Champagnes I’ve drunk on the greatest number of occasions—more than 200 times, in fact. Almost every time, some new element is revealed. Because it’s been blended from ten different vintages and forty-seven different wines from twenty-five crus, variation is understandable. However, I have only missed spotting it on one occasion at a blind tasting, proving that its basic character is unique. The extremely tough acidity, together with the heavy, rich Krug aromas, are the foremost clues. Always check how straight the cork is in order to decipher when it was disgorged. When young, the acidity can be too hard. When middle aged and older, the Grand Cuvée has a fabulously complex nose and palate, dominated by nuts and honey. The aftertaste is always long and majestic, like a great symphony. The best bottles deserve even higher points than I’ve given here. Little bit less impressive lately. I thought it was just bad luck, but it seams like the wine has lost a bit of magic. I am crying!’ 2013-05-13 21.26.14 R & L LEGRAS ‘CUVÉE SAINT VINCENT’ 1990 │ bottle │100CH │93(94) RJpoints │TASTING NOTE ‘Domain status was obtained in 1973. This impeccably run firm now owns twenty-one hectares of Chouilly’s finest vineyards. Monsieur Barbier, who is a big man in more ways than one, runs together with his son Julien his model company with a successful mixture of modern and traditional vinification methods. Even though the wines go through malolactic fermentation, they retain a very high degree of life-giving acidity for decades. Legras is the house Champagne at many of France’s three-star restaurants, and this must be counted among the top producers in the whole of Champagne. In the vintage from 2000 I am for once unable to distinguish any difference in quality between the vintage and prestige Champagnes. The 2002 is fantastically enjoyable right from the start. However it is significantly better to keep ones impulses under control and to wait for the profound loveliness that greying temples will give this strong personality. In certain years the grapes from the very oldest vines in the village are separated for this cuvée de prestige. Very dark power from the soil type. Tremendously elegant and sophisticated, with superb creaminess and smooth acidity. Feminine and graceful. This wine really could remind you of Salon, with its classic bouquet of walnuts and steely taste. Some bottles are slightly over-mature. But not this one!’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s