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I was asked to start up the season with an apéritif tasting for some sales people in the perfume industri. I chose a couple of cuvee préstige Champagne to kick of the evening.

Comtes05

2005 Taittinger ‘Comtes de Champagne’                            

Reims| Champagne| Frankrike | Taittinger | Swedish importer: Fondberg | SBnr 90298  SBprice 1 202 sek  | 100CH | RJpoints 94(97) 

THE VINTAGE 2005 It was very good weather during the flowering that year, which was then followed by rain and high heat. Just in time for the harvest, the temperature dropped and it was dry and sunny. Particularly the Chardonnay grape excels this year with freshness and a flowery tone. From the start, a really charming vintage that most people love. They are seduced by the sweet and soft richness, whereas I stay more hesitant. It has a bit too much baby fat and sweet coconut notes, which camouflage the terroir and fresh- ness in order for my taste buds to go into a spin. Excessive mess factor! Uncertain of how much to dare to save in your basement of this vintage, but it is worth taking a chance with Bonnaire, Agrapart & Fils, David Leclapart, Louis Roederer, and Jacques Selosse. 

TASTING NOTE Truly wonderful wine from the start. As usual, they succeed particularly well in warm, acid-weak vintages, when the neighbors’ wines often appears flat and publicly simplistic. Despite the fact that the acid is not particularly accentuated here either, the vineyards aromatic citrus fresh touch, manage to leave a fresh uplifting side to the creamy fat smoothness. The finish is certainly chalky and elegant, but it raises to heavenly heights with a 76-like butterscotch soft, warm, sweet flavored embracing pillow. Magnum is still undeveloped and crispy.

Churhill00

2000 Pol Roger ‘Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill’                    

Epernay | Champagne | Frankrike | Pol Roger | Swedish importer Ward Wine | SBnr 7548 SBprice 1 151 sek | assemblage secret | RJpoints 91(92) 

THE VINTAGE 2000 A warm and wet winter was followed by an equally wet spring. First, in May, came the seri- ous heat, which gave a fast flowering around June 14. Chlorosis and mold growth were evi- dent. June and August were hot and dry. But if you were like me, and tried to have a July vaca- tion in Champagne that year, you noticed how cold and rainy it was. The weather was almost as bad as at home, with constant rain and local hailstorms. Everything looked hopeless, but the good weather during harvest saved a decent amount of fresh grapes. Harvest started on my birthday—September 11—and ended in early October. Chardonnay and pinot meunier did better than the delicate pinot noir. The year will become sought after thanks to their magic number. The quality does not look too fancy yet though. The wines are quite light with short lives. However, it is a very enjoyable moment, with its intense exotic aromas of passion fruit and tangerine. I am delighted to recommend some romantic bottles of the successful pink trio William Deutz Rosé, Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé, and Pommery Cuvée Louise Rosé.

TASTING NOTE Not at all exciting when it was released. The tones are here but in an unusually weak form. Will time provide enough evolving to provide the desired push? Oh, yes. Already very worthy of its label. Nice smokey complexity. Fat and already matured.

Cristal05

2005 Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’                                    

Reims | Champagne | Frankrike | Louis Roederer | Swedish importer Vinunic | SBnr 99200 SBprice 1 597 sek  | 55PN 45CH | RJpoints 93(96) 

THE VINTAGE 2005 It was very good weather during the flowering that year, which was then followed by rain and high heat. Just in time for the harvest, the temperature dropped and it was dry and sunny. Particularly the Chardonnay grape excels this year with freshness and a flowery tone. From the start, a really charming vintage that most people love. They are seduced by the sweet and soft richness, whereas I stay more hesitant. It has a bit too much baby fat and sweet coconut notes, which camouflage the terroir and fresh- ness in order for my taste buds to go into a spin. Excessive mess factor! Uncertain of how much to dare to save in your basement of this vintage, but it is worth taking a chance with Bonnaire, Agrapart & Fils, David Leclapart, Louis Roederer, and Jacques Selosse. 

TASTING NOTE Roeder’s Cristal belongs to the elite of prestige Champagnes. It combines Bollinger’s and Krug’s heavy, nutty, Pinot-inspired style, with Taittinger Comtes de Champagne’s enjoyably exotic fruitiness and butter-caramel taste. Drier and tighter, yet greater than the exotic vintage 2004. Promising tones that will be nutty with time. One of the vintage’s treats of course.

Wiliam Deutz98

1998 Deutz ‘Cuvée William Deutz’                               

Aÿ | Champagne | Frankrike | Deutz | Swedish importer Swedish Brand | price 1 000 sek  | 55PN 10PM 35CH | RJpoints 91(93) 

THE VINTAGE 1998  That year’s crop is the largest the region has seen. Every corner of the appellation suc- cessfully got up to the maximum allowable harvest yield of 10,400 kilos of grapes per hectare. Growers were also allowed to reap an additional 2,600 kg that was allocated to the Champagne reserve, called blocage. This led to 330 million bottles of champagne made in total. The blocage system (whereby a larger produc- tion than necessary is allowed to meet demand) has been the main tool for maintaining a stable price level in the 1990s. It is possible that 1998 was not a remarkable year, but we still have a lot of exciting experiences to look forward to in the future. Most houses felt that the year was good enough to make vintage champagnes. I had the great pleasure to try Veuve Clicquot still base wines from 1998 together with the winemaker Jacques Peters, who asked me if I thought the raw material was good enough to justify a La Grande Dame. With his amazing range of choice, it did. Otherwise, the year is generally good but hardly exceptional, which should be one criterion for issuance of prestige champagnes. Jacques Selosse and Billecart- Salmon Le Clos Saint-Hilaire are the tops.

TASTING NOTE A bit mean and apple-tinged up to now. The almost earthy stoniness of this vintage is not something that contributes to giving the wine charm, either. It will certainly improve well and truly, but it is hardly likely to be one of the great Williams, is it? The sudden strawberry maturity in the finish makes me ask the question.

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