Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael in Aspen: Prestige Champagne Tasting

We had to get up pretty early if we wanted a chance to sample the impressive lineup of brut Champagne offered at the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen on June 19th. So, we drank a glass or two fewer the night before, and managed to get 2nd-row seats at New York sommelier Robert Bohr’s (CRU, Daniel, Babbo) Prestige Champagne tasting/seminar before 10am. Assisted by a panel of unfamiliar professionals, the jokey and casually-dressed Bohr rapped informally about the greatest category of bubblies on the planet, and took our questions on the subject in general. Presented were samples of 6 prestige cuvees from five different producers….3 fermented in steel and 3 in oak. Here is what I tasted, how they tasted, and how I scored them:

2000 Dom Perignon ($150):
Tight and showing high acidity. Biscuity, yeasty flavors. Not yet complex, but has quite a linger. Give this dormant DP ten more years. MK 91+ points.

1993 Dom Perignon Cuvee Oenotheque ($500+):
Recently released. Toast and nutty yeast notes are more dramatic than in the ‘00. Acidity is tame but frames the wine perfectly. Elegant and fun to drink. Has started to come into its own. MK 96 points.

1996 Pommery Cuvee Louise ($150):
Rose petal aromas are reigned in by mild acetone. Tingly acidity. Fruit-driven and uncomplicated. Tragically flawed. MK 87 points.

1999 Bollinger Grande Annee ($100):
Aromas of apple skin/clay. Flavors are primary and the wine is a bit high-toned at the moment. It will ultimately prove to be mineral and more complex with age. MK 89+ points.

NV Krug Grande Cuvee ($150):
Heavily wooded with a core palate of yeast, smoke, toast and mousse, rather than fruit. The winemaking is noticeable but the refinement so remarkable. For a big wine, the texture is elegant and precise. I would hold this NV longer. MK 92 points.

NV Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis Rosé ($125):
Added as the over-achieving underdog. Tasting this cuvee, it does not seem to be of pedigree. It is fruity with bright acidity, but lacks complexity. Very pleasant but overpriced. Does not belong in the lineup. MK 86 points.

No comments: