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Vintage Name Variety Publication Reviewer Score More...
White - Sparkling

NV Alexandre Bonnet Champagne Grand Réserve

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
This has a slightly honeyed character on the nose, mineral-laced white fruits, with a dried-crystalline character. The palate is full, with a creamy mousse. It has balance and a good backbone. It needs a little time to settle, but otherwise is good. 15.5 points
Rosť

2007 Château d'Aqueria Tavel

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A vibrant, deep pink hue, and a nose of sweet red fruits, cherries with a leafy edge. A nicely structured grip on the palate, which possesses quite a firm acidity underneath the sweet-savoury fruit. A good, full-bodied, forceful style. 15 points
White - Sparkling

NV Arlaux Champagne Brut Premier Cru Récolte Principale 2002

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Current release. Based principally on the 2002 vintage; this is not declared on the label, although Arlaux have plans to introduce this. This has a rather steely nose, and a rather firmly structured palate with a little nut-tinged fruit. There is more creaminess to the style at the midpalate. Underneath it all, piles of acidity. I suspect this cuvée will cellar well. 16+ points
White - Sparkling

NV Arlaux Champagne Brut Réserve

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Current release. As above, this wine is based on the 2000 vintage. Nicely elegant fruit on the nose. The palate possesses a good presence of rounded, balanced fruit which has a lovely integration with elegant structure and balance. There is a firm framework of bright acidity and a firm mousse. Very good indeed. 16+ points
White - Sparkling

1996 Arlaux Champagne Brut Vintage

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Lots of appeal on the nose here, rather mineral and well defined, with a little nutty richness. This latter point comes through on the palate, which has a lovely style, bright flavours and a soft but punchy depth. Mealy and mature, but still very fresh. Gentle and attractive, mellowing nicely, for drinking now and soon. 17.5+ points
White - Sparkling

2000 Ayala Champagne Blanc de Blancs

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Now owned by Bollinger, we should expect bigger and better things from Ayala (although the wines were often good, anyway). This has a richness on the nose, a honeyed and slightly mealy character. A nice depth of fruit on the palate, rather plumply styled, with firm acids although overall it perhaps lacks definition. A gentle mousse, good fruit too, and overall a nice style. 15.5+ points
White

2006 Domaine Baron Sauvignon Touraine

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
An attractive hue, a pale straw colour. On the nose, lots of lovely character, and a richness of aroma, which is dominated by notes of blackcurrant leaf, gooseberry and even notes of yellow capsicum and minerally smoke. Similarly, plenty of interest on the palate, which shows a depth of flavour matched by texture, substance and acidity. Nice complexity, citrus and a little touch of caramel but without the sweetness, but plenty of depth. A good presence and a slightly bitter grip to the short, peppery finish. Impressive for an appellation that would be disregarded by many. Very good, punching way above its weight. 17 points
Red

1998 Domaine Lucien Barrot et Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A year and a half since I last tasted this. Bottle number one was corked, so a replacement was produced. This second bottle has a nicely mature hue, but isn't showing an awful lot on the nose, just a little woody note, some Bovril and a weedy character. It has none of the attractive garrigue I found last time. Firmly structured if not a little too angular, with a dry tannic finish, although it is nicely textured. Nice weight. Flavours of raspberry liqueur, a touch of alcohol and heat. I don't think this is showing as well as the last bottle, and I think it may simply be going downhill. A shameful disappointment. 13 points
Red

2003 Château Bel Air la Royère

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
An interesting cuvée here; this wine, made by Xavier and Corinne Loriaud with advice from consultant Christian Veyry, incorporates 25% Malbec in the final blend, which is otherwise dominated by Merlot. It has a rich and opaque, youthful red-black hue. The nose offers aromas of warm, unfocused fruit; it has a dark character, and a feral, warm vintage feel. The wine on the palate is broad, full-bodied, grippy and tannic, although there is an appealingly seamless texture. A low acid style, with a little hardness under the elegant texture. Lots of ripe, rounded, slightly chewy tannins on the finish. Good, but a very particular style with a somewhat brawny edge. 15 points
Red

2004 Château Belgrave

Haut-Médoc Red Bordeaux Blend more

Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Attractive blackcurrant fruits on the nose, sweet and slightly herby, although overall it is not hugely expressive. A nicely structured palate though, with dry and peppery tannins. There isn't a lot of concentration here, and the palate leads through to a firm tannic finish with lots of extract. There isn't a lot of flattering texture here. Rather straightforward. 15.5+ points
White - Sparkling

NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Like the straight non-vintage, this too is showing a lot of sulphur. It was also served very cold. The palate, though, is quite well composed. It does not have a huge depth at present, although it is very firm and fresh, showing some attractive white fruit character. Nice peppery acidity. Difficult to judge, but it has promise. 16? points
White - Sparkling

NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Réserve

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A bright style on the nose, with a chalky character. The palate, however, is quite gentle, rounded and creamy. Soft and full-flavoured with notes of baked white fruits over a fine grip which shows at the end, together with good acidity here too. Touch of creaminess to the mousse. Very good. 16+ points
White - Sparkling

1998 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A lovely character here, mealy and honeyed, a touch oaty, and overall a very enticing style. Great freshness on the palate, lovely sharp and vigorous mousse, with a very good depth of flavour, and a herby and lemony character. Very well defined, nicely developed since last year, and really fine potential. Good style. 17.5+ points
White - Sparkling

NV Binet Champagne Cuvée Sélection

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A very mealy and characterful nose to this Champagne, with rich, honey-toffee and caramel-apple aromas. Attractive, rounded style on the palate, middleweight, but fresh despite the richness. Less impact and complexity than I expected from the nose. Surprisingly soft acidity too, and a rather short finish. Good points here though. 15.5 points
White - Sparkling

1997 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année

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, Chris Kissack
March 2008
The 1997 does not quite have the quality of the 1999, but it remains worthwhile; on tasting today it demonstrates a pale straw hue, although it is just starting to take on a very slight tinge of onion skin, but it is certainly not mature. There is a plentiful, small to moderate sized bead. There is not as much development as I might have expected - I last tasted this only a few months ago - although the nose has attractive aromas of caramel and citrus fruits. An appealing palate, with plenty of youthful, sharply foaming mousse. A touch of coffee too, but the caramel is the most obvious flavour, a character which has been with this wine on every tasting so far. Plenty of acidity and structure here, a touch lean and metallic in character on this tasting although I haven't really noticed this before. A good rather than great Champagne, with a short sharp finish, this needs some time in the cellar to soften. 16+ points
White - Sparkling

1999 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Last year this seemed very closed and I scored quite conservatively. This year it has more perfume, with aromas of flower petals, rose water, and a trace of toffee-caramel richness. A lovely palate, surprisingly light and elegant in view of that evolving maturity on the nose. Still a little plump at present, youthful, although with a soft and clean character at the finish. Overall and excellent style with fine potential. A much more positive opinion from me this time. (17.5-18+) points
White - Sparkling

NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvée Brut

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Current release. An appealing nose, woody-oily character, finely polished with notes of dried fruits. Full but with a bright mousse on the palate, and a fine acidic backbone. This is very nicely composed, with a firm, structured finish. Typically Bollinger, yet perhaps a touch more accessible than I would usually expect. Very good. 16.5+ points
Red

1998 Bosquet des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Chantemerle

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Of all the bottles in my cellar from this vintage, this is the one that has perplexed me most. Some previous bottles have been very brawny and volatile, sufficiently so for me to find them undrinkable. Others have been passable if not good. How would this bottle fare? In the glass it has a good deep colour, a mature hue but nevertheless this wine is still holding onto a lot of red pigment too. The nose is reassuring, showing lots of deep, spicy, meaty fruits although with a deep, raisined character. There is certainly a resemblance, on this basis, with the basic cuvée, and I think now, having tasted both together, I understand why I have struggled with this wine. There are some other complexities which demand further analysis, notes of intense, salty Bovril and balsamic vinegar, although the palate actually seems more harmonious than previous bottles. There is, surprisingly, quite firm acidity which helps, but with this there is a meaty texture, a sweet yet firm structure, and it is grippy and rich in extract and weight. It finishes well. I think my problem with this unusual wine is its edge of raisined, cough syrup fruit, which is a result of the hot vintage. I find it troubling, and it matches nuances, such as soy sauce, a medicinal character and especially the kick of alcohol that I have previously noted in the wine. I do not like it so much. Will it just fall apart? I am unsure; it will be fascinating to taste again in the future. 14.5? points
Red

1998 Bosquet des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A mature hue, certainly not as dense as that of the Chante le Merle, this estate's top cuvée, which follows. An unusual nose, showing a curious mixture of calcareous rock and seashells along with a quite brawny, furry meat. Notes of mushrooms and also a raisined element which is not entirely pleasing. The palate is initially quite direct, but then quickly shows a lot of texture, a spicy, peppery tannic structure and a dry finish which, although infused with tannin and tangible dry extract, seem strangely unfocused, losing its way on the finish. Nevertheless, although a brawny style, there is some nice definition through the midpalate, and some good leathery fruit over the grip and muscle. But on the whole it is a big bruiser of a wine, with a little over-obvious alcohol, even though the label declares only 13.5%. But it has some interesting flavours, alongside a touch of heat on the finish. I find some good points here, but don't think the style is really for me. 14 points
Red

2006 Boutinot Chat-en-Oeuf

Ventoux Red Rhone Blend more

Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Under screwcap. Grenache 70%, Syrah 30%. Oak for 12 months. A very typical set of Grenache aromas, herby and cherry fruit, with a simple sweetness. This holds some promise on the nose. Attractive, fresh fruit, a little denser than on the nose, soft but with decent acidity. Good. 15.5 points
White

2007 Boutinot Chat-en-Oeuf Blanc

Vin de Pays d'Oc White Rhone Blend more

Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Under screwcap. Unoaked Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. A fresh and aromatic nose, gentle grassy and clean. A nicely reserved palate, with a charming composition, and balanced acidity behind it. A nice peppery edge. Not huge in terms of concentration, but certainly good. 15 points
Rosť

2007 Boutinot Chat-en-Oeuf Rosé

Ventoux Red Rhone Blend more

Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Under screwcap. Unoaked Cinsaut 50%, Grenache 30%, Syrah 20%. An appealing, fairly pale hue, and a nose of leafy raspberries and redcurrants. Cool, nicely defined, moderate acidity, although there is a rather soft midpalate and finish. Cleanly styled though. 14.5+ points
White - Sparkling

NV Brice Champagne Tradition Brut

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
A very lightly style wine here, rather chalky, with a mineral, lemon and sherbet character to the nose. Lean in flavour, but with a nicely rounded texture, slightly fat in fact. Decent acidity underneath though, and quite a chalky style throughout. Nice mousse. No finesse here though. 13.5 points
White

2008 Les Cailloux du Paradis (Claude Courtois) Quartz

Vin de Pays du Loir-et-Cher Sauvignon Blanc more

Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
The fruit for the Quartz cuvée is fermented in oak barrels, and sees an élevage of at least 12 months in same. I have read that there is a tendency towards an oxidative or plain oxidised edge to the wines, although I certainly didn't find this too notable in this bottle. Sure, there was a certain sourness to the fruit, and a little bruised apple character clearly indicating a little oxidation here, but I didn't find this distracted from the overall effect. Once out of the bottle this wine really takes an hour or so to open up, and I found it benefited hugely from decanting, not only to coax some of the interesting aromas out of the wine, but also to deal with a light-brown sediment that I assume are stained potassium tartrate crystals. The nose on the 2008 vintage (it is a Vin de France, so only the lot number - Lt 08-4 - gives us the vintage) is never really that exuberant, but it does move from a somewhat ungiving stance at first to one that expresses - after some time in the decanter - notes of wild fruits, slightly musky yellow plum and there is an undeniable vein of bruised apple behind, a feature I generally find unattractive but it is so subtle here that you really only spot it if you go looking for it. Where the wine holds appeal for me though is on the palate, which has a deliciously savoury character, all mouth-watering with a slightly sour edge to the fruit, good substance and bright acidity. This carries alongside the same musky-sour fruit found on the nose a certain quartzy-minerality which I find gently reminiscent of Quarts de Chaume (some auto-suggestion, perhaps?), vibrant and minerally, a character that persists on the finish. Overall the palate proves very moreish and satisfying, and the end result is distinctive, definitely not dull or varietal, and certainly worth the effort in pulling the cork. 15 points
White - Sparkling

NV Canard-Duchene Champagne Brut

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Winedoctor

, Chris Kissack
March 2008
Sherbet lemons on the nose, a little note of weediness too. And on the palate, a very firm structure, forceful acidity and a sharp mousse. Some softness in the midpalate though, and a gentle, minerally finish. It is very firm and upright; a little more depth and character would be appreciated. 13.5 points
  • Reviews: 166 /
  • Wines: 161

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