The nose is incredibly rich, showing pear, ginger, roasted nuts, raw dough, dusty dried floral tones and the slightest hint of lime. On the palate, it displayed silky-soft textures with giving way to stone fruit and minerals up front, then to hints of citrus and a revitalizing note of acidity. Minerals resonated on the finish, along with hints of apple and pear. It truly makes its presence known.
In the glass, clear and deep gold with very fine bubbles. On the nose, dominated by crushed apples, with a very faint note of strawberry. On the palate, relatively primary, with apples and a full-bodied yeasty palate, but not yielding much else over the course of a couple of hours. A refined and elegant texture makes me think the best days for this are still years away.
This is good champagne but not great champagne. It's pale and lively with a distinctive pleasant light hazelnut pinot aroma. On the palate, it is medium bodied with notes of bread and nuts. Not very complex. Is this Clos really distinctive enough to justify a special bottling?
Very fresh toasty nose with peach and citrus fruit. Palate is lush and quite big which reminds you it is a pinot noir champ, yet the acidity reminds you that it is from 96 which balances out the big body. Still an infant, a glorious child, will be wonderful with much more cellar age. Greatness in the making.
Sloppy Seconds Mondo Tasting (Bin 75): Golden yellow, larger bubbles, lingering mousse; nutty, red apple, green fruit, tart,; rich and luxurious, good acid, some aged notes, almond, long finish, chalk and yeast on the finish; phenomenal but it never evolved with extended airtime; a brick house of a champagne.
Long time since I had these bubbles and from being sharp and closed it now was almost fully developed. Hard to say if it is a phase. There are many 96´s going this direction right now. There are some being extremely sharp and complex but a lot are falling apart. Is it just a phase? Time will tell.
Very delicate, tender and subtly complex nose. Just about ripe apples, lightly yeasty, notes of flowers, apricots and some aniseed. Harmonius taste. Round, quite full body. Very pure and elegant. Good grip. Ripe apple and yeast, but not a blockbuster. Still shy. Tasted in a 1996 prestige tasting, this came out as too shy and subtle to make any lasting impressions. I lacked the secondary aromas - maybe you'll have to wait 25-30 years for them?
not sure how to judge this bottle. totally hyper active bubbles with massive fresh ripe berry fruits in your face. there is nothing shy about this wine. after 6 hours it had not settled down. if you like this style it is amazing. for me, i prefer a more well rounded and balanced champagne. as for the price it is kind of silly
While not quite as spectacular as before, this is still outstanding. The aroma of dark fruit, raisin and fig is immediately forthcoming. Not quite as full in the palate, though. Could it be losing fruit as Brad Baker suggests? This wine needs close monitoring but for now, it's still wonderful.
As fresh as the day it was bottled. Lots of body and acidity. Alot of power and structure. If the Salon is the girl you take to the royal ballet, the St Hilaire is the one you take to the after party. You wont be disappointed.
Nothing like last week's bottle. Brought to Acker auction at Cru - just sour and bitter, devoid of any fruit. Unfortunately just like the bottle I brought with me to LA in November. Sounds like 'sdr' had the same issue.
This was just on fire, over the top tonight. Sushi night - great nose of brioche, oyster, mushroom, flint, strawberry and touch of oxidation. Palate had fresh strawberries, bit of caramel, sour cherry finish. The acidity was long, but not harsh - amazing. It is such a great drinker now that I am afraid to age them. How much better can it get.
Dinner with Bipin, Francois, Gary and Tom at Chinois in Santa Monica - everyone brought a great bottle, except me - mine was oxidized. Gary's 86 Krug Mesnil was great but I felt Tom's '82 DP bested them all.
Drank at Restaurant Laurent in Paris - Just like the last bottle, creamy, brioche, oysters, white fruits, great mouthfeel and acidity. It was also a great deal on the list, less than 2x US auction and cheaper than the Krug Grand Cuvee on their list. Perfect match with an all seafood meal.
Another great bottle of this Champagne. Brioche and caramel on nose with a touch of ocean breeze. Palate has the perfect amount of acidity, not overdone like a lot of '96's. The front palate has lemon and white peach, some oyster in the mid-palate, and finishes with a mild caramel. The texture of this wine is very creamy, but not cloying. Such a great drinking experience. Drank with clams and scallops and matched perfectly.
The Big "Four-O": 40+ Wines for 40 Years: Similar, but not as good as the last time. Drank after the Krug Clos du Mesnil, so that may have had something to do with it. Yeast and caramel on the nose with white peaches, lemon and minerals on the palate. Good acidity, but very smooth.
Sushi night - that means Champagne. This follows on the heels of the '96 Salon last week. While the Salon (Blanc de Blancs) was all about green apples, the Billecart (Blanc de Noirs) was much more complex and open. The nose had just the right amount of yeast with a touch of caramel. The palate starts with walnuts then evolves to white peaches and finishes with lemon and minerals. The acidity is high, but no tartness at all. Lots of wonderful bubbles, but not even a touch of bubble burn.
This is the kind of wine that stops conversation and inspires awe. After hearing mixed reviews and seeing Juhlins' puzzling 85/94 rating I was extremely curious to try this soon-to-be-cult champagne. As splendid as Billecart-Salmon is throughout their range, especially the magnificent 1996 Grande Cuvee, this is better yet. The color is slightly dark with a brown hue. The pinpoint bubbles are infinite and there's quite a foam, but no sense of gassiness in the mouth. It's the aroma that is immediately and intensely captivating: brown butter, walnut, toffee, mochacchino, caramel; classic pinot noir (this is 100% PN). And once in the mouth, it's hard to swallow, the gustatory pleasure is so great. The flavor is as rich and dark as the nose suggests and the finish is long and beautiful. It's young of course, but much more open than many other '96s. There's plenty of bright acidity but the sheer weight of the fruit covers it, even in this youthful phase. An undeniable masterpiece.
Definitely a bling Champagne in every sense, this tastes palpably glitzy with its shimmering golden fruit whose gloss gives it a real sense of sweetness, even though it's apparently non-dosage. I wouldn't have guessed it was pure blanc de noirs either - it doesn't seem that bassy.
Aggressive wild nose with floral notes, exotic spices, sea breeze and complexity. Expands on the palate with pretty balanced acidity, though a little bit aggressive. Some fruit and some slightly stoney nature too, but really still wild and exotic flavors. The wide ranging flavors keep it from becoming too strict. Solid finish. This is a unique flavor profile in this Champagne and very fresh. A fun wine to drink. Very good. Wild.