Premium champagne - two houses, two vintages (Gothenburg): Beautiful nose of mature yellow fruit, mint, whipped cream, some nuts, mushrooms and a wee bit of smoke. Very complex and layered with obvious signs of development but at the same time still very fresh. Good mousse with tiny bubbles. Feels a bit younger on the palate with good acidity and simply amazing fruit: wave after wave of rich, juicy pear, peach, mango, lychee, apple, sweet grape, lemon - the list goes on. Perfectly balanced, an archetype of great champagne. The finish goes on forever, or so it seems. This is as close to perfection I've been in champagne. Stood head and almost shoulders above the rest of the flight which consisted of SWC 2002 and Bollinger RD 1996 + 2002.
St Emillion First Growths (Chez Bruce, London): Mid straw. Reasonably full on the nose. Just starting to round out and show a touch of honeyed oxidative character. A punch of ginger too. Nicely rich. Gets spicier with air. Lots on the attack and mid palate, maybe falls away a bit on the finish. Picky though. Very good. ****1/2
Opened by Mark. 100% Grand Cru grapes. This bottle showed much better than when I last had this in 2009. The most complex and interesting of the tete du cuvees that we drank. Solid yellow color. Fine bead. This had so much going on it was difficult to describe at first. Notes of smoke, cola, dark fruits, cinnamon and iron. Long finish that just flowed. A stunner from a wonderful vintage. This will have a long life. 96 points.
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(Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill (mag)) The Pol Roger was the clear winner of this flight; there was great bread here – doe, crust and the French open altogether. It was classic, rich and had great linearity with its white fruits and minerals. Richard found it ‘bright and big, chocolaty and complex, with every fruit there – apple, citrus, licorice, butterscotch, all in a cocoon of flavor. Sleeping beauty.’ I’ll take what he’s having lol.
(Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill) Light golden yellow color; nice yeasty, breakfast croissant and light peach nose; tasty, focused, elegant, tart peach, bright citrus, quince and mineral palate; long finish 96+ pts.
(Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill) The crew was already there drinking 1996 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill. I took a quick glass of this clean and fresh bubbly. It was full of yellow sunshine aromas. Its palate was long and balanced, elegant and smooth. It was more refined than I remembered, but this had been in the glass a bit before I got there.
(Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill) We started appropriately with an ambassador of sorts, the 1996 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill. It’s an ambassador not only due to the man after whom it was named, but also because it remains a great value (arguably greatest) for one of the Top Ten luxury cuvees made in Champagne. In fact, at a December dinner at Chateau Lafite, I was reminded how good even the regular non-vintage Pol Roger is when it was served before dinner. That, too, remains one of the great buys in bubbly, still less than $30 a bottle. The 1996 was a great way to start off the evening, delivering an outstanding experience from the word go. Its nose had picture perfect balance between its sweetness, fruit and structural components. Big Boy called it, ‘Krug-like with its green apples.’ Golden aromas showered over its minerally, slaty, racy and wound personality. BB kept harping on its ‘slaty’ qualities, also appreciating its ‘mid-palate depth.’ It did have that, flashing its fruit in the mouth like an Ali jab. There was great toast to this complex bubbly, but BB felt it was ‘missing the pitch and citricity of 6-star,’ though I countered that it was still a bit young for 6-star status, and that many wines need to blossom into that category. However, a couple of other bubblies would soon remind us that 6-star status is something that can come across even at a young age
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