1995 Vintage Champagne horizontal

Medlar (London)

Tasted September 12, 2019 by BenBlu with 48 views

Introduction

Eagerly awaited 3rd edition of the London Champagne Super Group - this time the "task" was to examine the 1995 vintage. The first editions were on 2008 and 2002 and both times the quality was high. So how would 1995 stack up? Wines were served in flights of 3 blind (with exception of aperitif champagnes and digestif champagne)

Flight 1 - Aperitif (3 notes)

3 champagnes non-blind to kick things off.

White - Sparkling
1995 Ruinart Champagne Brut Millésimé France, Champagne
95 points
To kick-off our 1995 vertical this was one of the non-blind aperitifs. We had two bottles and both were consistent. And consistently great they were! My surprise of the night this was punching WAY above my expectations. In fact it most certainly was better (at this stage) then the Dom Ruinart we had a few weeks back at the 2002 vertical. In 1995 there was no Dom Ruinart produced btw. Surely nowadays given how houses launch prestige cuvees wherever possible no matter the vintage hard to imagine. Well this baby didn't make me long for a Dom. It was the real deal. Golden hue in the glass, straight from pour lovely glass open and seductive with balance, clarity and fruit and a honeyed note to finish. Also it didn't fall apart even with half an hour in the glass. Wow what a find! Thanks for bringing these two bonus bottles (among many others) Stephen.
White - Sparkling
1995 Pol Roger Champagne Vintage Brut France, Champagne
flawed
Served non-blind as aperitif. Not a perfect bottle but drinkable. Next to the Ruinart 95 an anticlimax clearly. Cloudy and developed in colour, bit grainy finish and hollow.
White - Sparkling
1995 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Vintage France, Champagne
flawed
One of the few glasses that went pretty fully in the spittoon. This served non-blind as one of the aperitifs to kick things off was not a great example. Bitter on the nose, quite unpleasant. Oxidised within a few minutes in the glass.

Flight 2 - Blind flight #1/6 (3 notes)

White - Sparkling
1995 Deutz Champagne Cuvée William Deutz France, Champagne
95 points
Quite pale in the glass based on colour I thought could only be a BdB. Mineral, zesty, very alive and has long to go this was strong performance for tied WOTF with Goisses.
White - Sparkling
1995 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Belle Epoque France, Champagne
flawed
Corked. Good after-service from Hedonism to accept it back and refund.
White - Sparkling
1995 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses France, Champagne
95 points
Late disgorged 2012. Initially too cold and showed very lean, low dosage, guess pinot dominated, razor sharp. Then with air and temperature getting very good, opening up revealing toffee notes. WOTF with William Deutz. One bottle where one would like to have wanted to spend some more time with and able to follow its evolution a bit more. Still on the way up. Well done.

Flight 3 - Blind flight #2/6 (3 notes)

White - Sparkling
1995 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne France, Champagne
96 points
Great nose immediately lot of guesses for Comtes which proved correct. Very creamy and long. Comtes does it again and delivers. This will have decades to go. Stunning. 96 today with upside potential for 1-2 points.
White - Sparkling
1995 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut France, Champagne
93 points
Visually quite dark in the glass which made me think more of pinot blend. I could have guessed Pol Roger SWCH... Quite brute. Was very surprised to see this revealed as Salon and nobody guessed that correct. Again a slightly disappointing performance from Salon although better then the 02 at last month's vertical. Hmmm...
White - Sparkling
1995 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart France, Champagne
95 points
My initial note when the glass was poured and I stuck my nose in was "Wow nose! Insane! Voici le roi?". On the palate salty and sweet, mineral and apple. Loved this based on the first impression had this down as potential WOTN and a lofty score of 97-98 came to mind. It did however quickly decline and got less interesting but still pleasurable to settle somewhere in the low-mid 90s so hence the 95 score.

I hadn't tasted this for around 15 years but I remember loving it on release and drinking my way through a 6 pack within a year's time. Drink up! If you have a bottle recommend to pull the cork and share it hastily with 20 people for a half glass it might be the perfect glass.

Flight 4 - Blind flight #3/6 (3 notes)

White - Sparkling
1995 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut France, Champagne
96 points
One of the WOTN and had many votes in blind as Krug. This one served from standard bottle was a bit more developed and to me on the night more enjoyable than the magnum version that was served later on. Again a Krug all-rounder performence with restrained richness.
White - Sparkling
1995 Bollinger Champagne R.D. Extra Brut France, Champagne
93 points
Started off very strong (95?) side by side a great Krug. Golden in the glass, pronounced but nice oak, some oxidative notes. It did however fall off with few minutes in the glass. So hence the lower score.
White - Sparkling
1995 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon France, Champagne
92 points
My only word in my notes on this was "odd". Somehow the nose and palate didn't work together. I still enjoyed it but it wasn't a clean bottle. Others agreed. 91-92? It's Dom so 92 it is. But surely there must be better bottles.

Flight 5 - Blind flight #4/6 (3 notes)

Rosé - Sparkling
1995 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut Rosé La Grande Dame France, Champagne
92 points
Unfortunately for this wine it was served in the flight with the WOTN (Cristal Rose). Seems to be it's faith as during another occasion we had the 2008 versions (normal and magnum) come up against the Cristal rose and the result was the same. Grand Dame rose is remarkably unremarkable. Nothing wrong with this but next to the Cristal rose... just pale.
Rosé - Sparkling
1995 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut Rosé France, Champagne
98 points
Most certainly and definitely the WOTN for me and probably everyone else at the table. Immediately recognised by the group as Cristal rose (wasn't that tough as only 2 roses in the mix) but also its greatness became apparent imminently. Vinous with a strawberry Midas touch! Genuis! I think the 2008 might become even better though. Drink now. Not sure it will get better.
White - Sparkling
1995 de Venoge Champagne Brut Louis XV France, Champagne
90 points
Unfortunately for this it was served in the flight and after the Cristal rose. It made just for distinctly average champagne next to that near perfect Cristal. However it was quite fresh and had energy.

Flight 6 - Blind flight #5/6 (3 notes)

White - Sparkling
1995 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2 France, Champagne
92 points
Astringent, slowly opens up a bit. But blind actually quite non-descript. Not so sure on those late release Doms to be honest. Blind I guessed Grande Dame to stay with the theme of that cuvee being distinctly average typically. It turned out to be the P2 what a surprise and the Grand Dame which was served blind in same flight next to it was better in fact (vindication). The original release tends to be better (the bottle tonight served earlier wasn't clean so that makes the comparison tough) and is cheaper.
White - Sparkling
1995 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut La Grande Dame France, Champagne
94 points
Some vindication here for this cuvee after several others (especially roses) hadn't received too much admiration in recent blind tastings by the group. Nobody guessed this as Grande Dame. Dosage was a bit on the higher side compared to other wines. I felt it could have been the CSWCH and was pleasantly surprised when it was revealed. It actually bested a mediocre P2 served side by side.
White - Sparkling
1995 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut France, Champagne
94 points
Not a perfect bottle and visually quite brown. Still hinting at its potential for perfectly kept bottles. Nutty, golden full bodied with a touch of oak. However not quite repeating the strong performance on the white category from 02 and 08 where it both times won the top spot. One might only wonder what a perfect bottle could have done. However the Cristal rose came to the rescue to defend the Roederer integrity.

Flight 7 - Blind flight #6/6 (4 notes)

White - Sparkling
1995 Charles Heidsieck Champagne Blanc des Millénaires France, Champagne
96 points
New bottle design and Jan-14 disgorgement. These vary quite a bit depending on the disgorgement date. Seems like Jan-14 is a good one which I am pleased about as this was first bottle of a case. The nose was Charles Heidsieck and picked out by quite a few people. Probably on a par with the Comtes and both are great BdB and have a long life ahead and are still on the way up.
6 people found this helpful Comments (2)
White - Sparkling
1995 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill France, Champagne
95 points
Admirable balance, butter notes, vanilla, mineral, wow! Very good bottle.
White - Sparkling
1995 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Les Clos Saint-Hilaire France, Champagne
95 points
Starts out quite shy after a wonderful generous CSWCH. It is racy, a bit oxidative. But works and is one of those very interesting champagnes that you probably need more time and volume to assess. Also this concluded a wonderful line-up of blind champagnes.
White - Sparkling
1995 Henriot Champagne Cuvée des Enchanteleurs Brut France, Champagne
91 points
One of the last wines of the evening and got lost a bit for me. Definitely good champagne but just not remarkable in light of all the other super stars. No detailed notes.

Flight 8 - "Digestif" - well another champagne ;-) (1 note)

White - Sparkling
1995 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut France, Champagne
95 points
From magnum served non-blind after the blind line-up a nice way to see the night out and thanks for the generosity Stephen! I had a slight preference for this out of standard bottle today (rated 96) as it had a bit more maturity on it seemingly due to the smaller format. The magnum is still fresher and doesn't at this point quite offer the depth it will most certainly gain. So 95 today and possibly 97 potential in 10 years+?

Closing

Firstly big thanks for Medlar for hosting us so well. Exceptionally efficient service making for a great streamlined evening with the option to assess those beautiful wines in a relaxed atmosphere and with fellow champagne lovers. 1995 is a generous vintage and it is a great one. Most people felt it is above 2002 in consistency. I personally think that might be true however with almost 25 years gone by there is now some bottle variation showing for wines that may not have been perfectly stored. And sourcing 1995s is already difficult at times. Overall I think 1995 is a truly great vintage and is certainly a bit underrated as it belongs in the pantheon of vintages like 1996 (for me it is better than 1996 I think as many 1996s are quite tight and never blossomed) & 2002 although it might not always be placed in that ballpark by everyone. People who have well stored bottle should be popping corks and generally should be in for a treat. WOTN (again) was Cristal Rose, and this was unanimous. Other stand-outs were Comtes de Champagne, Krug (better today in normal vs magnum) and Charles Heidsieck BdM. Others also liked the Philipponat Clos Goisses and Billecart Clos St Hilaire very much (as did I but for me they were just below the other top bottles).

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