My last post was about an alternative to champagne, so today will be for those of you who believe “there is no substitute”. Here are the champagnes that impressed me this year, ranging from $30 on up:
- For those who want something a bit rich, my favorite at this price range is consistently Henriot Brut Souverain – really pleasing for the price.
- For those who like their champagne a bit crisper and tarter, Ruinart blanc de blancs has zippy green apple hints, citrusy acidity and floral aromas, and possesses a nice overall liveliness.
- 2002 Gaston Chiquet Special Club is my choice in this range – a bit oxidative on the nose; on the palate, just plain delicious – perfect balance for me when it comes to champagne. Some honey/brioche, but also still fresh. Love this.
…and a champagne that is flat-out amazing
One champagne that rocked my world this year can be yours for $100-120, from the excellent grower champagne house Vilmart. If you’re serving this for New Year’s, I’ll be right over!
- 2001 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Coeur de Cuvée- France, Champagne (12/10/2011) Right off the bat, an absolutely captivating nose. A touch of honey, with a smoky mineral note – there’s something indescribably delicious about this nose. Very interesting palate – some honeyed flavors hit you on the palate up front, then an expansive acidity hits you – tongue-coating, vibrant and full. A winey, sappy quality here makes me think of my favorite red burgundies even, which is accentuated by a floral quality that becomes more apparent on the nose with some time. Not perfect – the feeling of separate stages from honeyed richness to tingly acidity is very distinct and may be jarring to drinkers looking for something seamless. But for me, this is captivating, complex – one of the most interesting champagnes I’ve ever had, and one of the best. 96-97 (96 points)
Cheers, Happy New Year’s Eve and all the best for 2012! -Alan