Have we ever met a
Champagne we didn't like? Not recently. In terms of the
overall quality of the field, the panel was thrilled. Any
one of these wines would be a pleasure to drink again and
it was quite a challenge to choose among them. While the
possible point spread for 10 wines by a unanimous
nine-member panel would be from 9 to 90 and average
results from 20 to 75, these wines fell within a spread
of 37 to 63. Host Tim Pashayan provided food
accompaniment in a wide palette of flavors from
traditional Armenian appetizers that included Basturma,
Baba Ghanoush, Keyma, Sojuk, peppers, assorted cheeses
and pita. The bubblies handled all, from delicate to
spicy, with great aplomb.
click photo to see
Wines are Judged Equal
within Recommendation Category and Listed Alphabetically
indicates a second or
third party web page
Varietal or "Name"
color, very tiny bubbles, not very active;
yeasty, apply and caramel aromas; appealing,
very delicate green apple flavors; good body, rich,
creamy mouthfeel; very good balance,
crisp, slightly tart; lingers
well. Blend of 75% Chardonnay,25% Pinot Noir.
Very nice, elegant wine in a good-looking package.
color, very active, very small bubbles are
persistent; complex, floral, perfumey, apple cider
and caramel aromas with hints of malt,
yeast and autolysis; big, rich,
complex, fruity, apple cider flavors;
pleasant mouthfeel, not very expansive; balance is
crisp, slightly tart; slightly sour
finish lingers somewhat. Blend of 38% Pinot
Noir, 32% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay. Very
complex and flavorful. ($32).
Laurent-Perrier (nv) Brut
color, tiny and very active bubbles;
fruity, citrus, biscuit dough and
woody-toasty aromas; clean, delicate,
almond flavors; very light, soft mousse,
creamy; good balance; lingering finish.
Blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 15%
Pinot Meunier. This wine has balance, texture and a
lovely style. ($30) WEBSITE
color, small, barely active bubbles; vinous,
slightly yeasty aromas with a hint of
cardboard; deep, light fruity, lemony
flavors; rich, creamy, expansive mousse; crisp,
tart balance; long, Granny Smith apple
finish is slightly astringent (sour?). Blend of 60%
Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier.
Very slightly aggressive compared to this group of
wines. ($28) WEBSITE
Selosse (nv) "Origine"
Blanc de Blanc Brut
color, tiny bubbles, very little activity;
ripe fruit, caramel and slightly
yeasty aromas with slight autolysis;
very nice entry flavors; creamy,
slightly expansive mousse; balance is slightly
tart; finishes long, but a little flat.
Composed entirely of Chardonnay. Very nice wine
with quite modern packaging. ($50)
color, very small bubbles, very active; very
delicate, attractive, complex, floral,
yeasty, biscuit dough aromas with
slight autolysis; attractive sweet almond, older
flavors, somewhat creamy; expansive mousse;
good balance, slightly tart; lingers well. Blend of
70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. This wine,
although dry, seemed sweetest of the lot. ($30)
very small bubbles, very active,
persistent; clean, floral aromas with
hints of yeast, toast, autolysis (petroleum?
mustiness?); pleasant, very fruity flavors;
somewhat creamy, slightly expansive mousse, a
little coarse; crisp, good balance;
medium long finish. Blend is "dominated by
white grapes." A couple of comments about odd
elements here, but consensus said another enjoyable
wine. ($24) WEBSITE
color, tiny bubbles, barely active; floral,
citrus, light yeast and sweet apple pie
aromas; very light, delicate, clean
flavors; slightly creamy, expansive;
balanced; finish lingers somewhat, a little flat.
Blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier (percentages not
disclosed) and approximately one-third Chardonnay.
The house of Pommery has revved up its marketing
program recently, leading with this delicate entry.
Taittinger (nv) Brut
tiny bubbles, not active; complex,
toasty, cidery, maple nut, caramel and
yeasty, biscuit dough aromas with a hint of
autolysis; bread, citrus and oaky, toasty
(burnt?) older, mature flavors; full
body, not much mousse; tart balance; long finish.
Blend of 60% Pinot (Noir? Meunier?) and 40%
Chardonnay. The slightly burnt flavor bothered some
tasters and lowered this quite different and
controversial wine in the rankings. ($35)
Clicquot-Ponsardin (nv) Brut
color, very small, active bubbles;
very light apple, fruity aromas with a hint
of caramel and autolysis; very delicate (flabby?)
flavors; light body, mouth-filling, creamy,
very expansive mousse; crisp balance;
finishes slightly tart with very persistent
tingle and zing. The blend is "dominated" by
Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay and "a touch of" Pinot
Meunier. This wine, a perennial group favorite, in
this case concentrates its appeal in its wonderful
texture. We want it all: where's the yeast? ($30)