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Top Scoring Champagne Releases

The latest reviews in Robert Parker’s Wine Spectator have seen William Kelley taste and score some truly phenomenal Champagnes. We’re delighted to be able to highlight some of the very top scorers within our range with a fantastic case offer. Both our agency grower champagnes, Larmandier Bernier & Laherte Freres, performed exceptionally well.

2008 Taittinger Brut Blanc de Blancs
Comtes de Champagne

98pts

Tasting note

Taittinger’s 2008 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne is being released this year, and it will be worth a special effort to track down. I wrote in August 2019 that this is the finest Comtes de Champagne since the brilliant 2002, and this tasting confirmed that. Offering up a deep and complex bouquet of citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, warm brioche, crushed chalk, blanched almonds and smoke, it’s full-bodied and incisive, with excellent concentration, racy acids and a long, searingly chalky finish. While this is already immensely impressive out of the gates, this 2008 is clearly built for the long haul, and three decades’ longevity won’t be a challenge.
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Case 6 *75cl – £900 inc Duty & VAT

2006 Taittinger Brut Blanc de Blancs
Comtes de Champagne

96pts

Tasting note

Tasted almost two years after disgorgement, the 2006 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs shows a beautiful golden-citrus color and opens with a fascinating intense, floral, slightly reductive nose that develops enormously in the glass, offering lemon and lemon confit aromas along with flinty notes of crushed chalk and the iodine flavors of the Atlantic Ocean. This is an utterly complex and promising bouquet! The palate is terribly fresh but also rich, lush and intense, with the purity of the finest wines of the Côte de Blancs, the concentration of perfectly ripe Chardonnay and the suppleness of 2006. This has impeccable balance paired with high tension. The wine is very tight and still seems to be on its way right now. Although there is a first hint of aromatic ripeness, this should be a great Comtes de Champagne in a couple of years. The finish is tensioned, concentrated and mineral but keeps its talents in an almost bursting bubble.

Case 6 *75cl – £670 inc Duty & VAT

2011 Larmandier-Bernier Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant

97pts

Tasting note

I’m increasingly convinced that Pierre Larmandier produced Champagne’s wines of the vintage this year, and the 2011 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant only compounds that suspicion. Unfurling in the glass with a deep and complex nose of citrus zest, crisp yellow apples, smoke, warm bread, mandarin oil and oyster shell, it’s full-bodied and fleshy but incisive, with huge concentration, bright acids and a long, intensely saline finish. Totally transcending the reputation of 2011, it has many of the textural properties of a great white Burgundy, married with the cut and chalky grip of Champagne’s Côte de Blancs.

Case 6 *75cl – £430 inc Duty & VAT

2010 Larmandier-Bernier Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant

96pts

Tasting note

Disgorged in June 2018, the 2010 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant offers up a bright and detailed bouquet of citrus oil, flowers, white peach, warm bread and a delicate top note of walnut oil that’s less pronounced than its delicately oxidative 2009 counterpart. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, broad and satiny, with considerable concentration and old-vine extract, concluding with a long and saline finish.
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Case 6 *75cl – £445 inc Duty & VAT

2013 Larmandier-Bernier Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Les Chemins d’Avize

96pts

Tasting note

Disgorged in October 2019, Larmandier-Bernier’s 2013 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Les Chemins d’Avize is showing brilliantly, unfurling in the glass with a lovely nose of citrus oil, fresh apricot, peach and pear, complemented by hints of fresh walnuts and almond paste. Full-bodied, deep and vinous, it’s layered and elegantly muscular, with a concentrated core of ripe fruit, racy acids and a long, mineral finish. Pierre Larmandier invariably excels in cool, late growing seasons, so the 2013 vintage was perfectly adapted to his talents.
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Case 6 *75cl – £510 inc Duty & VAT

2015 Laherte Frères Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères

95pts

Tasting note

Disgorged in February 2019 with four grams per liter dosage, the 2015 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères represents the debut of a new cuvée from Laherte. Deriving from two chalky plots located in the village of Chavot-Choucourt in the Côteaux Sud d’Éprnay, it’s showing beautifully, wafting from the glass with inviting aromas of citrus oil, crushed oyster shell, dried white flowers and crisp green apple. Full-bodied, pillowy and incisive, with a layered and concentrated core, racy acids and a delicate pinpoint mousse, it concludes with a finish of intensely sapid, indeed almost mordant chalkiness—which lends the wine dynamism rare in this ripe vintage.

Case 6 *75cl – £300 inc Duty & VAT

2013 Larmandier-Bernier Extra-Brut
Rosé de Maturation

94pts

Tasting note

A new cuvée for Larmandier-Bernier makes its debut with the 2013 Extra-Brut Rosé de Maturation. Like the house’s Rosé de Saignée, long one of my favorite rosé Champagnes, this derives from old-vine Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in Vertus, and it’s also produced by the saignée method, seeing three days’ maceration; but unlike that wine, which is raised in tank and concrete eggs, this cuvée sees 40% maturation in wood with the balance in concrete eggs, and it sees longer sur lattes aging, too—fully six years before this first release was disgorged, with three grams dosage. The boisterous expression of fruit and flowers that defines the Rosé de Saignée is here transformed into something more subtle but just as lively, mingling nuances of red berries, dried orange peel, potpourri and ginger. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with a delicate mousse and mouthwateringly sapid qualities that suggest thrilling gastronomic potential. This is a lovely addition to the portfolio, and I look forward to getting to know it better over the coming years.

Case 6 *75cl – £450 inc Duty & VAT

NV Laherte Frères
Extra-Brut Les 7

93pts

Tasting note

Disgorged in February 2018 without dosage, the NV Extra-Brut Les 7 is based on the 2015 vintage, supplemented by 40% reserve wines from a solera established in 2005. The wine is showing superbly today, unwinding in the glass with aromas of citrus rind, Anjou pear, paraffin wax, pastry cream, peach and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, racy and incisive, with an elegantly fleshy core of fruit that’s complemented by a pillowy mousse, it’s bright and precise while avoiding any austerity. The blend consists of 10% Fromenteau, 8% Arbanne, 14% Pinot Noir, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Blanc, 18% Pinot Meunier and 15% Petit Meslier, planted in 2003 as a field blend.
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Case 6 *75cl – £420 inc Duty & VAT

NV Bollinger Brut
Blanc de Noirs PN VZ15

93pts

Tasting note

Disgorged in November 2019 with seven grams per liter dosage, Bollinger’s new NV Brut Blanc de Noirs PN VZ15 is based on the 2015 vintage, with reserve wines dating back to 2009, and derives largely from the village of Verzenay. Offering up aromas of green pear, honeycomb, rye toast, candied peel and buttery pastry, it’s medium to full-bodied, vinous and enveloping, with a creamy attack, fine depth at the core and ripe but racy acids, complemented by a pinpoint mousse. This is a charming, gourmand and elegantly balanced Blanc de Noirs that represents a fine addition to the Bollinger portfolio.
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Case 6 *75cl – £475 inc Duty & VAT

2012 Bollinger Brut
La Grande Année

95pts

Tasting note

Disgorged in July 2019, Bollinger’s 2012 Brut La Grande Année is showing well, offering up an incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, fresh peach, orange oil, toasted walnuts and dried apricot that’s still quite reserved with less than a year on cork. Full-bodied, deep and muscular, the 2012 is blockier and broader-shouldered than its 2008 predecessor, with a weightier and even more concentrated palate built around a bright spine of acidity, concluding with a chalky finish that carries appreciably dry extract. This isn’t quite as elegant as the exquisite 2008, but it is a superb effort and obviously built to age.
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Case 6 *75cl – £540 inc Duty & VAT

To place your order, please contact:

 

rodney@woodwinters.com     or     shane@woodwinters.com

All wines are also available in bond

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