Champagne Moutard Brut Reserve NV
|Moutard's Brut Reserve is 100% Chardonnay, aged more than three years in Moutard's caves. Our bottle, disgorged on 24th April 2006 pours a pale lemon/green colour, with very fine bubbles. On the nose it is
delicately fruity and has an easy appeal, with a light peachiness. On the palate there is a lovely ripeness and limpid weight of pear and peach fruit, with a soft, pillowy mousse and a sense of fruit purity and roundness.
There is a bit of creamy depth that develops through the mid-palate, and whilst the lemony, fresh acidity does a fine job of tightening and lengthening the finish, this remains deliciously soft and
drinkable. A lovely, very easy to drink Champagne with the finesse and structure for oysters, or as a delightful aperitif. Around £17.99, See all stockists on wine-searcher.com
If you're really pushing the romantic boat out and plan on tucking into caviar and blinis, a Blanc de Blancs is, once again, a great match as it won't dominate the subtle, salty flavours of the fish eggs.
Pamela Geddes (Spain) La Rosita 2003
|OK, not a Champage, but a delightful sparkling rosé from one of the most interesting winemakers around, Scot Pamela Geddes. Pamela gave up a career in the Scotch Whisky industry to make wine, first in Australia,
then South America, and finally at her own winery near Barcelona in Catalunya. This is Pamela's sparkling Monastrell rosé a 12.5% beauty with a pale pomegranate colour, delightfully small, persistent bubbles and a nose
crammed with fresh, summery berries, a touch of briar and a delicious creaminess. On the palate it is off-dry, with super ripe berry fruit, and a character of cream and strawberry pulp. The acidity is beautifully judged, with the
mousse soft yet persistent, in a really lovely wine. £9.99, Cornelius, Hendersons, Peckhams, Luvians, WineRaks.co.uk.
If the idea of matching Champagne to curry brought you up short a couple of sentences ago, I'm not surprised. That, too, would have been my reaction until last year, when I got to taste the latest releases of Krug with a selection of curries. A pairing of Malabar lobster - all coconut sauce and delicate spicing - with the Grande Cuvée stands out in my memory as one of the best matches of the year. But rich, weighty Champagnes, such as Krug's Grande Cuvée, Bollinger's Grande Année and Mumm's Grande Cuvée are natural matches for richer styles of seafood, whether spiced or not. A relatively plain dish of lobster (or even langoustines) grilled and then smothered in butter, partnered with a green salad and one of the above wines would be my idea of Valentine's Day heaven.
Bollinger (France) La Grande Année 1999
|La Grande Année is Bollinger's prestige cuvée, produced only in exceptional years. This may seem criminally young to open a fine wine that is built for extended cellaring
(for those who like the aged Champagne style), but I found this wine to be seductive and wonderfully nuanced even at this young age. Fruit comes from only 17 Premiers and Grands Crus from amongst Champagne's 316
villages, and the 1999 harvest is said by Bollinger to be "similar to 1970 and 1983," promising very high quality. Barrel-fermentation is followed by six years ageing before release, resulting in a wine that has a rich but pale
golden colour, pin-prick bubbles and toasty, complex aromas of brioche and yeastiness, but also a vegetal richness and core of bruised apple fruit. On the palate the mousse is very fine but persistent, and this has an
immediate tension between very taut, nervous minerality and a huge sweetness of fruit, with already a nutty, rich maturity from the long ageing, with some toast and caramel, and a very long,
supple, elegant finish. A terrific wine. Around £50, See all stockists on wine-searcher.com