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Champagne Notes 2004

by Tom Stevenson

Here are the results from a number of tastings, mostly conducted for the Champagne section of Wine Report 2005. Normally the bulk of these notes would have ended up in my Champagne & Sparkling Wine Guide, but as that no longer exists, I am delighted to publish them on wine-pages.

Scoring definition


80
  This is the level at which I start to take interest in an inexpensive BOB or secondary brand.
85
  The sort of quality that Champagne has to be to warrant inclusion in my cellar. If a non-Champagne sparkling wine scores this high, it is of exceptional quality indeed.
90
  A top quality Champagne, probably vintage or prestige cuvée. A 90-point wine deserves a hefty premium over the competition and will probably repay 3-5 years additional cellarage to reveal its true potential.
95
  The greatest Champagnes. Rare even from the top houses. A very special and memorable experience. Most could be left forgotten in a cellar for 10 years without any worry whatsoever.
100
  Perfection - impossible!

Notes

I. The scores for the same wine can fluctuate from year to year because different disgorgements produce wines of a different potential. This also applies to the "when to drink" time-scales.

II. Please note that none of these wines were tasted blind and, where provided, the prices are per bottle (TTC) in France (retail for the houses, cellar door for growers).

Tastings

(click each title to see full report)

2003 vintage summary, and tasting of vins clairs (22 wines)
UMC Tasting at La Demeure des Comtes de Champagne

Champagnes I (114 wines)
Major houses, tasted in France and London

Champagnes II (69 wines)
Tasting of the SGV (Syndicat Général des Vignerons), the growers' union

Champagne Lanson Vertical 1976 - 1993 (10 wines)
Lanson vintages that are still commercially available