TN A very brief (and maybe harsh) report from champagne tasting

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Po-yu Sung, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Finest Bubbles champagne range tasting 13th Jun
    Fedrick's, Islington London

    Glass: kind of universal whatever wine glass. Worse than last year.

    Taittinger vintage 2012
    First wine of the eve. Sweet, easy, almost like sparkling juice. Drinkable

    Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2007
    Shy on the nose, surprisingly empty on mid-palate. I don't have hundreds of Comtes experience and this one easily be the least impressive.

    Louis Roederer NV (2013 base)
    Smell weird. Tasted bitter. Maybe corked? Anything after this wine is a pain. I ran to change glass after 3-4 wines.

    Louis Roederer vintage 2009
    Slightly better but strangely powdery on palate. Totally different thing from the Fortnum and Mason vintage 2009 I had.

    Louis Roederer rose 2012
    Got the 2012 sweetness but also having the young rose powdery-ness. It's alright to drink but not a superb showing.

    Palmer & co Blanc d B NV magnum (but actually 2005 vinatge. Named as NV to avoid vintage champagne regulation?)
    Smell alright, said to be 11 years on the lees (!). Palate was not that impressive though. Tasted like 2005.

    Palmer & co Blanc d Noirs NV
    At first it tasted alright but not great, then feeling a bit disjointed.

    Bollinger NV bottle
    Can't even finish the tasting pour. Gone to spit tin (and apparently annoyed the Bolly representative).

    Bollinger NV magnum (2013 base)
    Totally different wine. Miles way better than bottle.

    Bollinger La Grand Annee 2007
    Structure is fine but the body is strangely slim.

    Bollinger RD 2004
    Either very young or not much substances in it, like some recently released 2004 (including Krug)
    Didn't bother to go for their rose 2007.

    Piper Heidsieck rare 2002
    The most closed showing I had with this wine, DIAM cork or not.

    Pol Roger NV
    Also very different from all the Pol NV I had before, in a bad way.

    Pol Roger vintage 2009
    I was actually surprised that it's quite drinkable. But I had extremely low expectation on Pol vintage.

    Lanson Extra Age BdB (2005, 2006, 2007 vintage)
    Unpleasant. I am not a big fan of non-melo or say straight, Lanson, but this one is not just style problem. The palate was put together in a rather strange way.

    Lanson Extra Age (maybe 2013 ahead?)
    Make more sense than BdB

    Lanson Noble Cuvee 2002
    This wine impressed me last year. This year it's still showing good. 6g/l dosage but taste quite sweet! Due to glass problem I think, wine died out in 3 mins in the glass but the first showing was pretty decent.

    Moet vintage 2009
    Not too bad. A tad of heavy in the end of palate.

    Dom Perignon 2009
    It's quite similar to what we have tasted. So probably it's not all glass' problem... maybe the wine tasting bad was really bad.

    Charles Heidsieck NV 2010 base
    Weird. Didn't smell like CH and didn't taste much at all. Avoid.

    Charles Heidsieck NV 2008 base
    Two floors better than previous one. I am glad that I still got a couple of it.

    Charles Heidsieck NV BdB 2012 base
    I was quite looking forward to it. It doesn't taste bad, but for £75 per bottle....

    Charles Heidsieck rose 2005
    For how I like it's rose 1999, and how I like it's blanc 2005, it's a real disappointment.

    Charles Heidsieck brut 1981
    We were rescued, even redeemed by this wine from a rather dreadful tasting event. No doubt wine of the night, and maybe for me wine of 2018 til now. It shows that if a wine is good, it can overcome whatever circumstances (moon?) The problem is that we only got a sip.

    Charles Heidsieck brut 1983
    A shadow of 1981. Much less bubbles even. Some people detected TCA. I felt it has had a great past but it's pretty much gone in my glass. The representative insisted that it's because it has been opened for 2 hours (well a good wine should only get better) and it was a normal show of 1983, which actually made me lost interest buying it at all. If he has admited that it's a bad bottle, I would really want to buy one to taste.


    In sum, wine was mostly not great if not awful. Probably it's not a fair show for many of them but at least before I have chance to taste those wine again, I don't think I will risk spending money on them.

    Saying that, I actually had a great evening with my fellows, a very relaxing and fun night out!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  2. Seems you had a root day!
    Po-yu Sung likes this.
  3. Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  4. Po,
    Perhaps it was my flamingo shirt?
    Something was truly amiss with so many tastes though for DP 09 and Piper Red label to taste correct just adds to the mystery.
    The Red label is I think the only one I tasted that You didn’t cover, this was new livery but under cork and pretty certainly 2012 base.
    Lovely, fruit flavour rounding out and the best Showing from a regular NV on this night by a enjoyable as the 2008 Piper for me.
    The Pol’s and Roederer were sited next to one another and whilst the BdB 09 was a bit better than the tastes we had before both ranges were truly.....pants!
    Aside from the exquisite 1981 Charles Heidsieck the WOTN was the new 12 based release of Lanson Brut Extra Age, but that and the 02 Noble Cuvee were so un-Lanson you would want to revisit before shelling out.
    Whilst it is likely to do nothing for my already dwindling popularity I am genuinely considering taking my own glasses to events and tastings.
    Po-yu Sung likes this.
  5. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    What a fascinating report from comfirmed Champagne fans/experts. So could it all have been down to the glasses? An occasional wine that should be showing well but which turns out to be a major disappointment is not unusual, but to see so many from the same event is highly unusual. Maybe Po-yu's suggestion of barometric pressure also had something to do with it?
    Raymond Tilney and Po-yu Sung like this.
  6. Was the CH 1981 from a magnum? If it was from a bottle you got a v. good one.
    (My latest try from their recent Crayeres releases was a magnum of 1982 Charlie: sadly not great, but that is very likely this specific bottle. There is variation in these older releases.)
  7. I'm enjoying DP09 more and more, it is already shedding some fatness, will be a mid-term, easy drinking Dom. But for the rest? Sounds like crap glass hygiene to me...
  8. Steve,
    I had initially put it down to glasses and hygiene regime but the plot thickened when some pours tasted as they should.
  9. Wouldn't air pressure issues mean that everyone in London would have similar problems? So the question is did you have some wine in London last night and did it under-deliver?
    Alex Lake and Steven Pritchard like this.
  10. Paul,
    It was a bottle direct from CH.
    I was lucky enough thanks to Dan B to have enjoyed several Krug 81’s a few years back, and they were at one point sensational for the poor vintage.
    Last nights bottle would have truly given those Krug’s a real run for it’s money.
  11. How warm was it in the tasting room? Were the bottles properly chilled? I don't really buy the air pressure thing...
  12. Chardonnay was excellent in '81! ;)
  13. Tom, maybe my bad luck, but there were several champagne tasting I remember where the wine were mostly underperforming. Or maybe champagne is more a delicate kind of wine, demanding many conditions. While last evening was really the worst of all. :confused:
    There were indeed many not-so-great vintage wine this time. None of 2005 and 2007 delivered. So maybe that's some venue/glass/air/ effect on top of some wine not that great anyway.

    It's a good bottle. I haven't totally get rid of the idea of buying a 1983... Fingers crossed!

    Besides what Ray has said, we also have 'washed' the glass by champagne so many times... unless new TCA added to our glass! :eek:
    But since you mentioned temperature, I found the two tables near the balcony performing better. Not sure if it's temperture or air flowing whatever. I did find I smell from the glass better when I walked to the balcony, but obviously I can't do it for every single wine...
  14. I wasn't commenting on the vintage just on bottle variation in 1981's direct from CH. After a weak showing at the Christies CH seminar of a bottle of CH BdM 1981 where we compared it against a magnum, I wouldn't risk buying a bottle whether it was direct from them or not. Btw, quite a lot of the Crayeres releases are not necessarily recent disgorgements which also may explain a wider variation.
    Raymond Tilney likes this.
  15. Just having a pun-related joke on "CH" (Charles or Chardonnay)! I need to have a day off.

    Yes, a little like Krug Collection, late or original disgorgement, guess it comes down to how bad their stock management is.
  16. They indeed were not very recent disgorgement, just stored in CH, according to Whillem.
  17. ....... nor are we quite numpty enough to have not considered room and serving temperatures:rolleyes:
    Paul Day likes this.
  18. Btw, I saw some magnums of the CH 1981 being offered the other day for £750 each IB from a supplier that has keen prices, so not a bargain option sadly.
  19. Bud,
    These were for sure original livery and disgorged long ago.
  20. Well if the clown (hat) fits... Perhaps walking around with a barometer meant that you dropped your tickling stick.

    And the answer was?
  21. Not saying they weren't ... just agreeing with Paul that there is no clear policy at C.H. or Krug for disgorgement of collection wines.
  22. Po, are you sure ray wasn’t wearing a liberal sprinkling of Paco Rabane? :eek:
    Raymond Tilney likes this.
  23. Maybe my nose was destroyed by the stink of Angel tube station on my way there...
  24. I thought Ray was jazz man.
  25. It was a strangely unsatisfying tasting. 42 wines but only three or four seemed to show in an acceptable manner and it was only when I tasted the 09 DP and the Ruinart Rose with which I am familiar that I was sure that it was not a some unknown problem with all the wines.

    I can only conclude that most of the current NV releases are all a bit substandard (whether because of the base wines or something much more fundamentally wrong with the blending/wine making) and that the 09/10/12s are at best patchy and quality is only found in a small number of wines.

    It is very good of Finest Bubble to put on this kind of tasting but when I compare it to another tasting put on a couple of years ago by a different merchant that specialises in growers wines those wines were generally in a better place than the ones this week.

    I just wonder whether we have become too hard to please or whether standards have slipped in the Industry as they have in the past?
    Raymond Tilney and Po-yu Sung like this.

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