Non-dose brut style. It is astoundingly crisp and fresh, the chardonnay is prominent, as freshness is the focus, pure in name and nature.
A dosage of 35g/L of sugar added, making it a demi-sec style. This gives it a more creamy and toasty aroma, with a distinct marzipan and glazed cherry character.
Pol Roger Reserve 2002
A wine with amazing integration of acid, fruit and yeasty complexity, finesse and elegance beyond comparison. The wine appears to explode like a firework from the middle of the palate. It is both approachable and yet subtle and complex, but having only recently been disgorged and dosed needs more time in bottle before release.
If this wine is so good now, it is not hard to imagine how good the 2002 Sir Winston Churchill will be. Very generously I was given a bottle of the current vintage, the 1999, to enjoy at a later time with food, along with a bottle of the 2004 Reserve Rose (also not yet released). Slightly encumbered I thanked my wonderful house and hurried to my final appointment for the day.
Pol Roger range
Aromatically this wine interestingly combines raspberry with a savoury salty Edam cheese, and on the palate has a nice textural element. Approachable but not simple.
Brut Souverain NV
50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir blend, has complexity of fruit and lees texture, and is delicate yet fresh.
Blanc de Blancs NV
More restrained and broad, with soft creaminess and a nice rich lemongrass character. After looking at the wine fresh from bottle we then had a second look after transfer in a carafe. The second look showed much toastier elements which were subdued initially, and also a nice smoky cheese element.
Nice vanilla brioche croissant, smoky citrus, subdued and soft, a little simple? Toastiness and texture on the palate, sherbert bomb lemon sorbet, evolving in the glass, good length and harmony.
Cuvee des Enchanteleurs 1998
also looked wonderful, and the enjoyment of it was enhanced as we tasted it in the cellars surrounded by bottles in riddling racks.
All of the various elements are present, such as the pure fruit expression, the toasty oak and autolysis complexity, and the harmonious blending of varieties and villages. There is complexity and elegance, but still freshness which is so important in today’s market.
Youthful vibrancy, exhibiting lovely honeysuckle, peach and Satsuma aromas. There is also some lees derived toffee and spiced apple pie crust. More generous than the 1998
Krug 1998 Krug
Tighter more concentrated acids through the mid-palate, particularly citrussy. The complex characters are more in the burnt custard, marmalade and toasty croissant.
Nice bright and fresh, great fruit aromatics, citrus. Nice mid-palate fruit balance, pear and apple, minimal yeast autolysis interference, friendly fresh wine.
Brut Blanc de Blancs
Lovely fresh citrus florals, pure chardonnay expression, amazing vibrant fruit palate.
Blanc de Blancs 2002
More subtle autolysis fruit combination, toasted marshmallow and brioche. Glazed peach honey, rich broad toasty caramel, peach cobbler, nice texture.
Amazingly subtle charcuterie, wild flower honey lemon butter. Floats above the plate, waves and waves of complexity, hints of creamy generosity, ethereal, there but not there, powerful expression yet hauntingly subtle.
Wonderful harmony, rich toasty balance, delicate yet complex and full, toasted hazelnuts and a very food friendly NV.
La Grande Année 2002
Much tighter and fresher nose, citrus and apple crumble. Exceptional acid integration, toasty depth and richness, small berry notes, smoked cheese barrel characters.
Very clean and balanced but showing little character and texture.
Grande Année Rose 2004
Very impressive, exhibiting lovely savoury elements of game, smoked salmon and delicate truffle notes. No surprising the strength of the grand cru pinot noir they are using for this wine.
The golden colour was very noticeable compared to the other white champagnes. The way the multitude of flavours gently caressed the palate gaining momentum as it made its way back, was simply extraordinary. Poached pear combined with shiitake, roasted pine nuts combined with salted pie crust.
Bollinger RD 1995
Brut Royale Reserve
A lovely brioche and lemon tart complexity, soft and broad, and yet had lovely freshness and balance to it with a toasty honey finish.
Appeared a little flat and sharp, with no approachability or subtlety and not a lot of character.
Grand Blanc 2005
A slightly crunchy and dirty acid and leesy complexity, coupled with a creamy citrus nose.
Reserve Millesime 2003
Too broad and fat, lacks structure and elegance, too fruity and rich.
Cuvee 1522 2002
Very powerful in fruit, yet had very elegant expression. Crème brulée combined with lemon butter and brioche.
Clos des Goisses 2000
The colour is much more golden than others, a product of its age, variety and ripeness. The textural ripeness results in the wine exhibiting an almost lanolin character, combining with honey and dried peach. I admired the audacity of this style, and imagined the many types of food that would pair with this wine. I did wonder how the wine would age though…
Quite pinot noir dominant, good autolysis yeast notes, excellent extension on the palate.
2011 Chouilly Grand Cru Chardonnay
Very delicate and refined nose, great acid balance, quite rich and full, very broad citrus.
2011 Mesnil-sur-Oger Chardonnay
Quite rich and developed, amazing watercress clementine, balanced and rich in depth, creamy malolactic influence, bright citric elegance.
2011 Pierry Chardonnay
Tight and fresh, more approachable, broader and softer, good fruit character.
2011 Sezanne Chardonnay
A significant contributor of acid in the assemblage.
2011 Montagne de Reims Pinot Noir
Dirtier earthy berries, fuller and more astringent, not a great component.
Taittinger chef de cave
The wines from the Mulheimer Sonnenlay vineyard, which is a monopol owned exclusively by the estate, are more vibrant fresh and zingy in their acidity.
The Brauneberger wines tend to be more concentrated and subtle, with distinct minerality coming from the brown slate soil.
Moving up through the quality and sweetness scale, the wines began to exhibit some elderberry and tropical fruit characteristics with nice delicate viscosity to coat the mouth.
The Veldenzer Elisenberg wines contribute a further element of spice and herbs to them.
We finished with an Eiswine from 2010 (there will be no Eiswine from the 2011 vintage as the first frosts for winter only happened this week), which was extremely concentrated and syrupy, but having great acidity carries the flavours across the palate beautifully.
Max Ferdinand Richter wines
Compared to many of the rieslings I tried in the Mosel, the Nahe wines of Schlossgut Diel are brighter, zingier and slightly spritzy in nature. They don’t have the same minerality or the focus of the Mosel, but this may be a product of the vintage. There was a lovely consistent line between all the wines of grapefruit, which suggests to me the wines are made essentially the same, just the entry-level wines being blends of different vineyards.
The trocken wines were particularly good; I think I liked them better than the dry wines of the Mosel. As a member of the VDP Diel use the vineyard classification system, so tasting the Grosses Gewachs wines was an experiment in more concentrated and austere characters.
The 2010 wines had a similar nature in the Nahe as the Mosel, of higher acids and sugar so they are very crisp and citrussy in their acids.
The Goldloch Spatlese was very complex and slightly savoury, showing some interesting crushed herb elements.
We finished with a rose made from pinot noir, which was slightly spritzy and had 10g/L of residual sugar, so was very pleasant and easy to drink.
Tasting with Caroline Diel
Once you get into the single vineyard wines, you start to see the quality of the vines and the subtle difference between each soil type and exposition.
Berg Roseneck Riesling 2010
A fascinating hint of beeswax on the nose, something I’ve never seen before.
Berg Kaisersteinfels Riesling 2010
An interesting white meat complexity, and the Schlossberg had a white berry character.
Berg Rottland Riesling 2010
A darker almost earthy mineral texture, more concentration yet slightly harsher acids.
The wines all had a certain richness from balanced residual sugar, and great depth of flavour. Johannes Leitz is getting the most out of his vineyards, that is for sure.
Johannes Leitz wines