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MWG November 22nd tasting (1/5): Two French sparklers

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A tasting of 15 wines, including five from the November 22nd Cellier release and one importation valise. We began with two French sparklers.

Champagne grand cru, Réserve, H. Billiot ($49.75, 11818220)
75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from up to 18 grand cru vineyards in Ambonnay. Usually a blend of three vintages. Fermented in stainless steel tanks. Does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Unfiltered. 13% ABV.
Browning apple and bread crust. Softly effervescent. Dry but rich, with a ripe-sweet fruit core (yellow apple and dried apricot) and plenty of acidity. A suggestion of brown sugar joins the minerals on the finish. Not bad though more complexity, tension and, well, dazzle would be welcome. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Vouvray mousseux 2010, Brut, Domaine Vincent Carême ($21.70, 11633591)
100% Chenin Blanc. The estate has been farming organically since 2002 and either has recently received organic certification or is about to. Made using the traditional method, with only yeast added for the second fermentation. Zero dosage. 13% ABV.
Complex and appealing nose: sour apple, lees, yeast, barley sugar, a hint of kerosene. Fine, sharp effervescence. The abundant acidity is checked by the faint residual sugar. Not a lot of flavour depth but a crystal-like structural depth. A minerally, faintly bitter streak that one taster described as burnt match lingers through the finish. Earlier bottles of this have shown better; the current shipment is just off the boat and may need a few weeks to settle down. (Buy again? Sure.)

Written by carswell

November 28, 2012 at 14:20

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