Grapevine Archive for 2003
The downside of having a small cellar in another country is that it is generally only topped up once a year with Wine Society wines, and similarly audited, with the odd bottle passing its recommended drinking window.
This Christmas’ pleasant surprise was Bernard Chéreau‘s Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Le Clos du Château L’Oiselinière 2003.
When I joined The Society as a buyer in 2004, 2003 was the vintage I was confronted with. At the time I struggled to get to grips with it, especially in the Loire, where the ‘norm’ is something quite different.
There have been warm, ripe vintages since (notably 2005 and 2009) and I have come to think of 2003 as atypical, rather than the Hyde to the regular Dr Jekyll.
The biggest fear at the time was that the wines would have insufficient acidity to maintain freshness even over the short to medium term. Unusually, permission was granted to add acid but, with little or no experience of doing so, few growers did.
The best wines found their balance and I have enjoyed numerous examples over the last few years.
The Le Clos was still remarkably good AND fresh, and complemented a buttery and flavoursome chicken admirably.
Jo Locke MW
The 2009 vintage of Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, Le Clos du Château L’Oiselinière is currently available for £10.95 per bottle.
A wonderful array of Pol Roger, Bollinger and Louis Roederer Champagnes and Society members were on display at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on Monday 19th April, despite Eyjafjallajökul’s best attempts to scupper the event.
Logistically the day was challenging, to say the least. Some members were stranded in various places around the globe and so couldn’t attend. Our speakers were also affected. Stephen Leroux, Export Director of Bollinger was unable to take his flight or arrange a last minute train journey. Patrice Noyelle (pictured), Managing Director of Pol Roger took the train from Malaga all the way to Epernay on Sunday, arriving home at 3am on Monday, then struggling to find a seat on the Eurostar – he finally arrived at the tasting for the last 15 minutes! Fortunately Louis Roederer’s Mark Bingley MW is based in London, and together with Elizabeth Ferguson from Mentzendorff and James Simpson MW from Pol Roger UK, presented their Champagnes with expertise and aplomb. They were very ably assisted by The Society’s Champagne buyer Marcel Orford Williams.
Next came a trio of great interest – the tight, bone dry and ‘crying out for food’ Pol Roger Pure, the delightfully fruit-filled Bollinger Rosé and the beautifully integrated Louis Roederer Carte Blanche Demi-Sec.
The vintages were of great interest. Louis Roederer’s precocious 2003 was the youngest on show, along with Pol Roger 2000 and Bollinger Grande Année 2000, each showing off their house style to the full.
The pièces de résistance from each house gave a grand finale to this unique event: Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 is oh-so-young and with a fantastic long life ahead of it; Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1999 (not yet available from The Society – 1998 can be found here) is everything a cuvée de prestige should be – body, rich flavour, great acidity; Bollinger RD 1997, with its elegance and lift was a fitting way to end.
Were you at the tasting? What was your favourite on the night? What is your personal favourite Champagne? Let us know.
Maybe we’ll see you soon at another of the 100+ Tastings & Events that The Society organises every year.