I had the opportunity to compare two Champagnes over the weekend.
On Friday it was the July 2005 disgorgement of the Gaston-Chiquet Carte Verte Brut Tradition which was as good as it has been since I first tasted it. Rich but lively on the palate, with deep red fruit tones and lighter citrusy notes over the top. Fine mousse and just very refreshing.
On Sunday we uncorked the Bollinger Special Cuvee of unknown disgorgement (but recent stock from a place that goes through the stuff quickly, so should be pretty recent, but likely not as recent as the Gaston-Chiquet). This was certainly a good bottle, and bigger than the Gaston-Chiquet, but without the lively interplay of fruits; more of a static wine that imposed itself on the palate.
I am a Bollinger fan (and a fan of the Special Cuvee), but I have to say that the more I taste the Gaston-Chiquet the more I am won over. And that goes for grower Champagnes in general. The grower wines are so much more intellectually intruiging, as well as just plain fun. I wonder if the pressure to have a consistent blend has taken the life out of the big NVs.
Talk less, smile more. Don't let them know what you're against or what you're for.