The Dorks of York's annual Christmas champagne tasting, with a revisit from a participant of last year, Jason Lett of Oregon's Eyrie Vineyards. Last year he happened to be in the area professionally so someone drug him along; this year he scheduled something so he could be in Seattle and attend again. The wines were served randomly and blind, though we each generally recognized our own bottles.
1999 Delamotte Champagne Brut Champagne Blend
My bottle. Funky nose that corrects in time, coconut, lemon peel and green apples, some residual sugar, particularly fine bubbles with great attack. This is the "youngest" presenting of the last three I've opened (bottle variation's been quite extreme). Shows great tonight!
NV Demarne-Frison Champagne Goustan Brut Nature
Golden color. Grapefruit, coriander seed, other citrus, and a bit of caramel. A very complete, well-rounded champagne and a favorite of the day for all. Excellent plus.
NV Philipponnat Champagne Royale Réserve Brut Champagne Blend
Also my wine. Cidery, toasty, yeasty, lemony, green apple, brioche, rich. Texture's creamy with a fine bead. The chardonnay really shows. Tastes, all agreed, like a wine with some age on it (disgorged 2013). I am so happy to have another case on its way to me.
2010 Ridgeview South Ridge Blanc De Noirs West Sussex Pinot Blend, England
Balanced and interesting. We were canvassed re origins, and the classic Blanc de Noir details meant there was no question in anyone's mind that it was French (though impressively, we're all wrong). Bready with red apple skin and a touch of cognac.
NV Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Premier Cru Vertus
Major sulfur off the bat which calms down a bit but not completely. Very pale, with some butter notes midpalate that segues into almond and a bitter finish. I suspect it's a ringer, a cava. Not so, once revealed, but it's owner was also disappointed and admitted, "not as good as bottles I've had in the past". And I agree, I remember a bottle last Christmas that showed much better.
NV Collard Picard Duvee Dom. Picard Grand Cru
Bright, yeasty, great acidity and dryness, probably no dosage. A good one.
NV Korbel Brut California
I have a cruel streak. Brought this as a ringer. Even blind, it pulled instant boo's--it definitely doesn't pass. Greenish color with simplistic notes of floral, ginger, lemon-lime. Someone asked, "Is it malvasia?"
NV Moutard Brut Grand Cuvee
No color, odd flavors. For notes, I only recorded what others said. "Damp terrier" and "perm solution" captured it best.
2006 Lamiable les Meslaines
A super concentrated blanc de blanc, exc balance and heft. It deserves a lot more words than I managed to write down but there were a lot of distractions in the room.
And finally Jason Lett opened his wine. He walked in holding this curiosity crown-closure down, and popped it out on the lawn to remove the solids. It's a blend of 2009 and 2011, 100% Pinot Meunier, from 50 year old vines planed by his father in a vineyard at 860 feet, 100% neutral wood (Jason's definition of "neutral" is 10 years or older). Pale coppery pink. Ethereal complexity and mouthfeel. Currently no dosage and he asked our opinion about what to add: NOTHING, we screamed, KEEP IT LIKE THIS. Not yet available to the public, but there are 124 and 11/12's of a case left, and it will be priced "somewhere between $50 and don't-be-a-dick".
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov