Blanc de Blancs Champagne
stumbleupon
delicious
digg
facebook

 

Best Blanc de Blancs Champagne

by Geoff Kalish

 

Most champagne is blended from three grapes (pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay), but Blanc de Blancs is made exclusively from chardonnay. Arguably the most elegant style of champagne, Blanc de Blancs are also some of the most expensive – with hard-to-find bottles of recent vintages of Krug’s Clos du Mesnil selling at retail outlets for well over $500 a bottle, and Salon’s Le Mesnil not that far behind in price. And for those willing to pay the price, a statement of luxury can surely be made by toasting with one of these rather rare prized wines or serving them with carefully chosen fare. On the other hand, there are now a number of excellent delicate Blanc de Blancs offering great aesthetics at much more reasonable tariffs and with relatively wide availability.

 


tastin champagne

 

To assist consumers in purchasing these bubblies, a tasting of fifteen currently available bottles was held by the Wine Media Guild (a New York-based group of professional wine communicators and educators). All wines were first tasted without food and then during a specially prepared luncheon at Felidia restaurant in Manhattan.

Of note, the wines were more similar than dissimilar in bouquet and taste, with only a few outliers. Also, almost all the wines were enjoyable alone and most paired quite well with the likes of salmon and scallop crudo, seafood risotto and poached salmon. Moreover, the right dessert, like a light lemon sorbet or crème brŭlée (rather than a dense, chocolatey creation) is needed to favorably mate with these wines and not overwhelm their graceful finish.

In the following, the wines are listed in three groups: My favorites; those I liked less but would not turn down; and those that I found too pricey for what was offered. While grapes from the 17 Côte des Blanc “Grand Cru” villages (just south of Epernay) purportedly make the best wines, I did not necessarily find that just to be the case – with bottles containing less than 100% Grand Cru grapes showing quite well. Prices listed reflect typical retail cost for a 750ml bottle, and do not include tax.

 

FAVORITES

Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV - $55.
Made from grapes mainly from the Côte des Blancs and Grand Cru villages, this bubbly contains about 30% “reserve” (older) wine to achieve the style desired by the producer. It shows a steady stream of pinpoint bubbles, with a bouquet and taste of pears and apricots and a long pleasant finish.

Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV

 

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV - $70.
From one of the oldest champagne producers (founded in the early 1700’s and now part of the LVMH conglomerate of luxury goods), this sparkler had a lively, long lasting fizz and a light, delicate bouquet and taste of wild strawberries with a dry, crisp finish.


Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV

 

Lanson Extra Age Blanc de Blancs NV - $120.
Produced from a blend of Grand and Premier Cru grapes harvested in 2003, '04 and '05 that were blended together and aged for over five years, this classy bubbly shows a bouquet and flavor of ripe peaches with undertones of apricots and lime and a long, smooth finish.



Lanson Extra Age Blanc de Blancs NV

 

Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2007 - $70.
This light, elegant, easy drinking sparkler with a bouquet and taste of ripe melons is made primarily from grapes grown in the Grand Cru villages of Avize and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Enjoyable alone for a toast, it pairs particularly well with seafare.


Deutz Blanc de Blancs 2007

 

Mumm de Cramant NV - $65.
From one of the better-known champagne producers (founded in the early 1800’s by three brothers and now owned by Pernod Ricard), this bubbly has a lively stream of bubbles and a bouquet and taste of honeydew melon with notes of ripe cherries and a long lasting finish.


Mumm de Cramant NV

 

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995 - $175.
Albeit a bit pricey, this bubbly delivers the goods. It’s made from choice Côte des Blancs vineyards from one harvest with the wine aged for 15 years in cool chalk cellars prior to release. It shows a bouquet of honey and ripe fruit with a fresh, vibrant taste of figs and apricots and a lively finish with a touch of vanilla. Mate this wine with smoked salmon, caviar and mild cheeses.


Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995

 

Ayala Blanc de Blancs 2007 - $75.
Made from 100% Grand Cru fruit sourced from five of the villages (Avize, Cramant, Oger, Cuis and Vertus), this wine from Ayala (now owned by the Bollinger family) exhibits a lively stream of small, delicate bubbles with a bouquet and taste of ripe peaches and lemons, and a dry, long-lasting finish.


Ayala Blanc de Blancs 2007

 

WELL ABOVE AVERAGE

A.R. Lenoble Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV - $52.
Grapes solely from the Grand Cru village of Chouilly were used to fashion this wine that offers very good value in this category. While this wine showed a good stream of bubbles and a fruity bouquet, it was quite light in taste and perhaps better for toasting than as a mate with all but the most delicate fare.


A.R. Lenoble Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV

 

Bruno Paillard Rėserve Privée Grand Cru
Blanc de Blancs NV
- $65.
From a top producer (founded only in the early 1980’s), this wine shows a long, lively stream of bubbles with bouquet and flavors of pears and peaches that I found somewhat muted, thereby detracting from its enjoyment.


Bruno Paillard Rėserve Privée Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

 

Marion-Bosser Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut NV - $52.
With grapes from a vineyard in the Grand Cru village of Oger, this bubbly shows a bouquet of caramel and a taste of apples and pears with undertones of lemon. While some may enjoy this ultra-dry type of champagne, I found it a touch too light and austere for my palate.


Marion-Bosser Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut NV

 

Gosset Celebris Blanc de Blancs NV - $175.
This wine is produced from a blend of grapes harvested in four different years from eleven Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. It has a pleasant refreshing bouquet and taste of ripe fruit and notes of citrus in the finish. My only reservation is that the cost seems a bit high for the wine compared to other very similar champagnes.


Gosset Celebris Blanc de Blancs NV

 

Taittinger Comtes des Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005 - $140.
This sparkler is made from “first press” juice of grapes grown in the Côte des Blancs, with 5% aged in new oak barrels. It showed a good stream of fast-rising bubbles and a pleasant bouquet and taste of fruit, but an aftertaste of yeast that I found interfered to some degree with the flavors of the fare sampled.


Taittinger Comtes des Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2005

 

Pascal Doguet Mesnil-Sur-Oger Grand Cru 2002 - $85.
Located in Vertus (at the southern tip of the Côte des Blancs), this Grand Cru independent “grower” champagne has a refreshing bouquet and taste of grapefruit and lemons with a finish that I found a little too sweet.


Pascal Doguet Mesnil-Sur-Oger Grand Cru 2002

 

CURRENTLY UNDERWHELMING

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2002 - $325.
The grapes for this wine were grown in the chalky soil of the Grand Cru Cramant village on a south-facing slope. Unfortunately the wine exhibits a too intense nutty bouquet and nectarine flavor with a rather harsh finish. Perhaps it needs time, but not very enjoyable now, especially for over $300 a bottle.


Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2002

 

Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2004 - $125.
Made from carefully selected grapes from Grand Cru villages fermented in stainless steel, this effervescent wine showed a very muted bouquet and taste of honey and citrus fruit with a short finish. It just hasn't enough gusto for the price asked.


Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2004

 

 



 
Fifty Best > Wine > Blanc de Blancs Champagne
© TheFiftyBest.com        home   |  Advertise   |  Privacy   |  Awards   |  Legal   |  About   |  Logos   |  Sign-Up   |  Contact       HappyViper