Champagne have many different styles and flavors. It’s like a pair of jeans. It sounds like a basic thing but there are details that you would look into – the fit, the leg style, the color, the material composition, etc. that would tailor to your particular liking – and Champagne, like any other food or beverage, would create products that would hope to appeal to you.
So, here are a few of my recent favorite Champagnes that tickles my fancy and would be great gifts for either yourself, a loved one (like your Dad since Father’s Day is next Sunday, June 19th), or for a newly engaged/wedded couple (Note: the retail prices are approximate as it varies by location/source):
Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blanc 2000 (website)
The wine is crisp and fresh with a light gold color. You detect lilacs and ruby grapefruits, honey, vanilla and apples. It’s a beautiful Champagne to drink by itself, as an apertif or with an appetizer. I am a big fan of their delicate, elegant wines for a while and this house always releases very good to excellent wines. $360
Lanson is a Champagne house located in Reims. By the late 19th century, Lanson was supplying champagne by royal appointment to the courts of the United Kingdom, Sweden and Spain. Lanson still remains a purveyor of champagne to the British Royal Family and displays the coat of arms of Elizabeth II on its bottles.
- Lanson Gold Label 1997 (website) is a blend containing 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir with grapes that are selected from 7 crus, aged for 5 years. Though it’s not a very expressive nose here, it has a moderately strong acidity on the palate, and it tastes quite young. Firm mousse, brutally youthful. This needs a few more years but it has great potential. $80
- Lanson Noble Cuvée Blanc de Blanc Vintage 1997 (The Nobel label is part of Lanson’s prestige cuvée line, sourced only from grand cru vineyards, which is a reserve blend typically of 60-70% Chardonnay and 30-40% Pinot Noir.) It is 100% Chardonnay; light yellow in color; delicate, creamy lemon, apple nose. It’s tasty, rich, creamy, floral, with flavors of apple and lemon with a medium bodied finish. $179.99
- Lanson Nobel Cuvée Rosé (The Nobel label is part of Lanson’s prestige cuvée line, sourced only from grand cru vineyards, which is a reserve blend typically of 60-70% Chardonnay and 30-40% Pinot Noir.) A blend of 62% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir. To the eye, it has a luminous, light pink color, filled with a myriad of fine bubbles. The nose has aromas of roses, berry-like fruits that develop notes of cherry. On the palate, it is dense without being heavy. $129.99 (If you’re looking for the high end Lanson Champagnes, go to a very respectable wine shop (e.g. Sherry Lehmann and they should be able to order it for you.)
Taittinger NV Brut La Francaise
This is a very elegant and delicate Champagne. This clear Champagne is very tasty. It opens with a pleasant doughy/yeasty bouquet. On the palate, this Champagne is acidic, refined, and elegant. The finish is long and dry. Really terrific Champagne. (Originally $51.95 but on sale for $39.95 at Sherry-Lehmann)
Devaux (website) Founded in 1846 by the Devaux brothers, Jules and Auguste, the company was run for several decades by Madame Veuve A. Located in the Côte des Bar, Côte des Blancs and Vitry, the vineyards are spread over 1,500 hectares (3,750 acres) with more than 800 associated wine farmers all contributing top-quality (much of it Premier Cru) grapes to the production of Champagne Devaux. Wines from the “D” range are vineyard-selected from the best sites and blended with barrel-aged reserve wines from only the finest vintages. (Note: Not yet available in retail stores in the East Coast. But it’s available online via BevMo!)
- Devaux Cuvee D This Champagne Pinot Noir dominating it; it is full bodied with rich, creamy toasty flavors along with a superb grace and elegance. $65.99
- D de Devaux le Rosé Had cranberry and a little licorice aroma. The palate was simple and fresh with some strawberry flavors. Then it transform into a strawberry milkshake flavor before they are stopped by a lovely sweet anise end note. $74.99
- Millesime D 2002 This 100% Chardonnay wine is a deliberate move away from the Pinot Noir dominant house style. A very interesting and intriguing nose, clean at first and then some smoke, but a nice, butter and melon aroma. The palate is full, but still fresh, with grapefruit pith and a bit of a chalky, yeasty element. It is still a young Champagne and needs some aging in the cellar but has great potential. $89.99
Thiénot (website) is founded in 1985 and based in Taissy, near from Reims. For a relatively young Champagne house, their Champagne is quite good and pairs very well with food. Though their Champagne is not available yet in the United States for retail at this time, I do think they can do well with their very fine Champagnes.
- Thiénot NV Brut Their NV Brut is 45% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Muniere. It has nice aromas and an almost creamy mouthfeel despite being a non-vintage and probably not aged as long. $65
- Thiénot NV Rosé was clean with a light foam. It was 75% Pinot Noir and it was one of the ones that was made by adding 7% still wine Pinot to it. $70
- Alain Thiénot Cuvée Vintage 1999 Is a prestige cuvée that had some toasty brioche and citrus notes and finished with a surprising youthfulness. Elegant and fresh, this great champagne fruity aromas. Aromatic and delicate, it shows structured palate. $160