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Champagne Grand Cru

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Vieille Vigne de Cramant Grand Cru 2006

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Vieille Vigne de Cramant Grand Cru 2006

Walnut skins, curling yellow parchment paper, roasted yellow apples, poached pear, and honeysuckle. Larmandier-Bernier's Vieille Vigne de Cramant Grand Cru 2006 always feels autumnal to me and masterfully constructed. Subtle oxidation, ultra-fine mousse and quarried vinosity on the finish makes this a somewhat austere Champagne. One feels compelled to study it, the graceful lines and branching sexpartite ribs, transverse arches, and dappled, dusty sunlight filtered through clerestory windows, it's weightless, timeless charm. 12.5% ABV Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 9.4 Points...

Henri Giraud Champagne Hommage à François Hémart Grand Cru Brut NV

Henri Giraud Champagne Hommage à François Hémart Grand Cru Brut NV

Henri Giraud Champagne Hommage à François Hémart Grand Cru Brut" width="200" height="200" /></a>I'm a fan of Henri Giraud, perhaps more so after meeting Claude Giraud at the International Pinot Noir Festival last year. The winery has embarked on serious research with respect to revitalizing the Argonne Forest and at the same time, re-establishing a local cooperage. The Hommage à François Hémart Grand Cru Brut NV is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay—it's rather serious in its expression, with a piercing vein of chalky acidity that radiates cleanly through the core, giving lift to smoky yellow apples, bosc pear, and peach notes. Sample Champagne Henri Giraud 9.1 Points...

Clos Cazals Champagne Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut 2002

Clos Cazals Champagne Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut 2002

From the sublime 2002 vintage, the Clos Cazals Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut is fabulous. Suffuse, enveloping notes of apple tartin, toasted hazelnuts, molasses, and creme sherry allude to a wine of serious character. And indeed, it's taught as a drawn bow, with the sort of tension that is only eased in a torrent of creamy bubbles, layers of brioche and bruised orchard fruit and, of course, a chalky, mineral-driven finish. Oh yes, I'll have that second glass. Champagne Clos Cazals 9.2 Points...

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Vieille Vigne De Cramant Grand Cru NV

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Vieille Vigne De Cramant Grand Cru NV

The Vieille Vigne De Cramant Grand Cru NV is a rounder, fuller Larmandier-Bernier, brimming over with with ripe fruit character. Luscious notes of red apple skins, buttered croissant, rum cake and smoke. Dark gold in the glass, with a fine, fine mousse and a lovely touch of age. It's quite sensual, modestly fleshy and graced with sun-drenched orchard fruit, grilled peaches, honey, biscuits, and ginger. It's only at the finish, that the minerality shines through, like a single hanging note. Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 9.2 Points...

Camille Savès Champagne Brut Millesimé Grand Cru 2004

Camille Savès Champagne Brut Millesimé Grand Cru 2004

This has to be the the best Bouzy Champagne I've tasted thus far—Camille Savès Brut Millesimé Grand Cru 2004 is a lush blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Aromatics of toffee, crystalline honey, white flowers and orange peel portend flavors on the palate. Full and expansive, with nice energy and verve, there is the most lovely, invigorating hit of fresh minced ginger on the back palate, along with Cameo apple, wet dough and a slightly minerally, and persistent finish. Champagne Camille Savès 9.1 Points...

Jean Milan Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Grand Réserve 1864 NV

Jean Milan Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Grand Réserve 1864 NV

From the highly acclaimed Oger region, the Jean Milan Grand Cru Grand Réserve 1864 is a blend of 100% Chardonnay from the 2003 and 2004 vintages. Add to the equation eight years of aging on the lees, and you've got a wine with both dimension and power. Lofty aromas of honey, cinnamon raisin bread, white gardenia, peach, and smoke. The attack is focused and brisk, and dare I say it—an almost laser-like focus. It's pretty spare fruit-wise, with racy lemon pith, rich texture, and a glorious, vinous finish. Tasted March 2015. Champagne Jean Milan 9.4 Points...

Michel Gonet Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Grand Cru NV

Michel Gonet Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Grand Cru NV

My favorite Champagne of the night at #PBFW, the Michel Gonet Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV offers layered complexity on the nose and palate. Heady aromas of brioche, graham cracker, poached pear, and apple pie. The bead is quite fine, like seed pearls embroidered on golden-threaded brocade. It's sappy and intense, with a singular cord of acidity giving lift to quince and dried fig notes along with penetrating flavors of smoke and sea salt on a protracted finish. 12.5% ABV Sample Champagne Michel Gonet 9.2 Points...

Billecart-Salmon Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

Billecart-Salmon Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV

The NV Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs is a blend of Chardonnay from five Grand Cru sites: Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Oger. While not as expansive as their vintage Champagnes, the non-vintage Grand Cru is delicate and precise. Translucent goldenrod yellow in the glass with a fine, persistent bead and overtly pretty notes of golden delicious apple, fresh d'Anjou pear, and quince. Crisp and clean on the palate with a light touch of brioche and minerals, it reminds me of spring. Sample Champagne Billecart-Salmon 8.9 Points...

Jean Lallement Champagne Cuvée Réserve NV

Jean Lallement Champagne Cuvée Réserve NV

From 60-year-old vines, the oldest on Lallement's tiny, four hectare estate, the Brut Cuvée Reserve is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. This lovely Cuvée shows the winemakers touch, with a fine mousse and creamy texture. Aromas of brioche, red berries, toasted nuts and spring flowers. Subtle and pleasing, with minerality and chalk, balanced acidity and a medium plus finish. Champagne Jean Lallement 9.0 Points...

Corbon Grand Grand Cru Brut Millésimé 2004

Corbon Grand Cru Brut Millésimé 2004

From Avize, Corbon's Grand Cru Brut Millésimé 2004 has spent eight years aging on the lees. The color of spring daffodils, it’s equally vibrant and joyous, requiring little in the way of coaxing (me swirling the glass) rich aromas of warm croissant, salt water taffy, roasted nuts, brown butter and dried apples unfurl in happy unison. A lovely, fine mousse leads into a wine that is equally endowed with weighty texture and crisp acidity. It ends on a clean, slightly chalky note. Champagne Corbon 9.1 Points  ...