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Champagne

Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut

Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut NV

Pale lemon yellow, Laurent-Perrier's classically-styled non-vintage brut opens with a cheerful torrent of cascading, brisk bubbles. It’s a clean champagne, full of luscious pear, baked apple, whipped butter, and dusted in granulated honey. Palate cleansing without too much sapidity from the dosage, it closes with a slight mineral edge, and a touch of chamomile flower. Sample Champagne Laurent-Perrier 8.9 Points ...

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Longitude Premier Cru NV

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Longitude Premier Cru NV

Pierre Larmandier's wines are pure and terroir-driven. This superb bottling of the Longitude Premier Cru Extra Brut is composed of 100% Chardonnay sourced from Vertus, Oger, Avize, and Cramant, with 40% of the blend coming from 2010 reserve. Poached pear, baked apple, lemon sorbet, and chalk are slowly released by a clinquant mousse. In the mouth—buoyant shards of fractal light—it's very subtle, with length held in suspension by limestone, seafoam, earth, and nuanced pear. Sample Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 9.1 Points ...

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...

Drappier Champagne Rosé Brut Nature Dosage Zero NV

Champagne Drappier Rosé Brut Nature Dosage Zero NV

In honor of #ChampagneDay, though really isn't every day well suited for a bubbly pink such as this? Drappier's Brut Nature Rosé is a merry kaleidoscope of red berries, blood oranges, pink grapefruit, wet chalk, and oyster shell. There's no dosage in this bottle and, of note, it's unfiltered—the sort of deep pink that is more akin to Spanish Rosados, there is much to love in this glass—it's lean and tensile, but also balanced. Rose petals and pink grapefruit zest emerge at the close. Sample Champagne Drappier 9.0 Points...

Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Cuvée Rosé NV

Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut Cuvée Rosé NV

The color of this pretty brut rosé exactly matches the label, I'm sure that's intentional. It's fine-boned and delicate with convivial seed pearl bubbles and aromas of ripe raspberries, tart red currants, blood orange and rose petal. Lively and fresh on entry, Laurent-Perrier's pink shows very little yeast, the merest suggestion wet dough, fleeting and submerged by a cut that's very clean, linear and minerally. Perfect with fish tacos and ceviche from a local Taqueria in Santa Cruz. 12.0% ABV | Sample Champagne Laurent-Perrier 9.1 Points ...

Bérêche & Fils Champagne Brut Réserve NV

Bérêche & Fils Champagne Brut Réserve NV

Served at as the warm up wine (an excellent choice, I might add) at a recent tasting held at Portland's beloved Le Pigeon, Berêche has long been one of my favorite bubblies. This particular bottle, a powerful and slightly yeast-driven Brut Réserve offered up a riotous nose of French baguette, granulated honey, white peach, and white flowers. I love the pent-up energy in this wine—autolytic notes and mineral acidity orbit layers of orchard fruit and stone fruit, until at last they engulf and dominate the close. Maison Bérêche et Fils 9.1 Points...

Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Millésimé 1980

Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Millésimé 1980

This glittery memory of the Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Millésimé 1980 served as a preamble to lunch at the stately home of Jean-Claude Rouzaud, grandson of Louis Roederer. The experience itself, surreal. An unusually warm fall day—with the doors overlooking a small but manicured backyard flung open—even the most palatial homes in Champagne lack air conditioning. And the Champagne, vivid and golden, hardly showing its age, an airy concerto and welcome elixir against the heat. The expression is pure, seamless. Elegant. Billowy aromas of peach and baked apple, jasmine, dried honey, marzipan, and brioche are held aloft on a net of ultra-fine bubbles. The the palate, still quite precise, with slowly-unfurling creaminess and smoky-autolytic notes that curl and crescendo and against a backdrop of limestone chalk. Champagne Louis Roederer 9.7 Points...

Veuve A. Devaux Cuvée D NV

Veuve A. Devaux Cuvée D NV

Happy New Year, dear friends! We celebrated with this bottle of Deveaux Cuvée D, one that I stowed in my suitcase. In the glass it's expansive punctuated by baked apple, bitter walnut shells, and anise pastille. Big, powerful, and vibrant in the mouth with high toned acidity that rolls into a pleasantly bitter and vinous finish of white grapefruit, wet dough, gravel, and shale. Sample Champagne Devaux 9.1 Points...

Veuve A. Devaux Cuvée Rosée Brut NV

Veuve A. Devaux Cuvée Rosée Brut NV

Tasted while visiting Devaux, in the Côte de Bar—the house itself, an historic building just off the bank of the river Seine. Thier non-vintage Cuvée Rosée is tutu pink, with a fine bead it offers a pretty sensor arc of rose petals, anise, red berries and pastille mints. Fresh and convivial on the palate, it's not a rosé Champagne of tremendous depth or power, what it communicates is poise and pleasure. Sample Champagne Devaux 9.0 Points...

Veuve Clicquot Champagne Réserve Brut Rosé NV

Veuve Clicquot Champagne Réserve Brut Rosé NV

The base wine for this salmon-hued sparkler is 2008 and the blend feels Pinot Noir heavy, though I'm unclear of actual percentages in this particular lot. Fresh and vivacious, Veuve Clicquot's basic Brut Rosé offers up a bouquet of strawberries and ripe raspberries, along with a suggestion of white flowers. Red fruit is anchored at the core, it's clean and brisk with a suggestion of minterality carving out a spot on the finish. Sample Champagne Veuve Clicquot 88 Points...