A few months ago the “Les Enfants du Chamagne” met at the “Seta” restaurant at the Hotel Mandarin Oriental, in Milan, awarded with two Michelin stars. The good chef Antonio Guida welcomed us in a room reserved for us, and delighted us with dishes worthy of the champagnes tasted and drunk from the 2008 vintage. Antonio Guida brought us some classic Italian dishes which he reviewed in modern key.
Leo Damiani, a connoisseur of good and renowned high-level Italian cuisine, organized the evening for us, being a friend of the good chef Antonio Guida.
They served us eight courses which were paired with two champagnes each, except for the last course which was served with Pol Roger Winston Churchill. All the champagnes were served blindfolded and their identity was revealed only at the end of the dinner.
It is good to remember that the bottles of the same champagne are different from each other, this means that each has its own history, its identity and its truth. It may happen that one bottle is perfect and another one of the same champagne has less bubbles and / or is a little oxidized. It is also right to consider that, tasting in a group, there is a more attentive and a less attentive taster, for certain details, for example those who like to feel the wood and those who, like me, for example, do not like to feel the intrusiveness of wood. It may happen that I give a champagne a score of 99/100 and that instead of the average of the group ratings the score is 97/100 and vice versa. I must confess that Les Enfants du Champagne are well prepared and normally the ratings vary little.
But let’s get to the pleasant evening. With the first course of “oysters with potatoes, friggitelli peppers and champagne sauce” Krug Cuvèe 164 and Fleur de Passion from Diebolt-Vallois were served.
Followed by “Roasted blue lobster with loazzolo passito zabaglione, white rice and Matcha Tea from Terre du Mesnil-Andre Robert and Les Francs de Pied from Maison Maillart. With” herb risotto with mussel sauce, sea urchins and mackerel “, a tasty and demanding dish, were poured into the glasses” La Grande Dame by Veuve Clicquot “and” Grande Année by Bollinger “. Perfect match!
After a short interval we continued with spaghetti with sea anemones, prawns, black lemon and marinated radish cream “conjugated with Jacquesson-Dizy-Corne Bautray and Perrier Jouet’s Belle Epoque.
Tasty dishes with matching champagnes up to par. With the “Morone with Belgian citrus endive, banana and turmeric sauce” married to the Blanc de blancs of Maison Delamotte and Bruno Paillard, Assemblage. The first champagne was magnificent. The next course was: “Red wine lacquered eel with fatty liver and rosemary sauce” served with Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses and Dom Perignon, typically rich in mineral aromas and flavors.
Moving from fish to white meat we were served the “Chicken breast Ficatum with wasabi cream and seasonal vegetables”, a dish perfectly combined with Cristal and Amour de Deutz, the latter was truly amazing for everyone.
As a last dish we were offered: “Almond with saffron ice cream, tomato water sauce and strawberries” accompanied by a pleasant Wiston Churchill from Maison Pol Roger. Really nice dinner, for the food and for the combinations. Impeccable service.
We were all satisfied and happy for everything.
As always, we are able to have very interesting food and wine experiences. Many times in champagnes it is felt that acidity helps persistence to be longer in taste. Sometimes there are wines with a not so powerful and persistent structure, and acidity intervenes to lengthen its gustatory persistence. A recent example for me was the Belle Epoque vintage 2011 which does not have so much structure that would allow it to have long persistence but the freshness helps it in the length of its persistence, making it particularly pleasant.
As for the 2008 vintage in Champagne, it should be remembered that it was very important, in general, superior to both 2004 and 2006.
The 2008 vintage, in the champagne region, was characterized by gray skies during both winter and spring, with not so much light and with lower temperatures, compared to the first ten years of 2000.
In September, before the harvest, there was a climate change since winds from the north appeared which freed the sky from clouds and gray, leaving room for blue and sun. This allowed the grapes to be ripe and have a perfect balance between hard and soft substances, perfect balance between acidity and sugars and as we know, the generous acidity makes the wines more long-lived. Champagnes, in general, are ready now to be enjoyed and to last in the future. We’ll see !
KRUG GRANDE, CURVÉE 164 eme Edition,
(contains 2008 vintage wine)
(Grapes: 48% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 17% Pinot Meunier)
Straw yellow – gold color, shiny, with fine and numerous bubbles.
On the nose, it is overflowing with pleasant scents. The juniper berry begins intensely accompanied by notes of blond leather, iodine, pastries, brioche, salty, balsamic notes reminiscent of Valda pastiglia, hard shell of almond, toasted peanut and melted butter. Pleasant mouth, rich acidity, fine and caressing bubbles. Flavors of flint (silex) lemon and yellow grapefruit not fully ripe, which gives greater acidity. That’s the beauty of it, because acidity denotes great longevity. The body is medium and the wine is well balanced.
At the end of its long persistence, a slight bitterness is felt, which I relate to the presence of wood. Big nose !.
DIEBOLT – VALLOIS – FLEUR DE PASSION 2008
(Grapes: 100% Chardonnay)
Golden yellow, shiny, with very fine and numerous bubbles.
On the nose, it reveals intense aromas of pear, followed by chamois leather, Vinavil glue, tea that slightly recalls the fish scale, green banana, pine resin, ending with the toasted almond.
When tasted, it feels savory, mineral with fine bubbles. The body is medium enough and is helped by the generous freshness during its long gustatory persistence.
Final taste of citrus and toasted almonds. In the end I felt a little, on the upper gum, the presence of the tannins of the wood.
ANDRÉ ROBERT – TERRE DU MESNIL 2008
(Grapes: 100% Chardonnay)
It is golden yellow in color, has fine and quite numerous bubbles.
Olfactory approach on notes of coconut, white flowers, intense blond leather (it is fresh), coconut glue, (coconut milk and almond), light saltiness, ending with references of dry pastry.
On the palate the bubbles are fine and the body is medium. Well balanced wine, thanks to the measured freshness, which dominates the alcoholic mass. Long, but not very long, is its gustatory persistence with a coconut finish, already felt when it enters the mouth.
NICOLAS MAILLART – LES FRANCS DE PIED 2008
(Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir)
Nice golden yellow, with fine and numerous bubbles. It spreads intense aromas of blond leather and wood in the glass. Followed by pine resin notes, cooked Renetta apple, ripe melon, dry coconut, broken cyclamen stem, coconut glue (coconut milk and almond), ending with ripe banana puffs.
When tasted, the body is medium and the bubbles are fine. Savory, mineral and well balanced wine with lemon and woody flavors.
Its persistence is long with a lemon finish, with a slightly bitter note for the wood.
For me, the nose is superior to the taste.
VEUVE CLICQUOT – LA GRANDE DAME 2008
(Grapes: 92% Pinot Noir and 8% Chardonnay)
Light golden yellow, with fine and quite numerous bubbles.
The olfactory casket opens to intense aromas of blond leather, followed by flint (silex), floral, iodine, brackish, slight pine resin, to end with the sweetness of the outer part of the sugared almond. Persuasive mouth with fine bubbles, with a flint and lemon flavor. The body is medium and the wine, between freshness and alcohol, is well balanced.
Its persistence is long with a citrus finish, a little bit unripe. For me this is still very young.
BOLLINGER – LA GRANDE ANNÉE 2008
(Grapes: 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay)
On the visual it is straw yellow with fine and numerous bubbles.
On the nose Pinot Noir emerges with the typical note of pine resin. Intense aromas of coconut glue (coconut milk and almond) and blond leather follow. The olfactory trail continues with sweet notes reminiscent of the outer part of the sugared almond, dry coconut, biosé, flint (silex) and light renetta apple.
Pleasant, savory, mineral, very citrusy sip. The body is medium and the bubbles are fine. Generous is the acidity that dominates the alcohol mass.
Its gustatory persistence is long with a citrus and woody finish. In the end, the upper gum is felt to dry slightly, due to the taninni of the wood.
JACQUESSON DIZY- CORNE BAUTRAY
(Grapes: 100% Chardonnay)
Light golden yellow coat with fine and numerous bubbles. Intense aromas of blond leather, coconut glue (coconut milk and almond) and ricciarello spread in the air. Moderate tones of renetta apple and starch follow for ironing.
The taste affects the fine bubbles, but mostly for the flavor and minerality. The body is medium and the wine is well balanced with the sapidity, minerality and freshness that dominate the alcoholic mass. Its gustatory persistence is long with a savory and citrusy (lemon) finish. In my notes I wrote: beautiful salinity and lemon. “It has cloth.” Long in flavor and freshness. For me it is a long life champagne.
PERRIER JOUET – BELLE EPOQUE 2008
(Grapes: 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier)
Light golden yellow with fine and quite numerous bubbles.
Saline and mineral notes are felt on the nose, accompanied by intense aromas of Marseille soap and ironing starch. Following the glue Coccoina (coconut milk and almond), grated apple and pear, ending with pastry puffs and rubber gum.
Pleasant taste with bubbles, fine and elegant. The body is medium and the wine is well balanced. Its persistence is long with a slightly unripe apple and pear finish. As I have always said, in this vintage, it is a champagne more of elegance than power.
In the Magnum bottle this champagne, as evolution, is further behind than the 75cl bottle.
DELAMOTTE BLANC DE BLANCS 2008
(Grapes: 100% Chardonnay)
The glass shows the light golden yellow color with very fine and quite numerous bubbles.
Varied and pleasant nose with intense scents of Marseille soap and Coccoina glue, (coconut milk and almond) followed by notes of pastry, sweets, from the outside of the sugared almond, ripe renetta apple with slight references to black berry fruit .
On the palate it is a riot of flavor and minerality. The bubbles are fine and the body is medium. Freshness dominates the alcoholic mass. Its persistence is long with a finish of renetta apple, flint (silex) and light lemon.
BRUNO PAILLARD – ASSEMBLAGE 2008
(Grapes: 43% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier)
Nice golden yellow with quite fine and numerous bubbles. Olfactory mix with aromas, intense blond leather and coscia pear. The olfactory examination continues with tones of pear juice, boisé, dried banana, hydrolyte (it is the powder that transforms natural water into sparkling), pine resin and rubber.
The taste has a medium body and for alcohol and freshness the wine is balanced. Its gustatory persistence is quite long. I personally did not like this bottle very much because I felt a little too much the boisé and I felt a little dry the upper gum, due to the tannins of the wood.
PHILIPPONNAT – CLOS DES GOISSES 2008
(Grapes: 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir)
Light gold yellow dress, shiny. Very fine and quite numerous bubbles.
It manifests scents of flint, pastry, dried banana, coconut glue (coconut milk and almond), fresh celery, parsley, to end with caresses of boiled rice starch.
The taste has fine bubbles, medium body and is sapid and mineral. Balanced wine between alcohol and freshness. Long is its gustatory persistence with a finish of fairly green lemon, pear and apple.
DOM PERIGNON vintage 2008
(Grapes: 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay)
Beautiful bright golden yellow. Very fine and abundant bubbles.
Unmistakable, varied and generous nose with scents of flint (silex), peanut butter, blond leather, popcorn and Marseille soap.
On the palate you can enjoy fine and caressing bubbles. Savory and richly mineral wine. The body is sufficiently medium and the wine is well balanced with the minerality, flavor and freshness which completely dominate the alcoholic mass.
Long is its gustatory persistence with a pleasantly and richly mineral finish.
LOUIS ROEDERER CRISTAL 2008
(Grapes: 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay)
Shiny golden yellow with very fine and numerous bubbles.
On the olfactory examination, intense aromas of dried banana are felt, followed by notes of crushed grape seeds, wood and ripe apple renetta.
On the palate the bubbles are fine and the body is medium. Sapid, mineral and well balanced wine, thanks also to the freshness that dominates the alcoholic mass.
Its persistence is long with a dry banana finish.
DEUTZ AMOUR DE DEUTZ 2008
(Grapes: 100% Chardonnay)
Straw yellow dress, light gold reflections.
The bubbles are very fine and numerous.
Amazing nose, bewitched with lemon aromas, sweets from the outside of sugared almond, sea water (white melon and white part of the watermelon peel), intense flint (silex) and blond leather. On the palate it is surprising because it goes both in width and in depth. The bubbles are fine. The body is medium and the oral cavity is inundated with flavors of lemon, yellow grapefruit and light eggnog. Well balanced wine with imperceptible alcohol. Its gustatory persistence is long with an echo of the flavors already felt upon entering the mouth.
For me it is an amazing champagne and the whole group liked it. We considered it the best champagne of the evening.
POL ROGER WINSTON CHURCHILL 2008
(Grapes: 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay)
It shines very intense golden yellow. The bubbles are very fine and abundant.
Olfactory mix made of scents of graphite, Sole soap, caoutchouc, brackish, mineral, wood, intense dried banana, to end with the broken cyclamen stem.
On the palate the body is medium, sapid and mineral with notes of iodine. Well balanced wine between alcohol and freshness. Its persistence is long with a finish of graphite and flint.
I felt the upper gum dry a little. Wood tannins?
|DEUTZ AMOUR DE DEUTZ||2008||97/100|
|PERRIER JOUET – BELLE EPOQUE||2008||96/100|
|POL ROGER WINSTON CHURCHILL||2008||95/100|
|LOUIS ROEDERER CRISTAL||2008||95/100|
|DOM PERIGNON annata||2008||95/100|
|DELAMOTTE BLANC DE BLANCS||2008||95/100|
|JACQUESSON DIZY- CORNE BAUTRAY||95/100|
|BOLLINGER – LA GRANDE ANNÉE||2008||95/100|
|VEUVE CLICQUOT – LA GRANDE DAME||2008||95/100|
|KRUG GRANDE||CURVÉE 164 eme Edition||94/100|
|DIEBOLT – VALLOIS – FLUR DE PASSION||2008||94/100|
|NICOLAS MAILLART – LES FRANCS DE PIED||2008||94/100|
|PHILIPPONNAT – CLOS DES GOISSES||2008||94/100|
|BRUNO PAILLARD – ASSEMBLAGE||2008||91/100|
|ANDRÉ ROBERT – TERRE DU MESNIL||2008||89/100|