Champagne is going green. The CIVC has approved a new bottle (2 oz total weight) reducing the region’s CO2 output by 8,000 metric tons. Champagne is also staying very commercially minded. Despite a very difficult start to the 2012 harvest, Philipponnat, Dom Perignon, Bollinger and others will release vintage wines. New in non vintage releases are the precise, muscular, yet graceful nv Philipponnat Grand Blanc de Blancs $60, yeasty and deeply toasty with notes of almond butter and lemon crème brulee, the nv Delamotte Brut $50, aka Baby Salon, elegant, ethereal almost, as it is primarily Grand Cru Chardonnay, and the nv Gaston Chiquet Cuvee de Reserve Brut $70, which offers lovers of mature Champagne notes of honey and lanolin owing to “reserves” of ’01 and ’04 cuvees in the blend. The finish is bracing and clean. The nv Gosset Brut Grande Reserve $70, based on ’05 and made with a sprinkling of Fromenteau, Petit Meslier, and Arbanne, is a lively, layered, very powerful Champagne that is rich enough for Lamb, as are the biodynamically-farmed nv Fleury Carte Rouge Brut $45, a breathtaking, intense cuvee of Pinot Noir, and the powerful, seductive nv Fleury Rosé de Saignée Brut $78. Another must have is the well-loved nv Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Brut $100, pretty in appearance but book smart underneath – it is exclusively Grand Cru Pinot Noir.
Finesse is the order of the day with the classic nv Pol Roger Brut Reserve $65, while the edgy, razor sharp non-dosed and therefore bone dry nv Pol Roger Pure Brut $75 is ideal for crudo or that old standby, caviar. Get your geek on – the nv Chartogne-Taillet Les Barres Extra Brut $105 is made from ungrafted 60-year old vine Pinot Meunier, a grape that is getting much attention in Champagne these days, at least when it is old-vine. Polar opposite in style is the nv Feuillatte D’Luscious Demi-Sec Rose $59, for that huge swathe of America that can’t get enough sweet in their wine.
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