Best of the Bub­bles

The top cham­pagnes tasted in 2016 still un­der­line the great­ness of the in­cred­i­ble 2002 vin­tage, yet there were a num­ber of sur­prises from more re­cent vin­tages, such as 2004 and 2009, writes james­suck­ con­tribut­ing editor Nick Stock. He tasted al­mos

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life Wine -

Bollinger rd ex­tra Brut 2002 Fine citrus nose with plenty of lemon, grape­fruit and yel­low chalky notes, not to men­tion some lighter flo­ral el­e­ments. The palate is su­per dry and there’s a silky, sher­bet-like tex­ture that makes this smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavours give way to the surg­ing acid­ity, and the fin­ish twists very slowly through to lightly toasted cashew nuts min­gled with com­plex fruit and citrus flavours. Dis­gorged Oc­to­ber 22, 2013.

99 points Sa­lon cu­vée S Blanc De Blancs le mes­nil 2004 Weaves to­gether im­mense com­plex­ity with stun­ning pu­rity. In­stant im­pact on the nose with fresh-baked pas­try and brioche, chalky min­er­als, fresh white mush­room, cu­cum­ber, lemon curd and strik­ing lemon and lime fruit. The palate has an al­most smoky min­eral thread, while toasty au­tolytic flavours build and ex­pand through the mid­palate, open­ing to grape­fruit and ripe white peach, lemon sor­bet and lightly grilled hazel­nuts to close. 98 points Bil­le­cart-salmon cu­vée nicolas François Bil­le­cart Brut 2002 Very com­posed nose with gen­tly spiced pas­try, bright straw­berry and cherry, and spiced brulée cus­tard and pra­line. Deep-set com­plex­ity. The palate has a bright, crunchy, as­sertive burst of peach and lemon on en­try, while the pinot takes the mid­palate with fleshy white cherry and smooth phe­no­lics that hold through to the fin­ish with gen­tly nutty mush­room and cher­rypip flavours. Great bal­ance and power. 98 points louis roed­erer cristal 2009 A very rich and full-bod­ied Cristal that harks back to 2006 or 1989 in style. It’s round and rich, which un­der­lies the ripeness of the vin­tage. Lots of dried ap­ple and pineap­ple char­ac­ter, with bread dough and flan flavours. The bub­bles are so fine you al­most don’t no­tice them. Very vi­nous style. Open. Ready. Drink now. 97 points

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