Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 52

YEAR'S BEST CHAMPAGNES
fruit derived from the direct southern exposure to the sun. The oak influence integrates
into the plummy refinement of the flavors
as they open with air. It's an baroque Champagne, with hazelnut scents and the pale
earthiness of fresh puffball mushrooms.
Whether you open it now or several years
from now, it's a wine for the fish course of
a celebratory dinner, especially if there are
wild mushrooms and a cream sauce involved.
279458

94 | Philipponnat

$84

Champagne Royale Réserve Brut Rosé ^
Pinot noir accounts for 75 percent of this
blend, the lovely coppery color pointed up by
red wine from pinot noir grown in Mareuilsur-Aÿ. The wine feels honest, settling from
heady to brisk as the deep, plummy savor
extends into a mineral finish. It lasts with
the gentle delicacy of pinot noir.
279282

93 | Philipponnat

$67

Champagne Royale Réserve Brut ^ Focused
on pinot noir (65 percent, particularly fruit
from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ), this blend includes
up to 30 percent reserve wines aged in oak
barrels. The red fruit comes through in the
wine's scent of currants and in its gentle grip,
its savor combining a sense of transparent
red-grape skins and the refreshing acidity of
fruit grown in limestone.
279457

93 | Philipponnat

its earthy notes of parsnips and minerals. It's
vinous and structured, suppressed under sulfur when first poured. Come back to the bottle hours later and that sulfur is long gone,
the flavors shimmering with freshness.

$67

Champagne Royale Réserve Non Dosé ^
This wine manages to feel plump while
remaining chalk-dry. The flavors are long on
savory notes of white cornmeal, chamomile
and bright, mouthfilling herbal freshness,
riding on a texture rich enough to match
with wild-mushroom risotto.

POMMERY
Négociant-Manipulant in Reims; founded in
1836; owns 712 acres: 34% chardonnay, 33%
pinot noir, 33% pinot meunier; average vine
age: 22 years; oldest vines: 60 years. Cellarmaster/Vigneron: Clément Pierlot; 415,000
cases produced. § Imported by Vranken Pommery America, NY

279442

90 | Pommery

BERNARD REMY
Négociant-Manipulant in Allemant (Côte
de Sézanne and Côte des Blancs); founded
in 1968; owns 27 acres: 50% pinot noir, 45%
chardonnay, 5% meunier; average vine age:
35 years; oldest vines: 50 years. Cellarmaster:
Rudy Rémy; 14,000 cases produced. § Imported
by Shiverick Imports, Los Angeles, CA
279325

88 | Bernard Rémy

91 | Pommery

$59

Champagne Apanage Blanc de Blancs ^ This
wine's chardonnay focus comes through in
52

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

$44

Champagne Grand Cru Brut (Best Buy) ^
This wine's fine bubbles carry ripe apple
scents up out of the glass. It buzzes with acidity, which enlivens the hazelnut and green tea
notes in the finish. A little salty, a little yeasty,
it will take on a trotter terrine.

LOUIS ROEDERER
Récoltant-Manipulant in Reims; founded in
1776; owns 593 acres: 53% pinot noir, 41%
chardonnay, 6% pinot meunier; average vine
age: 30 years; oldest vines: 70+ years. Cellarmaster: Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon; Vigneron:
Johann Merle; 300,000 cases produced. §
Imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines,
Oakland, CA
279316

98 | Louis Roederer

279441

$66

Champagne Royal Brut Rosé ^ This gains its
pale pink color from the red wine added to
the blend, bringing sour-cherry notes to the
flavors of tangy lime and limestone. It's clean
and generous, improving markedly with air,
suited to brunch with cold poached salmon.

$552

2012 Champagne Cristal Rosé ^ Some wines
have an inherent energy, so their flavors not
only align in a recognizable pattern, but also
interact in a recognizable way. Perhaps that
recognition is a signal that the wine is more
than just a delicious drink. The energy in
Cristal Rosé converts the umami power of
its black-skinned grapes into bright raspberry freshness; it transforms the earthiness

of those grapes into a limestone veil, creating
delicacy out of pale rock. The energy extends
the flavors of the wine so that each time you
return to the glass, the transparent fruit
continues to deepen, from thimbleberry to
strawberry and raspberry, gaining intensity
while remaining transparent. It's the kind of
dynamic energy that can survive in an eightyear-old wine if the fruit is farmed in a sweet
spot-in the case of Cristal Rosé, pinot noir
planted in the 1960s in Aÿ, and chardonnay
from Avize, all from midslope parcels, all
from chalk soils. The wine's color comes from
the grape skins, macerated just long enough
to infuse the juice without adding perceptible tannins. Concentrated and ripe, this is a
nourishing vintage of Cristal Rosé. Its subtle
power will sustain the wine for decades.
279313

95 | Louis Roederer

$270

94 | Louis Roederer

$91

2012 Champagne Cristal ^ Jean-Baptiste
Lécaillon reports that 2012 was the first vintage for Cristal for which he and his team
had converted all of the vineyards to biodynamics, having achieved that goal for Cristal
Rosé in 2007. He says it was a watershed year
for his team: Of the 111 acres they were farming under biodynamics, they lost 25 to powdery mildew. They considered giving up on
it, but in the end, they not only figured out
what had gone wrong, but were inspired by
the quality of the remaining fruit to increase
the practice to 160 acres. The purity of this
wine sustains the crispness and freshness of
a late-summer apple picked directly off the
tree. Its layered concentration of chalk and
fruit starts out as a tense buzz before it opens
to a racy and ethereal flavor that gives no sign
of repose anytime soon.
279311
2012 Champagne Philippe Starck Brut
Nature ^ Coming after 2006 and 2009, this is
the third vintage of Roederer's Brut Nature,
a wine Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon makes in collaboration with Philippe Starck. Its production is determined by the years when pinot
noir, meunier and chardonnay ripen at the
same time, so they can be harvested together
and cofermented. It grows in the clay soils of
Cumières, what Lécaillon describes as "the
dark side," a contrast to the chalk terroirs
that provide Cristal. The 2012 starts out with
earth tones, scents of mushrooms and dark
spice. And like prior vintages of this wine, it
keeps gaining complexity with each successive day open. From a tough and powerful
structure, it turns luscious, generous, its flavors of white nectarine carried with a youthfully staccato energy. It's a wine to decant,
or to cellar.


https://www.champagnepommery.com/wines/brut/cuvee-brut-rose-royal https://www.champagnepommery.com/wines/brut/cuvee-brut-blanc-de-blancs

Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 7
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 8
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 9
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 10
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 11
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 12
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 101
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 103
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 104
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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