I hosted a wine tasting last night, people didn’t get as many right as I had hoped. Mind you, tasting Champagne is always really foxy, especially when, like these wines, they had a bit of cellar age on them. I had aged all three for three and a half years since I purchased them. The Cornas were both damned good.
Champagne Grand Siecle, Laurent-Perrier
A lovely, polished complex nose, smells a bit of fishy Pinot and tinny, but mainly rich, complex, stylish aromas. This is a lot better than when it was fresh from the shelf. The palate was very complex and smooth, with a fine mousse and a good, long finish. This was quite delicious, well worth the £35 it cost.
Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Billecart-Salmon
Quite anonymous on the nose. There is not much there apart from a bit of egg and toast. Age has made this less expressive; weird. The palate was very direct and linear, with a good creamy minerality and lots of nice fruit on the finish. However, it was a touch direct. I found it a bit hard work on the old stomach for not much reward.
Champagne Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru, Egly-Ouriet
Oh this is so difficult. Really hard. You see, the thing is every Egly-Ouriet wine I’ve had I’ve hated so I have sort of decided I hate Egly-Ouriet, yet this wine was truly excellent. It had a dense nose of red fruit and rich soiliness. Yet it still seemed very light and refined on the nose. Lovely complex flavours here. The palate had real weight, plenty of fruit, but great acidity and vivacity. The finish had a touch of meat about it, but the acidity and minerality were also present making this a lively, exciting wine. I am sure a bit of age helped it. This was quite delicious. Shame the wine is so expensive these days. Still, the only Egly-Ouriet wine I can recommend (up until now).
Cornas 1998, Clape
A lovely, herbal, meaty nose which strangely has a hint of arseholes about it. There is a hint of greenness, but loads and loads of lovely ripe fruit. A good grind of pepper is in there. It is extremely complex and not lacking any style. The palate has a huge tannic structure, interlaced with herbal pepperiness and masses of dark fruit. Very complex, but a tad angular. Great length, with real complexity on the finish. Quite delicious.
Cornas “Domaine de Rochepertuis” 1998, Jean Lionnet
Wow, what a nose! Silky, sexy ripe fruit, earth, pepper and bags of class. This smells polished and hedonistic. Real class here, and yet it is very Cornas. The palate has a lot of tannin, but it is very ripe and integrates with the bags of lovely, lovely fruit very well. Many flavours seemlessly play across your palate as you taste this. Not as angular as the Clape, but I suppose some pedants may not find this Cornasy enough. Excellent, up for drinking now over the next seven years.
It had been playing on my mind as to which Cornas would be better. Votes at the tasting were two each leaving me with the deciding vote. I have to say I lean toward the Lionnet. It just has a bit more class and style. Don’t get me wrong I loved the Clape and thought it worth every penny, but the Lionnet is just a bit sexier. Half the price, too, not that these things matter so much on Elitist Review…