It comes highly recommended

I purchased this bottle for the partner, because I lost a bet. I bet the partner a bottle of wine that when I was locked up the NHS would cock-up getting me to psychotherapy. A good bet, I thought, but I lost. This, we are told, is pure Pinot Noir from a 1.49ha vineyard which produces 8900 bottles per year. It is secondarily fermented to a low pressure (4 Bar) and has no dosage.

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Champagne Blanc de Noirs Brut ‘Inflorescence’, Jean-Pierre Bouchard (aka Roses de Jeanne)

By arse, this has an amazing nose. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but I am smitten. Buttered ciabatta, possibly, or something Pinot Gris-like? There is much in the way of fruit there. It really smells like a deep, intense and complex wine, rather than a just another bottle of fizz. I mean, tits, man! This is ace! (Not ace-hole.) The palate is really great. Dense and complex, powerful and weighty but absolutely refined and balanced. It is truly excellent. The light, refined, fine mousse seems of almost secondary importance, which is odd for fizz, so stylish and god-damned pleasing is its powerful vinous character. That top geezer Jeremy told me about this, a top recommendation. I’ll recommend it when I am feeling together enough for more wine recommendations. It is a freaking triple-A bottle of wine; I want more. And I am pleased to report it is better and cheaper than Egly-Ouriet’s Blanc de Noirs.

  • David Strange

    When I texted him to report on the brilliance of his recommendation, Jeremy rang me to tell me his theory on the zero dosage. Apparently M. Bouchard has crazily low yields for Champagne, ~25hl/ha. At that level, the grapes will be riper and so have higher potential alcohol. Thus, if he’d given it normal dosage, it’d ferment out to about 13.5% and be the world’s fizziest wine. That would be less nice. Hence we applaud zero dosage.

  • David Strange

    I realised that with the aid of a calculator and the knowledge of 8900 bottles from 1.49ha the yield for this must be ~45hl/ha. This is still laughably low, just crazy, for Champagne.

  • Jeremy

    Your confusing dosage and secondary fermentation old chap. The dosage does not result in any extra CO2 as it is done at disgorgement. I was thinking more of the addition of sugar and yeast that comes at bottling and which he must keep low so as to stay near the targeted 12.5%. High alcohol in Champagne is typically awful, carried as it is by the carbon dioxide.

    Very pleased you are enjoying this.

  • ed tully

    Is it just me or does champagne seem a more delicious drink than before? As in “me” because I am old and need the jolt of acidity to get me excited or “champagne” because it is better than it was before? This is, of course, a very fascinating topic for general discussion and I shall be offended if there isn’t a flood of entries.

  • David Strange

    I think it is you, old bean. Remember how good the Salon 82 was? Or the various Pol 88s? Bolly 85 was simply great.

  • Peter

    I like Ed’s notion that we may enjoy Champagne more as we get older. It gives me hope.

  • ed tully

    Thanks Peter! As for David’s reminder I am pretty sure everything tasted better then as I had fewer points of comparisons or prejudice. Impossible to prove but I would say the 96’s are better than those Eighties vintages. More to the point, to what extent do our tastes change over time? There are very few moments now where champagne doesn’t seem like the best idea possible in a way that did not used to be true.

  • David Strange

    OK, 96 may be a great vintage, but I think to generalise from that to Champagne being the best idea possible seems to be going too far. There are so many good ideas when it comes to popping a bottle; opening Claret not being one of them, of course.

    Fewer points of comparison… Hmmm… We drank hilariously well and copiously at Oxford, remember the 3000+ year?

  • Peter

    I have such happy memories of those 80s vintages that I really can’t bring myself to knock them. And yes, ’96 is lovely too, and I hope we will be enjoying them for years to come. I think one or two vertical tastings would be a good idea (if we could muster the vintages). Among my great Champagne moments are the ’79 Clos de Mesnil that David foolishly didn’t turn up for at your place in Oxford, Ed. And the ’14 Pol. I certainly think the style of Champagne has changed since then – I can’t believe it was all down to the advanced age.

    Champagne is a great idea. Funnily, the wine I most miss in my deprived life here in the Balkans, the one I most crave when I return to civilisation, is Riesling. Taylor’s Landlord seemed like a superlative idea at James’s wedding as well.

    As to how our taste changes. I imagine it’s much like many other areas of human activity (sport, sex, intellectual pursuits). While our forces are at their peak early in life, we are let down then by our lack of experience. As we age and learn, we reach a point of balance – our prime, our peak, when our youthful ability and enthusiasm have not fully deserted us, and are complimented by our experience. But then, as we become old and knackered, experience is no longer sufficient to make up for it. But let’s not be downhearted. I expect to be enjoying fine things for decades to come. Just don’t expect me to distinguish between my ’88s and my ’96s.

  • David Strange

    Ah Peter speaks with the wisdom of one who’s see it all happen:)

    You’ve got some 88s left? What? What? Some of those 88s, like the mag of Pol we had on my 30th, and the bottle of PR we had on my 35th, were truly brilliant. Krug 88 was amazing, too.

  • Peter

    Alas, I was talking about my hypothetical 88s, which are really not of much use. Sorry to get your hopes up, only to dash them.

    Yes, that PR we had on your 35th ranks among the great Champagne moments.

  • ed tully

    Being smug suits me, so I am happy to tell you all I still have a bottle of PR 88 and two bottles of the vintage. As for our 3000+ years – ah, the honeyed life of youth – perhaps you have erased from your memory the unpleasant fact that more than half of those were clarets, and mostly not even very good clarets, tasted on behalf of the colleges. Another third was Preece Chardonnay. We drank at least seven hundred bottles of that! As for the wise words of the perptual kid (who doesn’t seem to age. Peter Pan!)yes, Riesling is a glorious thing and certainly to be sniffed at.

  • David Strange

    Yes, there was too much crap, over-priced Claret but what about tastings such as, say, when Katarina Prum came with Loeb and let us try the 96s? Or the Layton’s tasting where we ate all of their roast beef? Or all of those Yapp tasting where we necked Clape and Chave? Happy times, eh?

    The 88s are at the peak of utter pleasure, don’t wait too long before you drink them, Mr T.

    When I was in Alaska after a couple of months of no wine I thought what I really wanted to drink was horribly oaky Australian Chardonnay. Then I found a shop that had 85 Prum in stock, and I knew then I needed Riesling. Riesling is second in the annuals of brilliance after Pinot Noir. Champagne can be good, but Pinot and Riesling are the way forward.

  • Ed Tully

    Not second, I would say. But equally necessary. No need to rank thinks of wonder. The same wine is not always the best wine.

  • Peter

    I think we’re essentially in agreement. We like Riesling. We like Pinot Noir. And we like Champagne. What we need to discuss is Claret.

  • David Strange

    Why on Earth would we want to discuss something as utterly miserable and depressing as Claret? All one needs to know about Claret is encapsulated in my rant here: http://elitistreview.com/PermaLink,guid,ee7b5931-55ac-475e-8f1c-b6339cc81a05.aspx

  • ed tully

    Well done, Peter! You have succesfully goaded the beast. He can’t help himself as his ludicrous prejudice completely overwhelms him. Mind you, we have all seen David drool over claret in years gone past (years when he says he had more of a clue)so he really is an awful little hypocrite. He has a scientist’s perverse desire to measure everything. Just one little step to becoming Parker with numbers replaced by body parts. e.g. Tits! = 90. The Tits man! = 90+ and so on.

  • Peter

    I listened to your rant, David. If you did it in a Northern Irish accent, and replaced the word “Claret” with “Papist”, you’d be Ian Paisley.

  • David Strange

    Are Papists dry, hard and tough? Peter has suggested that he is going to work on me until I like Claret and then try and get me to like white Bordeaux. This is just awful. Claret is bad enough but dry white Bordeaux is second only to white Rioja in the hurl-tastic stakes.

    Let us not stoop to personal attacks, eh? Despite being highly opinionated, I am a fragile flower, alas. I think people fail to realise that sometimes. Paranoid schizophrenia makes it hard to interpret things.