Our over $100 Champagnes prove the big houses are still setting the standard, writes John Saker.
THE DENIZENS OF Champagne were the progenitors of the bottle-fermented style of sparkling wine and remain well installed as the perennial standard setters. Our over $100 Champagne bracket contains many of the finest styles they are able to produce, wines that are synonymous the world over with excellence and prestige. These wines, and those in the $100 & Under Champagne category, were all tasted together blind by the Cuisine panel and only separated out after their star ratings had been awarded.
The tasting panel
For this sparkling wine tasting, John Belsham, an international wine judge and owner of Foxes Island Wines in Marlborough, was joined by ownerdirector of Oenotec Pty Ltd, Australian Dr Tony Jordan. Tony has enjoyed an illustrious career at the top of the sparkling wine world with various roles at Moët Hennessy, Domaine Chandon, Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay. Rounding out the tasting panel was John Saker, author and Cuisine wine writer.
Cellaring recommendations are not given for the Champagnes and sparkling wines reviewed in this issue, as they arrive on the market ready to drink. A few may surprise with longer bottle age, especially younger examples of vintage wines, but most are released with enough age already.
THIS WINE ELICITED high scores and fulsome praise from every member of the panel. It was the oldest Champagne at the tasting but you wouldn’t know it in the way it sashayed across the palate with charm and vigour. The flavours are amazing – citrus, pencil shavings and a subtle smokiness. “Lingering and beautiful,” opined Tony Jordan
Half wine, half legend – which this 2006 version certainly lives up …2
A Champagne with a great success record at Cuisine, this vintage being …3
Taittinger’s famous non-vintage blend of fruit from grand cru sites (chardonnay from …4
This captivating rosé has that classic, bronzed “partridge eye” hue. Attractive developed …5