On Thursday, Gary, Heather and I had the unique opportunity to sample current and upcoming releases from Veuve Cliquot with Chef De Caves Dominique DeMarville and longtime rep Lester Lopez. You know that you have seen Lester at our Tent Events. Very tall guy with a similar haircut to mine. That is, shall we say, clean shaven.
We started in the fairly early a.m. (9) so that our palates would be fresh. Mine was as fresh as someone’s my age can be! We started at the top of the heap with the 2006 Grande Dame Brut ($149.99) and the 2006 Grande Dame Brut Rose (soon to be released). Unlike most 2006 vintage champagnes that I have tasted, they tend to run very rich and full in character, both of these Grande Dames showed amazing minerality. The Brut is slight more pinot noir dominant (53% with 47% chardonnay) and is big and mouthfilling with a fleshy mid-palate of white fruits, cream and toast. The finish is very clean and bright with crisp minerality. Beautifully balanced. The Brut Rose had orange peel/orange marmalade and smoke on the nose with bright red fruits, more orange and spice on the palate. Like it’s sister wine, this one also has wonderful minerality and chalk on the finish. Same varietal blend as the Brut. Will age magnificently! Another big treat was the 2008 Vintage Gold Label Brut Reserve. That’s right! We are some of the first people in the US to taste this. It has a very clean nose but, rich apple fruit and cream sneak up on you and push their way through the minerals. Golden, yellow fruits and almonds on the palate. Again, the bright, bright finish with minerals and chalk. Next, we tasted the 2004 Vintage Gold Label Reserve ($64.99), the current offering. This one is a big contrast to the 2008 in the nose with rich caramel and nuts and lemon meringue. Apples, pears and oak on the finish with a bright fino sherry note on the finish. A very solid release! Our last selection was the 2008 Vintage Brut Rose, which has not been released. Again, so exciting to be previewing these wines! A tangerine/raspberry nose with fine minerality and salininty. It also has that VC hint of smoke with tart red boysenberry fruit and a touch of quince and pomegranate. Super, super fresh and clean. This wasn’t exactly the worst way to spend an early Thursday morning, was it? Someone has to do it! Hey! This job isn’t so bad, after all! ;)