Monday, 30 May 2011


The flare, the patent of the label and all the fuss this iconic bottle wine comes in a glass bottle just like any other.

Let´s not assess the peculiar history but reflect on our last and very recent experience of it.

I am lost for words. 

...............there is a strange void of what should be filled with impression of this ......drink.

just get someone else to buy it for you.


Sunday, 29 May 2011


When I first heard of this cuvee I dismissed it because it was a straight Chardonnay and at that time I had no great interest in wines of this spec. Nevertheless I had bought it and several years later I managed to get a bottle of the 1988 and drank it in 2005. The one resting in my cellar was a 1996, sublime vintage, so a year later I was expecting a return of the greatness I experienced with 1988. 1988 was divine, lush, soft, elegant, no sign of age, ripe but not too big, mousse just perfection and seductive like a nice blonde. So invariably my expectations rocketed and the 96 was chilled and in the summer of 06 I opened a bottle only to notice the difference between the two vintages. Unlike 88 the 96 was robust, rich, opulent and strangely almost explosive. Very citrus driven, with hints of limes and minerality. The minerality was present in the 88 but in character it was far more seductive and just downright happy whereas the 96 was like a shocking slap in the face. Then I tasted the 2000 and I found it similar to the 96 but the last bottle I tasted the 02 I was back on the ride of seductive elegance, soft tickling of fragrant citrus and jolly enthusiasm of happiness and how can anyone ever have a favourite Champagne I ask?



Sometimes I do analyse and some times I could not give a rat´s arse about whatever comes my way in any way or in form of Champagne, so when I was in Oslo looking for dinner drinks I found Dethune Extra Brut purely by coincidence and by some stroke of luck cheaper than in London. So naturally as was no conflict to purchase there it was in the basket.

As it turned out I paired it with Salmon tartar which I admit was not the best of decisions but I did not reproach myself for it. It tasted great and that was good.

So the wine itself had less sugar than the standard cuvee, and I would be daring to say that with its being a Grand Cru it really did not need any dosage at all but as I could not do much to change that I enjoyed. The ripe apples that are distinctive in the normal cuvee were slightly less pronounced as the acidity threw me a little for the better. The mousse just tickled my palette and washed down effortlessly ending with a nice craving for more.

A perfect Champagne but I wonder what it would show were it on lees a few years more....would the toastiness and wood show nicely as an extra brut? Would a little more dosage be required to balance the nose with the palette? I dare only speculate!


Saturday, 28 May 2011


So another bottle of bubbles went down like there was no tomorrow. Yes I was in a bit of a state, but at a dinner party which I organised and the company I was, it probably did not matter. On reflection, I thought once, that I probably made a total arse of myself, but my consolation was that I was in a state and that I must have made an arse of myself before and I am to date a happy man.

So I delved into literature on this tipple and Juhlin stated that this wine was supposed to be the best copy of Bollinger Special Cuvee. Really? In Stevensons´s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling wine this producer does not even feature. Anyway, think I can live with that.

So what was it like? Well, I have described a grand cru Champagne from Ambonnay before but from a different producer and just as such this is also a Pinot Noir dominant cuvee yet not just that but balanced by Chardonnay. No it was not a copy of Bollinger Special Cuvee because Bollinger followed afterwards but it was similar in the body which is characteristic of Pinot Noir. The aromas were unfortunately a little restrained to the point where I thought ´Does actually have any?´ but at some brief moment I conditioned that if this is similar to Paul Dethune Blanc de Noirs then, my conclusion will be drawn on the quality and character of the location from which the grapes were sourced. And therefore, limited as this may sound, Ambonnay as a Grand Cru so far has not been able to stand alone. The taste which was indicative of a Grand Cru and Pinot Noir had more weight than aromas. It was delicate, soft, ripe and danced just as lightly as I expected but in all honesty I did not have to fasten my seatbelt.

Try and enjoy. It is enjoyable, but not too memorable.

Monday, 16 May 2011


Ever wondered where one gets the best deal on Champagne?

Years ago I was made aware of one peculiar fact. When I visited Stockholm I noticed that Champagne was surprisingly accessible and even more so at Duty free. Mind you this was almost 10 years ago (god I am old), and since than Champagne unlike my wages have kept fashionably ahead of inflation.

But who would have thought that Norway, Sweden would sell the best priced Champagne in proportion to their wages and in proportion to my wages. Undeniably the fact that occasionally I sniff out a good deal is a given but constantly and on premise of regulatory supervision in Norway and Sweden even Champagne has been somehow made for 'everybody'. How egalitarian!

The reason why this is so, is that in Norway just like in Sweden, the biggest buyers of Champagne are their respective governments which, from a business perspective, and given the economy of scale, get the best deal, with little interest to make more money on those who already pay enough high taxes so...Viva Scandinavia!