Festive drinks parties might not have started just yet, but it’s never too early to stock the cellar, or drink champagne. Julian Campbell, Champagne Buyer at leading London wine merchant Justerini & Brooks recommends five champagnes for LUX readers
1. Philipponnat Cuvée 1522, 2008
Precise, aromatic notes of salt and red berries, brioche, toast and peach combine to produce an arresting initial impression in Philipponnat’s brilliant 1522 2008. A wine with a beautiful seam of fresh acidity that will allow this to age for many years to come. 8 years sur lie has given fabulous complexity with a savoury, very fine note of freshly baked pastries below the fruit, while also giving the mousse a wonderful finesse and sense of integration. The finish is long and deliciously salty. Only 1200 cases of this brilliant wine were produced.
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2. Pascal Doquet Le Mesnil 2006
All the minerality of Grand Cru Mesnil vineyards combined with Pascal’s vinous, long lees aged style – a real stand out in Pascal’s lovely range of Blanc de Blancs. The product of a supple, solaire vintage that has imbued this with lovely fruit to balance out the deep chalky notes, this is drinking beautifully now but will improve over the coming decade.
3. Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 2009
The latest release from renowned champagne house Philipponnat. Opening up with a wave of wonderfully fresh cool chalk aromas, then a bold, expressive nose of grapefruit and fresh red berry, citrus and buttered hazelnuts and finally the faintest suggestions of fresh Victoria plum – there’s a great deal going on here, a wonderful marriage between complex richness and keenly rendered flavours. On the palate this is a big and powerful Goisses but also refined, brimming with rich red fruit, pastry, brioche, raspberry and finally the zest of lemons providing a keen, taut edge. Highly vinous, textural, long and complex, this is every bit as regal as we’d hoped. Superb, a true Clos de Goisses.
4. Egly Ouriet Les Crayeres, Ambonnay, Grand Cru, Blanc de Noirs, Brut NV
There’s an element of generous sunshine in this tremendously vinous bottle of champagne, but also a mouth-watering stony element, clear cut golden peach and raspberry, and fantastic chalk definition and minerality on the finish. Long, pure and textural – truly a wine masquerading as Champagne. Made by grapes from an exceptional Ambonnay vineyard with 70 year old vines on intensely chalky soil (at times up to 100m deep).
5. Ulysse Collin, Les Maillons, Blanc de Noirs, Extra Brut, 2013 base
Harvest tends to start here, one week ahead of the other vineyards, and the resulting champagne presents the most glorious red fruit and spice characteristics, huge amounts of pinot appeal, the finest of mousses, with a flourish of red currant, raspberry and ginger spiced pinot fruit on the finish. Aromatic and extrovert while remaining exceptional precision and detail.
For more recommendations and to purchase online visit justerinis.com