Three notes here, on three non-vintage Champagnes recently opened. Although I gave up reporting on non-vintage Champagne principally because there is no connection between wines on which I might provide a tasting note, and those you find on the shelf (because traditionally there has been no way to know whether one non-vintage bottle is exactly the same or radically different to the next) two of the three wines reported on here buck this trend.
Charles Heidsieck have been reporting cellaring dates for years, of course, a practice introduced by the late Daniel Thibault, so no news there. Sadly the old mis en caves designation has now been ditched in favour of disgorgement dates, although to be fair I say this out of sentiment more than anything else, as the disgorgement dates provided are no less informative. A more recent development, however, is the appearance of disgorgement dates on non-vintage Lanson – these can be found in slightly smudgy white printing on the back label, as below. No such move from Roederer, sadly. But the wine itself was the best of this trio I think, as it still has more to give than the Charles Hedsieck which I scored the same.
Lanson Black Label Brut NV: Disgorged October 2009 – Lanson now print disgorgement dates on the back label. Some pithy fruit on the nose here, and a fine mousse on the palate, very bright and still youthful. A rather lemony, stony character, a touch raw and primary, although I find the bitter edge to the fruit matching the pithy elements on the nose rather enticing. But this is still very young, and really needs another 3-5 years at least. 16/20 (April 2012)
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV: Disgorged 2008. This is just lovely, and surpasses my expectations which were low, as I did not rate the last bottle very highly at all. White orchard fruits on the nose, with citrus tones and a fine, subtle, nutty nuance. Lightly honeyed and more harmonious than I hoped. Bright, a good mousse, but supple, with a fleshy weight. Clean, with citrus pith, together with wisps of grey smoke and other slightly reductive suggestions. This is just delicious. 17/20 (April 2012)
Roederer Brut Premier NV: Purchased Autumn 2009, other than that I have no clue as to likely disgorgement date or base vintage. The wine itself though has a lovely character, quite youthful, still with a raw edge to the fruit. Certainly some evolution here on the palate, and there is plenty of backbone to this wine, but this still needs another 1-2 years before this is likely to show real harmony. A very promising showing though. 17/20 (April 2012)