Thursday 26 June 2014

Champagne Tasting Lunch With AR Lenoble

I got an ínvitation from Kajsa Wines to taste AR Lenobles whole range of wines over lunch. Since I haven´t tasted more than the odd bottle from this producer in the past, I gladly accepted.

The founders great grandchild Anne Malassagne was in Stockholm and presented the wines with flair and charm. AR Lenoble is a family company, producing (only) 350.000 bottles a year, of which 50% is exported. More info here.

NV Cuvée Brut Nature
We were welcomed with a glass of this non dosage wine. This and the next wine is exactly the same cuvée, the only difference is the dosage. The cuvée is made up of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier.
The nose is cool, elegant and fairly light with notes of summer flowers, lemon peel, dry fudge and some buttery aromas. Kept very well in the glass when it became warmer. Very, very good.
The taste is young, tight and, of course, dry with notes of flowers, yellow apples, lemon and a touch of lavender. A very fine acidity. Long and elegant. This I like.
89p   (tasted 2014/06)

NV Cuvée Intense Brut
The same cuvée as the wine above, but with a 5 g dosage. The nose is a bit warmer compared with the Nature and the fruit is more of the red kind compared with the yellow fruit in the Nature. And a bit of smoke as well. Very good but the Nature is racier.
The taste is young, fresh and light with notes of red curants, barely mature red apples, gravel and flowers. A long, fine finish. But again, the Nature gets the upper hand, for my palate anyway.
87p   (tasted 2014/06)

NV Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs
The NV Blanc de Blancs has a cool, handsome, fine nose with notes of yellow flowers, hazel nuts, lemon cream and a touch of mint. Very elegant.
The taste is young, tight and elegant with notes of yellow apples, butter cup flowers, dry caramell and hazel nuts. A very fine mousse. Very, very good.
89p   (tasted 2014/06)

2008 Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc
This is a must buy! Absolutely stunning, with a laser focused nose full of sweet/sour lemons, cap gun smoke, hazel nuts, freshly washed clothes and lemon fudge. Aristocratic. Very deep. This is the real thing. But still very young of course.
The taste is young, very tight but oh so promising with notes of lemon cream, summer flowers, fried nuts and some caramell. A stunning acidity. The finish is long and refined. This will need at least 5 years in the cellar and live for much longer, but boy, will this be great!
94p   (tasted 2014/06)

2006 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs
The two year older version has a richer, fuller nose with notes of almond paste, lemon cream, melted butter and dried tropical fruit. A creamy feeling. A fine nose.
The taste is creamy, buttery and rich with notes of sweet yellow fruit, lemon cream and almond paste. A good acidity. Not as energetic as the 2008, more ready for prime time drinking, and I wouldn´t mind drinking this with a dish with seared scallops with a Jerusalem artichoke purée - yummy!
90p   (tasted 2014/06)

NV Rosé Terroirs
A young, seedy, cool nose with notes of red currants, dried flowers, warm grass and a touch metallic. Somewhat anonymous. Cleanly made but I think it lacks charm and energy.
The taste is young, tight and a bit foursquare with notes of red currants, unripe yellow pears, stale nuts and dry earth. As on the nose, agreeable on the palate but it doesn´t sing. Maybe time will tell. For a rosé an usual blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir.
82p   (tasted 2014/06) 

2009 Premier Cru Blanc de Noir
Now we turned our attentions to Lenoble´s pure Pinot Noir wines. The 2009 has a rich, complex, deep nose with notes of wild strawberries, asian spices, candle grease and moist undergrowth. A lovely floral scent. This is young but showing lots of potential.
The taste is young, creamy and concentrated with notes of red currants, dried strawberries, warm tiles and dark earth. A very fine acidity. Long, long finish. This is a great Pinot in the making.
93p   (tasted 2014/06)

2006 Premier Cru Blanc de Noir
The three year older Pinot is equally good but another creature altogether. The nose is deeper, darker and sweeter with lovely notes of spicy raspberries, dark chocolate fudge, warm tiles and warm earth. Very, very good. Ripe and almost ready.
The taste is broadshouldered and deep with racy raspberry fruit and notes of earth, spices and a hint of chocolate. A very good acidity. Long and balanced and with a fine purity. Of course young, but I could drink this any day of the week.
92p   (tasted 2014/06)

2006 Cuvée Gentilhomme Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs
This Grand Cru Cuvée has a stunningly pure, racy nose with notes of acacia flowers, lemon fudge, hazel nuts and freshly washed clothes drying in the wind. Depth, grace and focus in a glass. This is really fine.
The taste is cool, elegant and pure with a old vine rigor and lovely notes of yellow pears, lemon cream, dry fudge and summer flowers. The acidity cuts through everything. Long, long and utterly gorgeous. I would love to drink this one in, say, 6-8 years time.
95p   (tasted 2014/06)

NV Cuvée Les Aventures Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs
Well, well, things just keeps getting better and better. At first I thought that the Gentilhomme had the upper hand but when they developed in the glass this cuvée won me over. This Puligny look a like has a impressive nose with notes of yellow apples, pan fried nuts, cold butter, almond cookies and a hint of ginger. Deep and complex. Gorgeous!
The taste is young, tight and pure with notes of lemon cream, almond paste, butter cup flowers and assorted nuts. The finish is long, refined and focused. This cuvée is a blend of vintages 2002 and 2006. Still young, this beauty could be savoured now but wait 5+ years for the real reward.
96p   (tasted 2014/06)

NV Cuvée Riche Demi Sec
I have never developed any foundness for these demi sec Champagnes, and this was no exception from the rule. The nose is medium deep, somewhat anonymous with notes of sweet/sour lemons, stale cookies, white chocolate and dried flowers. It doesn´t sing for me, in any key.
The taste is big and slightly off dry with notes of ripe yellow apples, butter cookies and some earthy notes. The finish is medium long and it ends, again, anonymously. The blend is the same as the Brut Nature, only with a dosage of 32 g/lit. There is nothing faulty with it, it just doesn´t get me going, in any direction.
82p   (tasted 2014/06)

Now, how to get hold of one of the 1964 magnums that Anne mentioned the estate has...? :-)

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