Vive le Deutz!
During a November trek to the heart of bubbly-land in Epernay I heard rumblings that the esteemed French bottler Deutz had fallen on hard times. So I wanted to do what any decent and honorable adherent would do: see for myself. Happily for Deutz (and for our MPA wine club), the champagne came through in our latest tasting Saturday night.
Our second tasting, held Dec. 13, was hosted by Virginie and Raphael. After our broad survey of French reds last month, we opted for a more December-ish kind of theme. This time around Kenny and I put together a blind champagne tasting. We tasted a Blanc de Blancs, a Blanc de Noirs and two classic blends, ranging from 21 to 33 euros. The Deutz and Jacquesson classic blends clearly won out, although there were a few dissenters, naturally. Regarding the blind picks it was very difficult to gauge who won. No one guessed more than two bottles correctly. However, Dena and Dena’s “Special Friend” were the only two people to correctly pick the Blanc de Blancs… BRAVO! After the tasting the night had only just begun. Virginie continued her wonderful hosting techniques on into the night, as more MPAers and friends piled in for a Christmas After-Party. We also celebrated Roopa’s birthday with a midnight champagne toast and some cake. All and all a fun, congenial, and at times riotous, party. Props to Gom for doing the worm on the dance floor!
Here’s the Champagne breakdown…
1st Place, Classic Blend No. 2 – Bottle B
Bottle: NV Deutz Brut Classic, 30€
MPA 14.4 Rating: Cream, apple, vanilla, strawberry, cotton candy, complex aromas; Green apple, strawberry, baked bread, grapefruit, cream, candy, medium-bodied, well balanced, expressive palate
Klara, “banana, apricot, litchi, melon”
Miki, “nostalgic American apple cider and cinnamon”
Wine Spectator 88 Rating: (Same label but possibly different release date) Floral, apple and yeast notes are lively and fresh in this elegant Champagne, which is backed by a vibrant structure. Makes a lovely aperitif.
2nd Place, Classic Blend No. 1 – Bottle C
Bottle: NV Jacquesson Brut Cuvée 733, 33€
MPA 14.1 Rating: Sherry, strong attack, apples, crème anglaise, almonds, raspberry, complex nose; Cherry, green apple, sherry, citrus, brioche, ginger, nuts, vanilla, sugar cane, medium-bodied palate
Kay, “bamboo and oak”
John, “sharp, sour, what’s the point?”
Kenny, “Chambord liqueur and raw dough”
Wine Spectator 89 Rating: (Rating and notes for the Cuvée 732) Peach and mineral aromas keep this Champagne grounded, while the citrus and malt notes suggest something more fleeting. It’s firm and dry, with a mouthwatering finish.
3rd Place, Blanc de Noirs (100% pinot noir) – Bottle D
Bottle: NV Drappier André et Michel Brut Nature Zero Dosage, 24€
MPA 12.4 Rating: Strawberry, tamarind, citrus, apples, fruity nose; Citrus lime, grapefruit peel, green apple, subtle toast palate
Dena, “Jasmine tea, roses (nose); chalky green tea ice cream, sour (palate)”
Tim, “Sewer gas (nose); rusty hippopotamus gizzards, very elegant (palate)”
Klara, “cayenne pepper”
Audrey, “endive and chicon”
Wine Spectator 90 Rating: (Same label but possibly different release date) A dry yet very fruity style, offering strawberry, watermelon and mineral flavors set against an airy texture. It’s all supported by a lively structure.
4th Place, Blanc de Blancs (100% chardonnay) – Bottle A
Bottle: NV Pierre Moncuit Le Mesnil Brut Blanc de Blancs, 21€
MPA 10.9 Rating: Acidic, lemon, light, fresh fruit, subtle yeast aromas; Acidic, bitter citric peel, grapefruit, lemon, apple, pear, light-bodied palate
Jeremy, “lemon tart”
Wine Spectator 90 Rating: (Same label but possibly different release date) Fine example of blanc de blancs. Has rich flavors of vanilla and pear and a velvety texture. Shows character. Fresh and rich, offering mineral, citrus, dough and nut aromas and flavors. Turns very firm on the finish. Lacks harmony today, so give it a few months to settle down.