Masterclass 1996 Champagne Melbourne

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A nice masterclass run by David Donald – using my stock of 1996 Champagnes. My notes are my personal view.

  1. 1996 Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs.
    This is the regular bottling. Pure and mineral but still showing quite a bit of acid. Maybe a tad hard at the moment but appears to have the ability to age for a few years more for sure. Lovely mousse.
  2. 1996 Bonnaire Prestige Blanc de Blancs.
    Creamy and quite open. Quite approachable now and a very nice drink. Opened up a bit stinky but after 20 mins we saw some nice purity and elegance.
  3. 1996 Fleur du Passion Dibolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs.
    This cuvee uses oak maturation and blocking of malo to add some real complexity and precision. Nose shows honey vanillan oak – more like a white burgundy. Palate is tight and long. A joy and drinks well now. One of my favourites of the night. Superb.
  4. 1996 Claude Cazals Blanc de Blancs.
    Open and straight forward. Slightly heavy handed oxidised style of the grower is the hall mark of the wine. A nice drink and in excellent condition.
  5. 1996 Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs.
    Bold style, on the riper end of the spectrum and maybe shows a certain lack of elegance compared to other blanc de blancs in the bracket. In perfect condition and very enjoyable.
  6. 1996 Pierre Peters Cuvee Speciale Blanc de Blancs.
    Very tight and very savoury in style. Nose opened up very sulfide and took 20 minutes to clean up. Very fine mousse and great length. More like a young white burgundy in style. Great potential to improve yet.
  7. 1996 Jacquesson Avize Blanc de Blancs.
    Hints of coconut and chocolate on the nose. Massive weight and intensity all held in check by great acid. Very fine mousse. Superb.
  8. 1996 Agrapart l’Avizoise Blanc de Blancs.
    Quite lean and tight, fine mousse and great complexity. Appears a little hard and angular which suggests it needs more time still. Crazy stuff. Yes it needs more time!
  9. 1996 Vilmart Cuvee Creation.
    Now the terroir changes from the Cote des Blancs, to the Montagne. The different profile is immediately obvious. This bottle revealed the intensity of the Vilmart sweet oak in spades. Sweet oak is not my favourite sorry.
  10. 1996 Renee Geoffroy Cuvee Prestige.
    The honeyed richness of Cumieres fruit is immediately obvious. Ripeness and richness with gentle acid keeping the balance in check. Nice drink but maybe a little simple.
  11. 1996 Paul Bara.
    The standard bottling. A lovely classically dosaged old Champagne. Toasty and in great balance.
  12. 1996 Paul Bara ‘Comtesse de Marie de France’ Blanc de Noirs.
    Pure and precise with great perfume. The red fruits are subtle but penetrate the taste buds. Perfect balance and great length. Superb.