Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2002
I have a number of these tucked away in the cellar and they range from decadently engaging to reductively tight. This bottle was the latter. Still delightful but only really began to show its real form as we sipped the last glasses of the night.
Still warm on the nose. Pure and perfectly weighted and balanced palate but not quite enough generosity on the mid...yet. The energy on the finish as it opens is brilliant and engaging.
But it has soooo much more to give!
Charles Heidsieck Champagne Charlie 1981
This, on the other hand, is singing right now!
Loads of toffee, coffee and toast. Tight with a powerful, integrated acidity.
Chocolate banana, tobacco, chocolate covered coffee beans, orange rind. Perfumed.
It seems in a perfectly focused and serious phase right now and as it opened over the night the decadence of the Charles we know and love revealed itself in all its glory!
Louis Roederer Cristal 1974 (without label and thus no indication of its vintage)
The cork broke but there was a satisfying pop as the remaining piece was extracted. The beauty of Cristal was knowing before we poured that the colour was epic. But learning this was nearly 50 years old just made it even more so (the pictures and the darkness of 67 don't do it justice).
Plenty of bubbles and a wonderfully sensual mousse.
The nose is surprisingly sweet with notes of demerara sugar, tobacco and clementine. There is a playful if somewhat uncomplicated texture on the mid palate with notes of rich tea biscuit bringing in chocolate orange and sugar glaze. Elegant and refined on the finish.
Okay so the back end is a touch singular, and doesn't quite bring you that complex multidimensional interplay between salinity, bitter fruit and sugars. But seriously, I have never tasted such a fresh wine 'from the marketplace' that is nearly 50 years old!