Champagne Barons de Rothschild is a unique joint venture by all three branches of the Rothschild family, Lafite, Mouton, and Clarke. Their brut cuvée exudes a bouquet of cut pear, almonds and fresh hazelnuts, married to hints of white flowers and warm buttermilk biscuit. The style reflects a complex assemblage (blend) of 60% Chardonnay, drawn primarily Grands Crus in the Cote des Blancs, and 40% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, drawn mainly from vineyards in Verzenay, Ay, Mareuil-sur-Ay and Bouzy. This blend includes 40% older reserve wines, a mark of exceptional quality and consistency that the Rothschild team has established for this cuvée.
With an unusually high portion of Chardonnay for a Rosé, this Rosé is exceptionally refined. Brilliant salmon in color with pale pink highlights, this opens with red berry and citrus aromas, followed on the palate by melting flavors of light raspberry, strawberry and a hint of Corton-like minerality. Finishes quite crisp and dry. This Rose%u0301 is a blend of over 85% Chardonnay from the main Cote des Blanc crus of Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger, and Vertus, with Pinots Noirs of the Montagne de Reims, including a small percentage (5 to 6%) vinified as a red wine. The blend contains 40% reserve wine.
Made from 100% Pinot Noir, Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs is full-bodied and zesty. Creamy strawberry, citrus and cherry flavors combine in a lush palate, small, suspended on clouds of lively, persistent bubbles.
Carneros-based Gloria Ferrer is a Pinot Noir specialist, and its relatively full-bodied NV Brut is made from 91% Pinot Noir, and 9% Chardonnay (to add brightness and raciness). It offers delicate pear and floral aromas highlighted by notes of toasted almond. On the palate, lively citrus, toast and apple flavors are overlaid with a fine and persistent effervescence.
Established in 1757, the Reims-based house of Henri Abelé is the third oldest Champagne house, with a distinguished 250-year history. Abelé's NV Brut is clearly of Grand Marque quality, but sells for $5-$10 less than comparable cuvées. Grapes come exclusively from top crus in the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, under longstanding contracts maintained by Maison Abelé over many years. The house matures its wines for a minimum of three years, well-above the Champagne AOC minimum of 15 months, a key to its mellow, subtle palate impression. A beautiful pale gold color, with a fine, creamy mousse, this Champagne opens with floral/apple Chardonnay notes, which interlace delicately with notes of Pinot Noir on the palate. Nuances of white flowers, mineral, and delicate stone fruit rise toward the finish, giving this brut cuvée elegant shape and dimension, along with impressive depth.
Founded in 1843 by Joseph Krug, Krug is among most prestigious of all the Grands Marques. Although it makes two vintage-dated micro-cuvées (Clos du Mesnil, 100% Chardonnay; Clos D'Ambonnay, a Blancs de Noirs), Grande Cuvee, which is a multi-vintage blend, is clearly its flagship wine. Made only with wines from the greatest years, it includes no less than 50% of reserve wines from as many as 10 different vintages. In truth, it really doesn't get much better than this.