How does ESPRIT DE GIRAUD compare with other champagnes?
JANCIS ROBINSON tast HENRI GIRAUD in Hong Kong.Neil Martin is an independent wine reviewer and writer posting his articles and tasting notes on eROBERTPARKER.COMThe following notes and ratings are issued after an extensive of 80 NV Champagnes at Whitehall wich Martin attended with famous English MW, Jancis Robinson.Here are Martin's tasting notes and conclusions."(...) Given that the kudos of champagne, its prices and self-judged superriority, all thes champagnes should have scored more than 90-points. But they fell miserably short of that mark.'"Having tasted these NV champagnes at Witehall, i suspect like Jancis, i could not help that i was being rather duped.""Ever felt like you were being had ?"N-V Henri Giraud Esprit Brut 92
This is a fabulous non-vintage champagne from Henri Giraud. A very elegant nose with hints of honeysuckle and hazelnut. Firm, precise entry, racy acidity, very well balanced with a lively, almost peppery finish that is imbued with impressive harmony and definition. Wonderful – if only all non-vintage champagnes could be like this. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Pierre Moncuit Cuvée Delos 91
This is a great non-vintage champagne from Moncuit. It has an attractive nose with apple, citrus fruit, a touch of orange-blossom and apricot that is so delicate and refined. The palate displays good acidity and length, well-defined and focused with an elegant, understated finish that pastes a large smile on your face. Excellent. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Alexandre Bonnet Grande Réserve Brut 90
A simple nose with touches of green apple, chalk dust and brioche. The palate displays moderate intensity, good acidity with apple and orange rind on the mid-palate. Nice tension and focus on the crisp finish. Very fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Deutz Brut Classic 90
This has a reserved, well-defined nose with chalk dust, limestone and brioche. The palate is crisp and well balanced with an attractive sense of tension. Well defined minerally finish with moderate length. The quality I would expect from this consistent house. Tasted March 2008.
N-V De Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Tradition 90
I have always enjoyed de Venoge’s champagnes and this has an attractive brioche, smoky nose that if I were to quibble, could do with more lift. The palate is crisp and well balanced with apple, citrus lemon and minerals, leading to a rather conservative, almost “aloof” finish. Good breeding. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Henriot Blanc Souverain 90
This has good intensity on the nose with aromas of granite, apple-blossom and a touch of white peach. Moderate definition. The palate is well balanced with racy acidity, attractive sense of harmony with a flint, reserved finish. Good length. Well-crafted. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Jacquart Brut de Nominée 90
An excellent champagne – very focused and crisp on the minerally nose, developing subtle almond and yeasty scents. The palate is very harmonious and succinct with apple, yeast, and tinned peach towards the finish. Good weight and length. Impressive. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 90
This is a good Blanc de Blancs with cooked apples and a touch of honey and beeswax on the nose. The palate displays moderate intensity, very good balance, crisp and focused with what appears some reserve wines towards the finish. A moderately sophisticated bubbly. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Alain Thiénot Brut 90
A very reserved but well-defined nose with good sense of minerality. The palate I described as fresh and clinical with an intense green apply entry, an entrancing almost Zen-like palate with superb delineation and focus. Very dry, almost abrupt on the finish, I find this minimalist champagne captivating. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Ruinart Brut 90
This shows its class amongst a swathe of mediocre champagnes. The nose is tight but tense with a touch of green apple and blackberry leaf. The palate is a little subdued at first, but give it a few swirls and you get a sense of nervosité and minerality. It could do with a little more length but it still hits the spot. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Chanoine Grande Reserve 89
This has a simple green apple infused nose with a touch of peach and baked bread in the background. The palate is attractive with hints of orange peel, edgy citrus fruit and a composed minerally finish. Nice off-dry finish. Not bad at all, but not exciting. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Beaumet Cuvée Brut 89
This is a nice little champagne. An attractive, fresh, citrus nose with a touch of limestone coming through. Lively and pert. The palate is very fresh and vigorous on the entry, great definition with notes of apple, a touch of pear and hazelnut, though more Conference pear on the finish. Good length. A solid non-vintage champagne. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Taittinger Brut Réserve 89
Muted on the nose: faint scent of wet pavement, orange peel and a slight mintiness coming through with time. The palate is vibrant with racy acidity, citrus and zesty with modest minerality and a bright, lively finish. Very fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Tarlant Brut Réserve 89
This has an attractive minerally, stony nose displaying good precision. Green apples on the entry of the palate, vibrant, a little spicy even with an attractive candied finish showing good weight and length. This is a champagne with intent. Tasted March 2008.
N-V G.H. Martel Blanc de Blancs 89
This has always been a good value Blanc de Blancs that delivers quality. The ripeness is noticeable on the nose compared to other non-vintage champagnes with just a faint hint of ripe peach underlying the citrus scents and with time, a touch of brioche emerges. The palate is vibrant and slightly peachy with a perky, pink grapefruit tinged finish that satisfies. Fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Gimmonet Cuis Premier Cru Brut 89
A pleasant nose of peach, limestone and rosewater although it lacks a little delineation. The palate is well balanced, crisp and clean, precise on the dry, citrus finish. Fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve 89
This has an attractive toasty nose with touches of Clementine, apricot and limestone. Moderate definition. The palate is very vibrant with orange zest, citrus fruit and granite. Lacks a little crispness on the finish, but there is a certain ebullience to this champagne that is most attractive. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Mumm Cordon Rouge 89
This has a well-defined nose, muted at first but wakes up in the glass with brioche and apple-blossom notes, leading towards a more limestone bouquet with time. The palate is well balanced with vibrant apply fruits, a chalky mouthfeel with good poise and focus on the finish. Good winemaking at work. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Andre Clouet Grand Cru Cuvée 1911 88
This has a steely, stony nose that develops more of a flinty aroma in the glass. The palate is very fine with crisp green apple, orange zest and a touch of passion fruit. Good length, nice sense of tension and vigour on the finish. A commendable champagne. Tasted March 2008
N-V Canard-Duchêne Brut 88
A subtle, yeasty nose with a touch of brioche and a faint hint of walnut. The palate is well balanced, just a little oxidative but that does not detract from the overall champagne. Bitter lemon and tangerine towards the lively finish. Not bad at all. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Lanson Black Label N-V 88
This has a subtle nose with good definition: touches of lemon zest and brioche with a hint of Japanese umeboshi. The palate is well balanced with a nice citrus attack on the finish, good tension throughout with a sharp, slightly clipped finish. This is well-crafted commercial n
N-V Ayala Brut Majeur 87
This displays an intense, bready nose with moderate definition and a touch of hazelnut. The palate has a soft entry, a little dry and oxidative towards the finish, but a nice brioche infused aftertaste. Fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Philipponnat Royal Réserve Brut 88
This is quite reserved on the nose with crisp green apples, a touch of tangerine and apricot leading to a nicely balanced, crisp, vibrant palate with racy acidity, Nice tension, revivifies the palate with a zesty apple and lime finish. Very fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Jacquesson Cuvée 731 87
A very complex nose of green apple, flint, hazelnut and orange-blossom with great definition and breeding. But the palate is a little underwhelming, lacking the clarity and precision of previous cuvees that I have found exemplary. A touch of orange-blossom towards the finish, but needing more complexity and sense of minerality, too sweet on the aftertaste. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne Brut Premier Cru 87
This has an attractive, if reserved flinty nose with a touch of Granny Smiths and limestone. The palate is ripe with bitter lemon, orange zest and an edgy, crisp but harmonious finish. It could do with more length though. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Lallier Grand Cru 86
This has a nice lift on the yeasty nose although it could do with a little more delineation. The palate has a promising entry, crisp, vibrant with good acidity, malic middle with touches of lime zest and a little spice towards the finish. Good length. Fine. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Arlaux Brut Réserve Récolte Principale 2000 86
A conservative but well-defined nose with scents of wet stones and Granny Smith apples, then evolving a faint hint of honeycomb. The palate has moderate acidity, fresh and clean with a yeasty finish that just lacks a little definition. Not bad though, just needs a little more zip. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Besserat de Bellefon Cuvée des Moines Brut 86
Very little on the nose with touches of citrus fruit, pear and green apple. Moderate definition. The palate has a vibrant entry, racy acidity with nice tension leading to a dry but harmonious finish. If only the bouquet had more going for it! Tasted March 2008.
N-V De Castelnau Brut 86
An attractive floral nose with a touch of peach and apricot. The palate is quite pretty with again, hints of peach, apricot and green apples. Not a complex champagne but it has good focus. Yet like other non-vintages at this tasting, the finish is a too sweet. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Laurent Perrier Brut 86
A stony, granite nose with moderate definition with just a hint of kerosene in the background. The palate is simple, a little yeasty but lacking weight and penetration towards the finish. So-so. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Ruffin Cuvée d’Or Brut 86
This has very little on the nose, though with some swirling reveals a hint of mushroom and orange-blossom. The palate displays moderate fruit intensity, quite pretty towards the finish with lemon, a touch of white peach and passion fruit. Stylish but a little short. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Yellow Label 84
Reticent on the nose, perhaps a tinge of under-ripe green fruit whilst the palate is full of green apple, a touch of kiwi fruit, nothing really complex except length on the finish. Commercial and not particularly cerebral. Ho-hum. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Pommery Brut Royal 85
This seems rather dilute on the nose compared to others whilst the palate is lacking crispness. It is redeemed by a nice creamy texture towards the finish, however this never surpasses anything more than a decent, commercial champagne. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Henri Mandois Collection Classique Brut Origine 85
The nose is a little dull, just a touch of granite and smoke but without the clarity and lift to back it up. The palate is better, simple but taut with a subtle yeasty finish that could do with just a little more focus. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Gremillet Brut Selection 85
A simple, malic nose with a touch of brioche, though lacking just a little freshness. The palate has moderate intensity with a touch of orange zest, bitter lemon and an almost toasty finish. Not bad. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Beaumont des Crayèyes Grande Réserve Brut 85
This has a very closed nose with just a faint wisp of lemon curd, pear and lime, but developing more of a candlewax scent with aeration. The palate has moderate intensity, touches of pear drop on the mid-palate with a finish that feels as if it has excessive dosage, which I do not think it needed. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top Brut 85
A lifted smoky nose with hints of orange blossom and indeed, some under-ripe fruit. The palate is simple but lacks vivacity and for a Brut, appears too sweet on the finish. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut 85
This is lacking a little fruit concentration on the nose, whilst the palate is simple, lacks a little complexity but has an attractive note of blackberry leaf on the rather reserved finish. Not bad. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Nicolas Feuillante Réserve Particulière Brut 84
A very simple, rather oxidative nose that really does not appeal. The palate is again, rather non-descript and ordinary. Inoffensive but ordinary. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Jean Milan Cuvée 3eme Millénaire Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 84
A very ripe nose with an odd scent of brown sugar and roasted nuts. A little oxidative in style. The palate is simple, perhaps a little floral with some very faint peachy scents but woefully short on the finish. Tasted March 2008.
N-V René Geoffroy Expression Premier Cru à Cumières 84
This has a floral, ripe, peachy nose with a touch of orange peel that I find feminine and attractive. A creamy, brioche palate, yeasty towards the finish that disappointingly seems to tail away. Starts well but needs more persistency. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Palmer 83
A simple, faceless nose. The palate has subtle flavours of green apple, a touch of orange zest with sweet residual finish, but is lacking a sense of tension and vibrancy. I prefer the Palmer in Margaux! Tasted March 2008.
N-V Pannier Brut Sélection 83
Like so many other non-vintage champagnes at this tasting, the nose does not really say anything with weak scents of green apple and granite, perhaps lacking some definition to boot. The palate has a soft, brioche entry and makes amends of the bouquet with a nutty finish, but this never really gets going. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Boizel Brut Réserve 83
This Boizel has a conservative nose with a touch of shellfish and chalk dust. The palate has a sharp, pointed entry leading to a vibrant green apple mid-palate and a steely, malic finish. A little short. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Charles Lafitte Grande Cuvée Brut 83
A soft, slightly muffled brioche nose that lacks some definition. The palate has a soft, slightly fluffy entry, leading to a malic, gooseberry tinged middle and a slight bitterness on the finish. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Alfred Gratien Brut Classique 82
This is very muffled on the nose, rather bland in fact. The palate is sweet, excessive dosage with a very simple, commercial finish. Tasted March 2008.
N-V A. Margaine Premier Cru Brut 80
A very simple, faceless nose with moderate definition is followed by a very simple, malic palate with a crisp, but rather one-dimensional finish. Below par. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Bernard Remy Carte Blanche Brut 79
The nose is bland and lacking vigour, whilst the palate lacks vibrancy and vivacity. Soft, yeasty finish. A bit ordinary and ephemeral. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Pertois Moriset Brut Grande Réserve Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 75
A light green apple scented nose that seems a little oxidized whilst the palate fails to muster anything more than a simple, commercial champagne with too much residual sugar on the finish for a Blanc de Blancs. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Cattier 73
This is so unripe on the nose, the palate following suit. Poor. Tasted March 2008.
N-V Guy Charbout Blanc de Blanc 68
Under-ripe nose masked by excessively sulphur. The palate is insipid with excessive residual sugar. I don’t like this. Tasted March 2008.