This blend is mostly Pinot Noir and Meunier, including 10 percent red wine for color. Chardonnay accounts for 10 to 20 percent, including a portion of reserve wines that may be providing the oceanic, oyster-shell notes that bring to mind Champagne’s Kimmeridgean limestone. This is broad and loose up front, with fruity scents of orange and pomegranate. Then the wine keeps buzzing with brisk acidity, tightening up and extending the flavors with energy. An impressive release of Impérial.
Toasted hazelnut and smoke notes are rich and focused in this harmonious version, layered with flavors of pastry, passion fruit pâte de fruit and candied ginger. Fine and creamy, with a mouthwatering finish.
Light, bright yellow. Musky pear and toasty lees on the nose and in the mouth. Fleshy and open-knit, with a hint of bitter lemon pith adding back-end cut. Finishes on a gently smoky note, with very good cling and focus and a hint of bitter quinine. This must be the best example of this bottling that I've had in years, if not decades. In the past the Imperial Brut received a dosage of 12 g/l, but no more; in fact, there's talk that in the near future it may be dropped down as far as 7 g/l. (JR)
Distinctive, slightly bruised apple scent. Fleshy on the palate. Reassuringly good quality for a leading brand. (RH)
Worldwide still the biggest-selling Champagne (28 million bottles a year), this well-made wine is ripe and full of fruit. Produced under the direction of chef de cave Benoît Gouez (Wine Enthusiast Winemaker of Year in 2013), it has flavors of almonds and toast, with crisp acidity. The aftertaste brings grapefruit freshness. (RV)
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