Friday, November 04, 2005

terry theise champagne selections

I just came from the Terry Theise Champagne tasting and have a few comments. Caroline Milan was not there but her wines were. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy and Laurent Champs were there in person with there wines. I found this picture after I had written my tasting notes, so I was very impartial in my reviews. Theise specilizes in the Grower Champagne winemakers who own the vineyards (often very small plots with almost micro-production of between 1,500 cases to less than 20,000 cases) versus the "Big Houses" that produce millions of cases in almost industrial complexes where all the grapes are blended together to produce a uniform taste or style. It is a bit like Robert Pecota versus Gallo and Gallo charged more.

I was talking with the rep and winemakers today and asked what the catch is. Your wines are produced in small batches, taste better, you charge less, so what is the catch? There is none. This year skip the Veuve, the Moet, the Tattinger and try one of these or Duval Leroy which although not a small Grower Producer, still makes great Champagne in smaller quantities and has a great 1996 Brut.

Jean Milan -- I loved this wine last year and this year is the same. Tasted the Cart Blanche Brut, the Cuvee Speciale Brut, the Cuvee Terres de Noel Selection 2000, and the Charles de la Milaniere Rose de Saigneee Brut. All great wines for $44 to $80.

Rene Geoffroy -- Very soft bubbles. Produces 10,000 cases from the Vallee de la Marne in the premier cru village of Cuminieres. He is said to not use chemical pesticides nor herbicides. I tasted three wines from $45 to $73.

Vilmart & Cie -- From the Montagne de Reims in the premier cru village of Rilly-la-Montagne Villmart produces 8,750 cases. His prices are more than the "big Houses" but he is considered by many to be one of the best Champagne makers and is likened to Krug. He is quoted as saying, "We make wine before bubbles." Many times the bubbles get in the way of the Champagne and all you experience is bubbles. His wines are beautiful with my favorite being the Grand Cellier Rubis 1998. It is a vintage Rose of 60% Pinot and 40% Chardonnay. OK, its $109 retail but would rival any Champagne out there! The Cuvee Rubis NV is only $70.


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