Champagne de Venoge Louis XV Brut 1996
(not yet reviewed, 1995 review for reference)
97 points - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, November 2017
Possessing a beautiful golden color with orange and even Amber reflections, the 1995 Louis XV Brut is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from several grands crus—Verzenay, Ambonnay, Mailly and Bouzy for the Pinot and Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Chouilly for the Chardonnay. What a gorgeous bouquet is this! Vinous and slightly oxidative, with hints of figs and dates, toffee, Madeira, Vin Jaune, Sherry, biscuits, toasted rice, white mushrooms, earthy flavors, licorice, oriental spices, vanilla, dried oranges and apricots and a thousand more flavors. If you like matured Champagnes, you'd die for this. On the palate, however, this is a fascinatingly pure, fresh, tight and delicate Champagne that is lithe and perfectly balanced but also concentrated. The finish is again pure, fresh and mineral, with stewed apricot and peach flavors in the salty aftertaste. This is a great delicacy delivered onto the palate with sophisticated intensity and stunning tension. The wine was fermented in stainless steel, malolactic included, and disgorged in 2006 (!) with a dosage of seven grams per liter. "With aging, the Chardonnay grand cru is always taking over the Pinot Noir," finds de Venoge's chairman Gilles de La Bassetière, whose 1995 was still made by Eric Lebel, the winemaker chez Krug since 1998. If you have opened the 1995, please share it, or at least, drink it the same day! The wine loses a bit of its charming creaminess the second and third day, whereas the acidity remains fresh and gives the wine a more austere character then. - Stephan Reinhart
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