am always delighted to have the chance to taste any wines blind and
none more so than champagne, a style of wine of which our perceptions
tend to be shaped by many factors other than sheer wine quality.
particular 1995 from the Union Champagne co-operative in the Côte des
Blancs village of Avize impressed me greatly in the recent 95 v 96
blind taste-off in Epernay described briefly in wine news and in detail in tasting notes on 30 oct.
Grand Cru stood out as one of the best-value vintage champagnes around.
It was very obviously a Blanc de Blancs on the nose with its creamy
developed Chardonnay characters but has greta weight and complexity too
– so much so that this is a wine that you could happily pair with food.
For those who find it hard to get to grips with the idea of champagne
as a wine to be served at the table, I suggest sharing this, or a
champagne as nuanced and attention-grabbing as this, before a meal with
a few friends and something substantial enough to substitute for a
first course: a gentle brandade or taramasalata on toast for example,
or even a more substantial pâté.
wine lovers can find this wine in larger Marks & Spencer stores for
£30 a bottle – a sensible round figure. Those based elsewhere should
try keying Orpale 1995 into www.winesearcher.com.
I can’t because my server Pipex is grappling with a major problem at
present, which is why I should stop here – though I would point out
that Dom P fans can find the delicious, if not yet ready, 1996 at Peter
Wylie of Devon for just £60 a bottle, more than CostCo but no membership is required.