Champagne Gallimard Père et Fils, Cuvée de Reserve, Les Riceys
Pale golden in colour with a fine mousse and a hallmark bouquet of honey on toast. Smooth and creamy, this champagne is made mainly from Pinot Noir in the more southerly Aube region where it achieves lovely ripeness and balance of flavours. Ideal inexpensive champagne for larger celebrations!
The Gallimard family have been making champagne since 1930, the year when Jules and Ernest Gallimard, already vinegrowers, decided to produce their own bottles of champagne. Didier Gallimard is currently running the domaine which covers 10 hectares of prime vineyards on the steep slopes around Les Riceys in the southern Aube; his vines' average age is 30 years and the vineyards which are of chalk and limestone are planted mainly to Pinot Noir and just a little Chardonnay - the Pinot Noir grapes here achieve lovely ripeness and lend a soft fruitiness to the wines.
Champagne Pol Roger, Brut Reserve 'White Foil'
The definitive house-style, composed from 30 still base wines drawn from at least two vintages. 33% Pinot Noir – 34% Chardonnay – 33% Pinot Meunier. The nose is dominated by white flowers, green apple, brioche and a trace of minerality. On the palate there are notes of stone fruits, a certain nuttiness and a hint of honey supporting the freshness of the acidity. Dosage is 10g/l.
Pol Roger founded his Champagne house in 1849 and it is still proudly independent, under family control. It owns 89 hectares of vineyards on prime sites of the Vallée d'Epernay and on the Côte de Blancs. Its cellars run for 7km and are on three levels, the deepest known as the 'cave de prise de mousse' at 33m below street level. As the name suggests this is where the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation in bottle. The fact that this deep cellar is at 9oC or less rather than the normal cellar temperature of 11-12oC prolongs this fermentation and contributes to the quality and particular style of the wines and their famously fine bubbles.