Champagne $100 & under - Wine tasting 2011

With such a classy array of wines, it was not at all easy for the panel to rank the Top 10, writes Ralph Kyte-Powell.

by Ralph Kyte-Powell | Cuisine issue #149 | Wednesday, 7 December, 2011



Abel Lepitre Brut NV $39.90
An old Champagne name, but a rather modern interpretation with good integration of fruit and bottle-ferment qualities, a fresh tang and underlying power, too. And just look at the price! A crowd-pleaser. [H]

Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne Brut NV $85

Bready, dusty bottle-ferment cues, vanilla cream and subtle aromas
of fruit introduce a wine of good
concentration. There’s plenty of yeasty richness, creamy depth, full flavour
and a clean finish. With its seductive foaming texture and lovely flow
across the palate, this Champagne
is deliciously quaffable. [E]

H Lanvin & Fils Brut NV $55-$58
Who said you have to spend the earth for really good Champagne? Consistent performer Lanvin ticks most of the boxes and gives change out of $60 for a wine with floral scents, light patisserie notes and subtle lemon and apple fruit characters. It’s not super-complex, but it’s satisfying and very fresh. [A]

Perrier-Jouët Grand BRUT NV $100
This is an obvious style, straightforward and uncomplicated, but that’s not a criticism. Liqueuring, plus pinot noir depth and biscuity inputs, provide richness and harmony. It has a long, fine finish and a satisfying personality. [I]

Piper Rosé Sauvage NV $94.90-$99.90
Piper rosés have a deeper colour than most pink Champagnes, accompanied by plenty of red-fruit character, rather like a strawberry liqueur overtone.
The palate is quite firm and drier than some. An attractive drop. [C]

Ayala Brut Majeur NV $79-$81
A generously built wine from a house that specialises in a drier type of Champagne. Toasty brioche and smooth fruit aromas give a classical feel, and it’s expressive in the mouth, finishing long and poised. [G]

Gosset Excellence Brut NV $76.95
A traditional style with nutty, toasty notes, green appley fruit, a hint of cracking-crisp toffee and an appealing touch of vanilla biscuit. The fine texture lingers beautifully on the palate. [E]

To source wines listed, contact the distributor (indexed by letter).

[A] EuroVintage, ph: 0800-338 766
[B] Glengarry, ph: 0800-733 505
[C] Hancocks, ph: 0800-367 837
[D] La Cantina, ph: 09-950 4265
[E] Lion, ph: 0800-107 272
[F] Moët Hennessy, ph: 09-308 9640
[G] Negociants NZ, ph: 09-531 5222
[H] Nelson & Simich, ph: 09-276 8133
[I] Pernod Ricard NZ, ph: 09-336 8300
[J] red+white cellar, ph: 0800-946 379
[K] Vintners NZ, ph: 09-621 0210
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