With the smattering of Indian Summer days firmly behind us, now the drab, encompassing rain seeping downwards. What better time therefore to change with the season with a move from Non-Vintage to Vintage Champagne. It is one of those curiosities that the English often keep their wines until they are well past their sell-by-date but that the French by contrast drink their wines bruisingly young. With that in mind, Earl Lamotte has offered us their 2006 Vintage at almost the price of their Non-Vintage Premier Cru because his local French buyers are simply choosing the latter. The Frogs loss, the Roast Beefs gain. A customer mentioned yesterday that Majestic have a good offer on Laurent-Perrier 2006 at £ 29.98 (now £ 30.81 by the dozen). In truth I haven’t tried their Vintage but on the Non-Vintage it is not a Champagne House that greatly impresses me, sadly. That goes for 80-90% of the famous Grande Marques. The last Champagne tasting we hosted, Taittinger for instance was way, way the weakest on show. My view is simply that these renowned names are typically produced in many millions of bottles, thus the grapes come from north, south, east or west and though a House style might be assured, I am rarely convinced by the quality. Smaller families, growers, producers, Houses however we feel produce wine or Champagne that is simply better value and more interesting. It is almost the opposite of Bordeaux where a known name is known because they are better. Champagne is nearer the opposite than not for my money.
R. & H.Lamotte Premier Cru 2006 Vintage Champagne at £ 26.00
Formerly £ 31.00 but on offer at £ 26.00 by the bottle, or £ 25.00 by the dozen
R. & H.Lamotte Premier Cru Non-Vintage Champagne
(£ 24.50 = £ 22.95)