This autumn has seen a cascade of tantalising champagne releases, from vintage rosés to limited edition collaborations with world-famous artists. Here is the pick of the bunch:
1) Dom Pérignon Rosé P2 1996 & Dom Pérignon Michael Riedel Ltd Editions
“For a long time the 1996 was so insolent,” says Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, who believes that this rosé, now entering its third decade – or what DP calls its second plénitude – is finally coming of age. That DP sensuality is there, with a seductive hint of jasmine on the nose, while the palate alternates between cherry/amaretto and a slight savouriness: delicious and subtle. In time for Christmas, meanwhile, DP has teamed up with German artist Michael Riedel to create a pair of eye-catching coffrets for its Blanc 2006 and Rosé 2004 that serve as “a poetic optical metaphor for the passage of time”. £155 for the Blanc 2006 and £345 for the Rosé 2004; www.harrods.com, www.hedonism.co.uk, www.jeroboams.co.uk and www.selfridges.com.
2) Cristal 2009
Released in the new Sky Lounge of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard – a spectacular spot boasting the largest selection of Louis Roederer champagnes in the UK – the 2009 marries the ripeness of a warm summer with Cristal’s characteristic freshness and purity. Cloud-like citrus parfait, with notes of on-trend yuzu, clementine, lemon and lime, meets more honeyed/nutty baklava notes in a wine that is, in the words of chef de cave Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, “effortless”. £165; www.harrods.com.
3) Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Edition Automne 2005
Having previously released the prestige cuvée Belle Epoque Spring, now Perrier-Jouët pays homage to autumn with a new rosé. Deep pink with hints of chestnut, it opens with bright redcurrant acidity before mellowing into more mature and substantial notes of pomegranate, molasses, fig, poached rhubarb and rose that make a delicious match for Asian-style salmon, tuna and rare beef. The art nouveau-styled bottle, as ever, is a stunner. £175; www.sohowine.co.uk.
4) Philipponnat Clos de Goisses 2007
This cult-grower champagne has a reputation for being a wine that rewards long ageing, and the 2007 looks set to be no exception – tightly wound as a coiled spring, it gives little away at the moment (particularly when tasted next to the more fruit-forward 2006), but hints of spice-dusted melon, gunflint and some ghostly floral characters point to much excitement down the line. This is one to keep for another decade at least. £990 for a case of 12 in bond; www.biwine.com.
5) Gosset Celebris 2004
The oldest champagne house is the last of the big names to release a 2004, but it’s been worth the wait, as this is a wine to savour. Comprising 55 per cent Chardonnay and 45 per cent Pinot Noir, this extra brut kickstarts the palate with characteristic Gosset acidity and a fine, frothy mousse, before filling out into tarte tatin, pain d’épices and a long, buttery finish. A real oenophile’s wine from a house that releases precious few vintages. £372 for a case of six; www.bbr.com.