Vilmart Champagne Dinner

Champagne Dinner
six course meal with seven wines

Grande Reserve – Pre dinner
This blend of 70 percent pinot noir and 30 percent chardonnay is fragrant and ripe, its pronounced red-fruit flavors and roundness of texture giving away its high pinot noir content. It’s harmonious and suave, gaining a complexity on the finish that veers towards notes of quince, cocoa powder and toasted almond. As always, Vilmart’s wines need plenty of post-disgorgement aging: this bottle was disgorged in April of 2012, yet it would be even better with another year or two of aging. Last tasted: 4/13” Peter Liem - The Champagne Guide

Grand Cellier 
Made of 70 percent chardonnay and 30 percent pinot noir, this shows a pronounced finesse, its richly textured flavors of spiced orange, peach, quince and pear feeling confident and self-assured. This bottle was disgorged in February of 2012, and over a year later, it’s harmonious and approachable, exhibiting a round depth and a subtly spicy complexity. Last tasted: 4/13” Peter Liem - The Champagne Guide

Grand Cellier d’Or en Magnum 2007
This is surprisingly rich and generous for the vintage, and despite pinot noir accounting for only 20 percent of the blend, its red-fruit flavors are unusually prominent on the palate right now. It's still a little wrapped up in its notes of wood due to its recent disgorgement in November of 2011, but it's highly promising, already showing complex hints of sandalwood, rose petal, tangerine peel and exotic spice. Put it away for another year or two if you can. Last tasted: 3/12” Peter Liem - The Champagne Guide

Cuvee Rubis Rosé
This is a blend of 90 percent pinot noir and ten percent chardonnay, all fermented and aged in large, oak foudres. As with many wines combining the 2009 and 2008 vintages, this is both pungent and racy, its voluptuous flavors of raspberry, red cherry and exotic citrus feeling sleekly refined and elegantly textured. Its long, fragrant finish is complicated by dark notes of fennel and spice, showing an unusual vinosity and tension. Last tasted: 3/12” Peter Liem - The Champagne Guide

Grand Cellier Rubis Rosé 2009
Only released in the best Pinot years – no notes yet. 60 percent pinot noir and 40 percent chardonnay, with the pinot macerated on its skins for color. A seamless, concentrated wine with red-fruit flavors and lively acidity. Densely-knit with a long, nuanced length. It's an outstanding wine, marked by tremendous energy and finesse.

Coeur de Cuvee 2006
Laurent Champs is thrilled with the quality of his 2006s: “2006 isn’t well-known now,” he says, “but I’m sure it will be regarded as a more important vintage in the future.” The Coeur de Cuvée demonstrates the creamy, generous ripeness of the vintage, yet it balances its power with finesse, showing a fine texture and an elegant subtlety. This bottle was disgorged in April of 2013, and even a year later it feels a little tightly wound: its flavors of pear, guava and tropical citrus are fragrant and forward, but there’s a vividly chalky minerality underneath that’s waiting to emerge, and this promises to become much more complex and expressive as the wine settles down. Give this a few years in the cellar, or even another decade if you can. Last tasted 4/14” Peter Liem - The Champagne Guide

Ratafia Champagne liqueur
Ratafia has a mellow taste with lightly sweet gingerbread, honey and apple aromas. It can be enjoyed chilled as an aperitif, but may also be served with food. With meals, the magnificent creamy smooth texture and aromatic complexity enable daringly flamboyant matches with foie gras, sweet and savoury preserved meats (tagine or game with fruits), the richest cheeses including Maroilles, Livarot, Munster, Epoisses, Roquefort and Gorgonzola, and of course, a whole range of desserts, through to after dinner sweetmeats. Personally, I find a chilled glass of this (on its own), to have marvelous recuperative powers after a hard day.

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