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Champagne and All Sorts of Fizz!

There have undoubtedly been some poor 2005 champagnes.

I think it was Tom Stevenson who reported that the vintage had the unusual quality of causing some bunches of grapes to rot from the inside out. As they don’t normally do that, lots of bad grapes escaped sorting and made it into the crush. Especially diligent producers spotted this and took appropriate steps to rectify matters, so there are a number of producers who made good wines in the vintage.

Bollinger has been through a spell of adding no sulphur at bottling time - the resulting bottles have been distinctly variable in their maturation as a consequence. I understand that having introduced jetting, the bottles are now a much safer bet. I stopped buying them - a great shame as Bolly was a favourite of mine.


I really like the Bolly style.
I have loaded up with the GA 2008/12 & the Rose.
Also the Special Cuvee & Rose in bottles & halves.
It is a favourite with KFC. :blush: :wink: :dragon:
I am waiting for word that the 2018 vintage is the base wine for the Special Cuvee.
Not for a while, but ready.

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I had read that this Champagne, retailed by Aldi was good.
So, in the run-up to Christmas 2020, organised the delivery of a bottle.
Subsequently tried it and sad to report, nothing special.
The wine was not faulty, it was just very, very average.
So will not be buying it again.
It never fails to surprise me the diversity of palates, what is a cracker for one, is hemlock for another!! :open_mouth: :rofl: :dragon:

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I think the key differentiator here is price. You can usually pick up Aldi champagne up for in the region of £7 a bottle when they’re selling off Christmas stocks (I once got Lidl Pink Champagne at £3.99 a bottle), while it may be average compared to others, when you can pick up a case for the cost of a bottle, it becomes a far better option, especially for a Kir Royale or Bellini.


This one was around £11-12. There was lots of hype in the press and online.
I am far happier when I can get Bolly CS Brut for £18 per half or £24 per half for the sublime Bolly Rose, which the Society does not sell.
We seem to do 11 Gratien’s, 8 Pol Roger’s and 7 Boizel’s currently. Today, a meagre 3 Bolly’s.
But I had better wind my neck in and shut up, otherwise we may do even fewer. :open_mouth: :dragon:

That’s exactly my point though. It is £12 at full price a bottle vs £24 a half on offer. You can get two full bottles for the price of one half. It’s not a fair comparison.

I’m also aware that it’s a pretty citrus/green apple champagne rather than a toasty rich one, which given your preference will automatically put you off.


going to be better than

One would hope, but it’s also four times the price! Would I rather the Bolly? Of course I would, but on a hot summers day, a bottle of Aldi Champagne well chilled with a healthy splash of home made cassis or peach puree works wonders.

(note I chose the Jaume as a wine I really enjoy and I am in no way disparaging it, given my lack of experience in CndP this may be a bad comparison!)


Nicely put.

I think much of the appreciation of the Veuve Monsigny is due to its potential. Whilst if you drink it young it is a typical Vallée de la Marne Champagne, if you give it a bit of age it matures into something well beyond what you paid for it. A year will bring amazing changes - it’s not like some of those highly reputed blancs de blanc from the Cote des Blancs which can take a couple of decades to come round.

Good champagnes drunk on release are not to my taste either. I suppose if you only paid £11 then it’s not worth getting too upset over, but I think that Veuve Monsigny gets the plaudits because of the quality of the underlying material.


I didn’t get upset with it.
It was a great learning experience.
It just was not to my taste, so down the sink it went!!
My preference is black grapes champagne.
I have been a believer in aging my NV’s, a minimum of 3 years.
And like I keep on saying, all our palates are different.
I detest Riesling and Malbec, no explanation or criticism - that’s just me. :dragon:

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For information on Champagne, buy Robert Walters book “Bursting Bubbles”
No nonsense, hard hitting and revised my views on Champagne completely.
If you feel flush with cash the Christies encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling wine is the best book for general reference and completely comprehensive. It is about the same price as a bottle of Dom Perignon.


Excellent tip Andrew thanks. I’ve ordered one from Mr Bezos this very morn.

On the subject of books - and this is a general posting, I’ve also been very grateful for a tip on this forum several weeks ago, “The Wild Vine” by Todd Kliman. There was a used copy in Amazon marketplace which I snapped up and tells the full story of that quite unique natural hybrid Norton, from its “discovery” in Virginia, its pre-prohibition heyday in Missouri, and its current stuttering recovery back in Virginia thanks to Horton and Chrysalis. It’s too wordy and could at least be cut by 50% and stick to the facts, but none the less a good read and informative. It dovetails neatly with Christy Campbell’s epic tome on Phylloxera.

Thanks @peterm for the typo correction


There is a decent review of the RW book on JR. Bursting Bubbles – book review | JancisRobinson.com

Now I shall have to read the whole book. I gifted the one growers champagne case I have bought and have been waiting since for another to appear. It might be time to start buying them individually.

Thank you for the book recommendation.


Guilty as charged :laughing:


Peter, if you do buy the Christies Champagne and Sparkling wine encyclopedia you will see the rather unflattering comments about East Anglian sparkling wines. They are very dismissive.

The other Champagne magnum opus is a very handsome production by Peter Liem. The second volume is a box of old maps of the region. To be fair they are really interesting.
Alas, Liem’s book fails on two counts. The first is his muddled view of Terroir. A concept he does either not understand or does, but applies it wrongly. The second is his gushingly uncritical adulation of the region and its wines. His view is seen through rose tinted spectacles
or should I say rosé tinted spectacles. Another point is the huge array of glossy photos are all unlabelled and as a result in the end become rather meaningless.

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Agree about the Liem book but the selling point for me was the maps. Have you read Michael Edwards book? Anecdotal and by no means encyclopaedic but I enjoyed it.

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Thanks Jeremy, I had heard of Michael Edwards and briefly read his interview with Amanda Barnes. I have ordered the Champagne book and will report back!

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I have to declare an interest as I was maps editor for some volumes of the series (though not this one I think). Michael is a lovely man.

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I think all these books on champagne are criticisable, if you are so minded. It hasn’t stopped me buying them all! I would rather say that they all contribute something to the understanding of this wine.

There are a number of currents running in the ongoing business of champagne, and people tend towards favouring one over the other. We don’t really have a synoptic overview, though I suppose Michael Edwards’s taste is the more eclectic. But in that absence, getting different perspectives is an interesting project. Or at least I found it so.