Champagne Tasting at the Begining of a Macedonian Harvest

As 2015 harvest has officially began in Macedonia, this text should be about nothing else than Macedonian wines, the grapes, the state of the vineyards, the ongoing harvest, …And in the forthcoming days, it will be so. However, these lines are about an enjoyable day spent tasting some of the best champagnes to celebrate the beginning, of what seems to be, an excellent vintage.

Somewhere between the destemming, pressing and filling the tanks at Chateau Kamnik winery (one of the three wineries in Skopje where I do my practice), we tasted some fine champagnes among them 2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Krug Grand Cuvée Brut and Taittinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. My list that follows and order of the Champagnes is according to my preference.

Taittinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut

Taittinger is one of the oldest Champagne houses based in Reims in France. The winery, after a recent tumultuous ownership history, is now again back in the hands of the Taittinger family. In their possession they have 288 hectares of prime vineyards and produces 5 million bottles annually. The vineyards in this region, Côtes de Bar, are one of the most expensive in the world with a staggering price of 1.8 million Euros a hectare.

Taittinger 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut was a pure enjoyment for all senses. Beginning as intriguing as all that followed later on. Almonds, lilies, and just hints of citrus and toasty notes on the nose. Multi layered and equally rich taste with creamy nuances, white peach tones, more toastiness and balanced and crispy acidity. Silky texture that revealed elegant nutty notes with additional hints of vanilla. Absolutely lovely & amazing aging potential!! Silkiness is the only word that I would use to describe this Champagne in just one single word.

Krug Grand Cuvée Brut

Krug is also one of the better known Champagne houses primarily based in Reims, France. Though it is owned by the LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.E. conglomerate, the Krug family is still involved in the wineries’ future, though less in the every day winemaking processes.

Krug Grand Cuvée Brut is a blend of 120 wines from a selection of 10 or more vintages and different vineyards, re-created on yearly basis. I’ve founded it classy, quite fresh and balanced. Lovely freshness on the nose, followed by abundance of herbal and fine toasty notes. Good structure, rich and complex taste and though the acidity was quite present, it was well balanced. 

2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime

Louis Roederer is just another Champagne chouse based in Reims, Champagne and unlike the other two above mentioned, it remains until today as one of the only independent family-run house. The winery is in possession of 240 hectares located in three main growing zones in Champagne, the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, and the Côte des Blancs. Yearly, around 3.5 million of bottles of Loiuis Roederer Champagne are sold from the winery to more than 100 countries. 

2006 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime was maybe the freshest of all the champagnes we tasted, but quite boisterous in crisp acidity (no need to mention a balanced one). Some fine citrusy and apple notes and just hints of tangerine on the nose. The taste follows the nose and is equally rich in agrumes and good minerality, though not over-accentuated. I would leave this Champagne in the cellar for some time more to age slowly and in a good direction.