Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

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Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Jeff B » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:41 pm

I suppose most would say a perfect balance of the two, but I also suspect that each palate gravitates more towards one or the other.

I ask this because I'm a bit quirky in that I favor champagnes on the aged and languid end (if I can choose). I don't mind a moderate loss of effervescence and love bubblies that have that mellow honeyed tone. And it doesn't matter if it's a Chardonnay dominated cuvee or a Pinot-dominated one. Although the blanc de blancs often take longer to get to that desired mellowness.

On the other hand, I know that some tasters downgrade any champagne that doesn't have adequate zest and vitality. But I've had champagnes that others would surely claim as near-gone, and I enjoyed them!

Jeff
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Jay Labrador » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:36 am

Aged, definitely.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Peter May » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:58 am

Depends on ones definition of aged :)

According the the Champagne houses -- who tell me that their product is perfect for drinking on release and there's no need to keep it but one should drink straight away -- I like it aged. By which I mean I keep between 6 months and 3 years before opening and I think there is a noticeable improvment, especially on the cheaper ones.

But I don't like the deep coloured lost -fizz ones that I get when I keep for too long.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Jim Grow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:07 pm

Jeff, I'm with you exactly. Loss of fizz is not a problem with me if it is accompanied by greater honied notes and mineral complexity. Years ago I had a Piper Heidsieck NV at least 25 years old that was fabulous but with little fizz.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:18 pm

Young or old - love Champagne either way.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Salil » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:29 pm

C) All of the above!

In fact, I'll take still/bubble free Champagne too - if and when I can get my hands on any Coteaux Champenois from a good producer.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Ryan M » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:24 pm

I'm net yet very experienced with aged Champagne, but based on what I've had, I'm with David - I like them young or old. Even including painfully young Krug.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby David Creighton » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:39 pm

ok, i'll go the other way - definitly younger. i can take a moderate amount of age as long as the oxidative elements aren't obvious. yes, they can be too fresh; but that is a problem soon solved.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Tom Troiano » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:35 pm

NV Brut almost always seems a bit green to me and almost always seems to benefit from at least 6 and maybe 18 months in the cellar. Of course that may just be the brands that I regularly buy.

Really old somewhat dead vintage Champagne can be interesting from a science experiement point of view but I think its a bit of a waste.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Ian Sutton » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:39 pm

aged, but not ancient
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Jon Peterson » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:46 pm

A little age on my champagne usually works best for me. In the mid-1980s, I opened a bottle of Taylor champagne about ten years after it had been the wine at a weeding. This was about $4 a bottle, New York State champagne. Expecting the worst for good reason, I was very pleasantly surprised by a light sherry flavor with a slight sparkle. While I would not repeat this with any expectation of quality (Taylor doesn't even exist for all intents and purposes) it did teach me that champagne with some age can be a very good thing indeed.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Jeff B » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:14 pm

Jon Peterson wrote:A little age on my champagne usually works best for me. In the mid-1980s, I opened a bottle of Taylor champagne about ten years after it had been the wine at a weeding. This was about $4 a bottle, New York State champagne. Expecting the worst for good reason, I was very pleasantly surprised by a light sherry flavor with a slight sparkle. While I would not repeat this with any expectation of quality (Taylor doesn't even exist for all intents and purposes) it did teach me that champagne with some age can be a very good thing indeed.

I agree Jon. While I wouldn't turn down a youthful champagne, it is when a champagne loses its bubbles that it really starts to get interesting, in my humble opinion.

I was taught that lesson by, of all bottles, a NV Perrier Jouet. It was in a half bottle and was probably "well over the hill" by all scientific measures. The fizz was languid and vanished quickly after about 15 minutes in the glass. But it was one of the most interesting champagnes I've ever had - with a burnt caramel apple type of flavor. I learned that day that not only do I like "over the hill" champagne, but that even NV bottles can evolve into something magical with enough aging. Not that every bottle does, but you never know until you pop the cork.

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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Lou Kessler » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:23 pm

Jeff B wrote:
Jon Peterson wrote:A little age on my champagne usually works best for me. In the mid-1980s, I opened a bottle of Taylor champagne about ten years after it had been the wine at a weeding. This was about $4 a bottle, New York State champagne. Expecting the worst for good reason, I was very pleasantly surprised by a light sherry flavor with a slight sparkle. While I would not repeat this with any expectation of quality (Taylor doesn't even exist for all intents and purposes) it did teach me that champagne with some age can be a very good thing indeed.

I agree Jon. While I wouldn't turn down a youthful champagne, it is when a champagne loses its bubbles that it really starts to get interesting, in my humble opinion.

I was taught that lesson by, of all bottles, a NV Perrier Jouet. It was in a half bottle and was probably "well over the hill" by all scientific measures. The fizz was languid and vanished quickly after about 15 minutes in the glass. But it was one of the most interesting champagnes I've ever had - with a burnt caramel apple type of flavor. I learned that day that not only do I like "over the hill" champagne, but that even NV bottles can evolve into something magical with enough aging. Not that every bottle does, but you never know until you pop the cork.

Jeff

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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Howie Hart » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:18 am

At MOCOOL a few years ago, the theme was "Sweet 16 and Bubbly", which meant any wines 16 years old (1990) or sparkling wines. There were several examples that hit both criteria. I recall tasting about a dozen 1990 vintage Champagnes. It was my first experience with aged Champagne and I was amazed. A common characteristic of these wines was earthy, mushroomy aromas that had developed over time, which I liked.
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Re: Do you prefer your champagne on the fresh or aged end?

Postby Craig Winchell » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:28 am

I'd say younger for Chard, older for Pinot and blends, but in any case the age should be accompanied by late disgorgement. The nicest part of the Chards is their abundant fruit, while the yeast autolysis is what makes an aged Champagne to me. I'm not a big oxidation freak.
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