Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Drappier Champagne

Drappier is one of my favourite champagne houses. Everything they do is so precisely judged and of such high quality. I visited the cellars at Urville today on a bright, typical spring day in southern Champagne. It was great to see André (Papa Pinot) in great good spirits and Michel too – both hard at work, André in the office, Michel counting bottles in the cellar. Michel’s efficient and attentive assistant Samuel looked  after me and my clients with charm and kindness.

I was grateful for an opportunity to catch up on the range. Here are my notes.

Brut Nature Sans Soufre, 100% Pinot Noir – a blend of 2005/6 and 7 aged in stainless steel.Quite a deep copper; a full, but slightly cidery nose with great richness underneath. Clean and fresh on the palate, showing much less oxidative character and surprisingly rich fruit.

Quattuor IV, a blend of 25% each of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Arbane and Petit Meslier, same blend of vintages as the previous wine. Dosed aroun 9 g/l. A remarkable Blance de Blancs – white peach and barely ripe pineapple fruit with spice and a citrus freshness in the mouth. Light and elegant.

Carte d’Or NV (currently also 2005/6/7). The benchmark wine of the house is as good as ever – fresh and toasty, with clean, bright, juicy, black fruit flavours (90% Pinot Noir).

Brut Rosé NV (100% Pinot Noir) – 100% saignée.  A blend of 2006/7/8. A vibrant but quite delicate pink, with a lovely creamy aroma of red fruits – strawberry and raspberry. The slightly higher dosage is immediately apparent, but this fruity, easy-drinking wine is very appealing.

Millésime Exception 2004 (60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay), aged partly in oak (pièces and more especially, foudres), then 5 years sur lattes.      A fine brioche nose with hints of red fruits and then a long, rich taste, slightly biscuity and markedly mineral. (£36.99 at Oddbins)

Grande Sendrée 2004 (55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay). A much richer, more complex wine – and also rather more oxidative in an attractively buttery way. Powerful, fine and long, it has great structure and a slightly phenolic finish. Already easy to enjoy, but well-equipped for the long haul. (£44.99 at Oddbins)

Carte d’Or, Vintage 1995 – from a magnum , disgorged in  May 2007. A very remarkably wine from a vintage too often overshadowed by 1996. It is very complex, with aromas of confit lemon and pineapple and then rich, soft and lingering in the mouth with considerable salty minerality, and an inherent elegance and simply – in short, it has sheer style and is still remarkably youthful. It’s such a shame I was driving and had to spit it out!














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