Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Champagne Drappier at Oddbins

I’m delighted to see that Oddbins have decided to stock three wines from Drappier: one of my favourite houses. I’m especially pleased that they’ve got their hands on some Grande Sendrée 2002 and a little Grande Sendrée Rosé too. Both are exceptionally fine – every bit as good as luxury cuvées costing twice the £44.99 and £49.99 that Oddbins  quote.

Grande Sendrée is made from seventy year old vines on one of the finest sites in the Aube, named after a devastating fire in 1837 that covered the site with cinders.  It’s a blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. I tasted it last in July at the Drappier cellars in Urville. As usual, it’s rich with  an extraordinary depth of fruit and a wonderfully creamy texture, but with crisp acidity and quite marked minerality. It was disgorged in November 2008 and has the potential to develop in the bottle for many years if stored carefully (which isn’t easy in most modern houses).

I take issue  with one thing: Oddbins’s comment on their website, ” Why sully this transcendental experience wih food?”  Of course food won’t sully it! It would seem even more magnificent when partnered with a simply fresh turbot landed at North Shields. If Oddbins provide the wine, I’ll cook the fish.

Grande Sendrée Rosé has only been made since 1990 and is usually fabulously fruity and elegant – one of the best ‘saignée’ champagnes on the market (made by using a rosé base wine, and not by blending red wine with white).  Oddbins list it as 2004 – I tasted the superb 2002 in the summer. If Oddbins are correct, I’d expect it to be softer and maybe fruitier and less complex than the outstanding 2002 – and it will probably mature more quickly too. I look forward to trying it.

The third wine ‘Premier Cru’ does not feature in Drappier’s published portfolio and I’ve never tasted it. I presume that it is a blend of wines bought in from Drappier’s loyal band of contract growers. Drappier’s buy in about a third of the grapes that they vinify.

Comments are closed.