Two of my favourites from the Falstaff Champagne Gala in Frankfurt are the Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle No24 for overall performance and the Le Brun de Neuville Autolyse for its value for money.
The Grand Siecle is a 12 year matured blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir – from the 2007, 2006 and 2004 vintages. Delicate aromas of lemon, lemon balm, acacia and some apricot with brioche, toasted almonds and a little aniseed underneath. Very focused with an elegant effervescence of bubbles and a wonderfully creamy mouthfeel. Very long with a mineral finish.
The Le Brun de Neuville Autolyse is also remarkable. The name says it all: the Blanc de Blancs is matured on the lees for over ten years. Most of the base wines are vinified in stainless steel, though 5 per cent are also aged in oak. Thus, for a mere 39 euros shelf price (Germany), you get an incredibly fresh and perfectly matured champagne on a chardonnay base: lemon, grapefruit, green apple meet macadamia nuts, toast, herbs and chalk. Creamy mouthfeel, fine bubbles and a chalky mineral finish make this wine an ultimate value-for-money winner. The Chemin Empreinté of the same house, which undergoes its lees ageing under cork, is also worth trying.
With 20 exhibitors and more than 60 wines, of course, there were many other great performers. Among others, I noticed:The 2000 Oenotheque from Castelnau, the Doyard Blanc de Blancs 2012 Grand Cru Extra Brut and the Doquet Le Mesnil Sur Oger 2006.