Review: A Stack of Short Notes I. (Sparkling Wine)

As you know, I refrain from taking proper and lengthy tasting notes at family dinners or while sitting with friends in a comfortable situation. However, I can’t and don’t want to shut off my interest and the tastebud’s rattling activity completely in these moments because a) I don’t see a contradiction in pleasureful enjoyment and the worthy appreciation of a drink (even if I have to keep this to myself), and b) I am a friend of conscious and respectful savouring with all senses.

So what is the middle ground here as I would like to keep a record of my drinking experience? For me, the following procedure works out: I am taking short notes after (and sometimes inobtrusively during) such situations in which it hasn’t been very suitable to write down a thorough review. Occasionally a score has to do – although I believe that mere scores without comments aren’t worth much.

A stack of such remarks and scores in various drink categories has piled up here by now, and so I hope you forgive me their brief fashion (or absence) when I share them with you within the next days.


Let’s start off with four sparklers:

Domaine du Moulin de Dusenbach (Bernard Schwach) Cremant d’Alsace Brut 12,5%

Comment: This didn’t fully convince us, it is very yeasty and rather one-dimensional – but not bad.

Score: 86


Juve y Camps Gran Reserva de la Familia 2005 Cava Brut Nature 12%

Juve y Camps of a Different Vintage

Comment: Advertised as one of the best Cavas from Spain – well, it is nice but can’t compete with some Segura Viudad products, in particular the Brut Reserva Heredad. The nose shows green apples, brioche, mossy earth and whiffs of peach, grass and lemon. It is somewhat restrained. Tastewise, the family reserve comes accross a bit like an Italian bitter (Campari) and damp, not very alive with a lot of yeasty notes and dried flowers (some lavender) leading into a tightly knit and lengthy finish. I won’t buy it again for it is too minor in tone for me, this is not my style of sparkling wine, but: It is profound in depth.

Score: 89


Delaunois D. et Fils Champagne 1er Grand Cru Cuvee Royale 12%

Comment: This is special because it is made only from Pinot Noir grapes. It also comes at a very fair price (below 20 Euros is possible). But price is not the standard here, only taste – and its taste is amazingly fresh and complex, highly drinkable and fun. It reminds me of the core of white peaches, plu some chalk and brioche – very Champaign-like. Exactly my thing, and the others loved it as well. Stunner to buy a case of!

Score: 92


Deutz Champagne 2002 Brut 12%

Comment: This one comes from the great Grand Crus of the historic Champagne, a fine vintage champaign? YES, it has a fine structure of pearls, a lot of acidity with a touch of metallic minerality which counterbalances the yeast very well. I am getting white peach, peach kernel, toasted brioche, lilacs, green apples, marzipan and bitter almonds, macadamia, a touch of exotic fruitiness and some mossy earth. It somehow grows on you sip by sip and displays an amazing complexity. In a different style than the Delaunois with more character and personality.

Score: 92+


More short notes to come in some days (SMWS december/january, wines like Mas de Daumas Gassac, Passito from Lieselehof and Alsatian beauties, Caol Ila Manager’s Choice, The Feis Ile Bottlings 2011, some r(h)ums, Macallan 10 Red Stripe 75cl, a review of the Elephant session’s drams and other Single Malts), stay tuned.

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