WanderCurtis Wine

Wine tastings, corporate events, reviews and recommendations

Leave a comment

Taittinger Wine Dinner review & tasting notes

Kevin McKee of Taittinger proved a marvellous host for our Taittinger Champagne dinner at Fredericks in Islington.  Each champagne played its part to perfection as the evening unfolded from aperitif through to dessert and Kevin entertained and enlightened with equal measure.

Taittinger Brut Reserve NV.

Served in magnum. Fine bubbles with a lovely open nose of stone fruit, pastry, honeysuckle and vanilla. In the mouth wide and long with more chardonnay flavours and great freshness.  As Eric said one glass leads easily onto the next.  This is my kind of champagne fresh enough for a party but with enough going on to keep it interesting in its own right.

image2Les Follies de la Marquetterie.

This is a single vineyard champagne again with a high proportion of Chardonnay blended with Pinot Noir  grown in alternate rows.

On the nose peach, nectarine and floral notes, a touch of crème patissiere quite focused. On the palate a tight core of fruit, apricot then some nice pastry notes from the lees with a long fresh finish.

This was served with a starter of smoked salmon on warm potato blinis with horseradish cream and the bright fruity acidity complimented the rich oily fish beautifully.

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de blancs 2005.

The flagship wine of the house served in a proper wine glass as it should be.

The bouquet of this wine is like walking into a French patisserie a heady mix of pastry, caramel, cream, roasted nuts and perhaps a whiff of nutmeg. Very complex.

On the palate soft and wide crème brulee with a hint of citrus, notes of toffee, enough acidity to lift the finish which lingers very long. Gorgeous! One to be enjoyed on its own.

Domaine Carneros Avant Garde Pinot Noir 2012.

A Californian pinot that is a joint venture with Taittinger and a very useful accompaniment to the herb crusted rack of lamb with pomme fondant.

Lovely ripe red cherry on the nose with some sweet spice and a hint of smoke. Medium body, silky mouth feel and lovely freshness.  More ripe fruit, rhubarb fool on the palate.  Good length a lovely refined pinot.

image4Nocturne Sec NV

Only one gram of sugar over brut so not really sweet but just enough to handle the lemon tart and strawberry sorbet.  Nice and fresh with a slightly steely edge (which may just be the effect of the dessert). Lots of peach and nectarine again very fruit driven but with great freshness too.  Has that extra punch to finish the evening off nicely.


Top Tip: If you like the creamy aged complexity of the Comtes its little sibling the brut reserve already has some of these chardonnay driven touches and a year in the cellar  will bring them out even more.

Leave a comment

Taittinger Champagne – WanderCurtis Christmas Wine Dinner At Frederick’s Nov 18th



Taittinger Champagne –WanderCurtis Christmas tasting November 18th


What a treat we had for our Christmas tasting at Fredericks

A full house of 40 people enjoyed some of the finest Champagne .

Taittinger remains one of the few Champagne Houses  owned and actively managed by the family named on the label.

Hosted by Kevin McKee, UK Director Family Taittinger we tatsed their signature Cuvee of the house through to

their prestigious cuvee Comtes De Champage 2005 made in tiny quantities and only in exceptional years , the ultimate expression of Taittinger.


Aperitif – Taittinger Non-Vintage in Magnum

taittinger7Starter – Comtes de Champagne 2005Nocturne Sec NV in Magnum

Main – Folies de la Marquetterie Non-Vintage     Domaine Carneros Avant Garde Pinot Noir

Dessert – Nocturne Sec NV in Magnum



Full review of the exceptional wines under Tasting Notes

Leave a comment

Pol Roger reserve NV champagne

If you fancy a real treat this summer you must try this or treat your friends! A delicious champagne, very creamy, almost vanilla ice cream, tight compact bubbles, plenty of fruit and great length. Winston Churchill’s favourite, and you will see why. Currently on discount from Majestic Wine.

Leave a comment

Duval-Leroy Blanc de Blancs 2004

Waitrose have a 50% discount on this 2004 vintage champagne at the moment.  Apparently it was selling for 30 quid (too expensive) before being reduced to £14.99 a bottle, or a very tempting £14.24 if you buy a case of six.

It’s lovely and fresh, with a tasty chardonnay character. Quite long too. It develops in the the glass over an hour or two which indicates that if you were to put a case away in the cellar or under the stairs for a year it will mellow and broaden out further.

Offer ends on the 22nd (though I suspect it may be extended if they haven’t sold out).

Leave a comment

Farr Vintners Christmas tasting

Held at the rather grand Vintners Hall on Upper Thames St, this was a great tasting with over 80 wines on show being served by some great winemakers, including Antony Barton of Leoville Barton and Jean-Charles Cazes of Lynch Bages.

Best wine of the evening was either Krug 1998 (not usually a big champagne fan, but this is extraordinarily complex and delicious), or Lynch Bages 2000, which had a heady nose of wood, bakery and sweet fruit, and followed through with a concentrated, complexity and real lasting depth (sadly £1250 IB).

Disappointments for me were Palmer twofold, as the Alter Ego 2007 and 2002 were light and thin, and not nearly as good as the 2008s I tried at the April UCG tasting, where they so impressed me. And by the time I got to the table someone had nicked the last bottle of 1996, which others said was great!

Also the Pichon Lalande 2005, 2004 and 2001 were all a bit insubstantial (thin according to the lady I was standing next to). The 2001 was best, so perhaps they need time to develop?

All the Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton impressed me, including both 2007s at £340 and £280 in bond (IB) respectively, confirming the oft repeated statement that Mr. Barton manages fantastically high consistent quality. I would go for the 2001 Langoa at £275 IB, which was earthy and mushroomy with plenty of fruit and tannin, or the 2004 Leoville at £395 IB, which was tight, lots of cassis and should develop over many years.

Not only was the Lynch Bages great, but so was the Les Ormes de Pez 2003 and 2005 at £220 and £240. I overheard a group of gents busy telling Jean Charles what great value his wines were and had to step in and put a stop to it.

The CNDP Dom de Senechaux 2007 they own was also lovely, full of sweet sticky figs and long, delicious. But a slight fear it might be a bit one-dimensional, or perhaps just young from a great vintage.

I was impressed by the Verget white burgundies, having recently had a great trip there sampling lots of good wine. I have been feeling a bit stung by the general level of prices and the generally poor 2007 reds.

The various Chablis 1er Crus from £135-£195 were all of great quality, tight minerally and with depth. For me ‘Vaillons’ and Fourchaume VV de Vaulorens’ were the most tasty. But I would and may go for the Meursault ‘Tillets’ at £210 IB, which was tight, fresh, stone fruits with a light woody touch and core of minerals. I’d be interested to find out how it might age.

Top value for early drinking (this time confirming Adam’s general view) were the new world wines:

Kumeu River Estate and Hunting Hill Chardonnays at £130 and £150. Made to develop over 2-6 years. Exciting, oaky but totally balanced, and simply delicious.

Craggy Range, the Merlot Cab Te Kahu at £120 IB was gorgeous and will apparently age well (no chance of that at my house as it will be polished off pronto). The Merlot Cab Franc Sophia at £190 was also ***+ wine, and the Syrah Le Sol at £295 IB (so a £30 a bottle wine) was so refined and balanced that it concealed its 14% alcohol completely. It’s the heaviness of a lot of NW wines that I find hard to enjoy.

The mystery wine a Phelan Segur 2005 at £300 as case was also very good indeed.

More info from Farr Vintners.