Ageing Gracefully with Champagne Gosset

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Drinks: Champagne, Wines
Location: England, France

Imbibe Live Wine Ambassador, Xavier Rousset MS, joined Bertrand Verduzier from Champagne Gosset for a fascinating masterclass in the ageing potential of non-vintage champagne. With over 400 years of winemaking experience, Gosset specialises in a non-malolactic style. ‘The no-malo helps to keep the non-vintage wines fresher for longer,’ explained Rousset.

The tasting kicked off with two Gosset Grand Rosés – one with a base of mostly 2010 wines and the other with a base of 2008 – both roughly equal blends of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. ‘In Champagne, our job is to make a consistent non-vintage style,’ said Verduzier. ‘But Gosset’s approach with NV is very much vintage-oriented. We don’t approach blending with reserve wines, we approach the year.’

Both rosés showed evolved notes on the palate and a developed texture, with the 2008 being a particularly vinous style. ‘The 2008 shows the promise of ageing gracefully – it’s still amazingly fresh,’ noted Rousset.

From pink to white, with a duo of Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs, from 2011 and 2005 base wines. ‘The Blanc de Blancs 2005 is showing extremely well, with nice evolved toasty notes,’ said Rousset, who also picked up hints of truffle and mushrooms.

‘With more age the wine gains in backbone,’ said Verduzier. ‘You’ve probably been told that champagne should age on its lees to gain complexity, but let’s stop that idea right now,’ he added.

‘Of course you need a minimum time on the lees, but after disgorgement you liberate the wine from its reductive character and let the fruit express itself.’

The next pair to taste were Gosset Grande Reserves. The first, made mostly from 2012 base wines had a textured mouthfeel, with a saline note that would complement food. The second was made with 1985 base wines, plus 20% reserve wines from 1982 and 1983. ‘The mushroomy character in the 1985 is just stunning,’ said Rousset, pointing out the more voluptuous texture.

The tasting concluded with Gosset Brut 15 Ans de Caves a Minima, a one-off release launched last year. Blended in 1999 and aged on lees for 16 years, it showed an obvious lees influence, with a savoury character but notable freshness.

‘The idea of this tasting was to show you how much the ageing of NV champagne is possible – not only in the winery on the lees, but also in bottle, from the original release,’ concluded Verduzier, encouraging sommeliers to invest in NV magnums in particular for extended ageing. Gosset Champagnes are available from Louis Latour Agencies.

About Author

Julie Sheppard

Julie Sheppard has worked as a food and wine journalist for the past 15 years. She has written for a range of key UK and international specialist drinks publications including Wine International, Harpers, HOT and The Drinks Business. She has also written about wine, spirits, bars and restaurants for consumer magazines such as Time Out, Waitrose Food Illustrated and national newspapers including The Sunday Times. For two years Julie worked as editor of Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book and was also senior editor of Mitchell Beazley's Classic Wine Library series. She is currently managing editor of Imbibe and imbibe.com, and contributing editor for UK restaurant and bar guide Square Meal, squaremeal.co.uk, and lifestyle magazine Square Meal Lifestyle.

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