Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier French Champagnes, Reims France
Champagne can mature for decades, reaching a number of perfection peaks along the way. Cave Privee is a limited release of Veuve Clicquot's finest vintages as they reach those peaks of perfection. After seventeen years on lees and two under cork, disgorged to order, individually marked and dated, Cave Privee is treated to a bespoke doseage. Combining the nobility and freshness of Veuve Clicquot 1988 with the power and concentration of Veuve Clicquot 1989, Cave Privee 1990 is the last in a series of three consecutive great Champagne vintages.
Picking started in the second week of September for Chardonnay, a week later for Pinot. The quality of the harvest was remarkable, with vivid fruit characters and the perfect balance of acid. Save for a few areas of Chardonnay affected by botrytis, the quality of all three grape varietals was uniformly superb. A blend of seventeen different crus, all classed as Grand or Premier. Black grapes account for two thirds of the cepage, mostly Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallee de la Marne, with a tenth of Pinot Meunier from the Premiers Crus of the western Montagne de Reims. The remaining third is Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and to a lesser degree, from the Montagne de Reims.
The colour is a subtle gold, with a hint of green or even pink. In the glass, the bubbles are fine and lasting. The nose is impressive for its depth and great richness. From the first, great complexity and concentration are apparent. Fruit aromas dominate, on two levels, firstly ripe fruits (apricots, pineapple), then dried fruits (almonds). After some exposure to the air, further scents reveal themselves, pastries, hints of spice. Slightly toasty notes complete the delightful symphony. The first impression on the mouth is of structure and concentration. Such vinosity is well balanced by a superb liveliness. The candied citrus flavours (mandarins) bring a delightful freshness to the wine. The finish is full and long lasting.