“Chablis & Champagne – Six Of The Best”

This tutored tasting was held at the Masonic Hall in Harrogate on Thursday 27 March 2014, starting at 7pm.

Wines for the evening:

Blind Spot Riesling or Blind Spot Semillon/Sauvignon (mentioned in Wine Press recently) were served on arrival.

The Tasting List consists of:

1. Clos Beru 2010 (£29)

  • 5 ha. parcel enclosed with a wall dating from the XIIIth century built in order to isolate the very unique geology of this terroir.
  • It is located in the heart of the village of Béru.
  • The dominantly limy and rocky soils were formed during the Kimmeridgien period.
  • The Clos lies on a hill facing south, south-west.
  • 100% Chardonnay
  • Age of the vines: 30 years old on average
  • 6000 vines/hectare •
  • Guyot double shape pruning system
  • Biodynamic production since 2010 (Organic since 2006)
  • Manual harvest in the end of September
  • Pressed directly with a pneumatic press at low pressure.
  • The musts are fermented in old oak barrels without fining and filtration and aged for 18 months.
  • Very little sulphur is needed

2. Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2010, Domaine long-Depaquit (£37.30)

  • The origins of the domaine can be traced back to 1791 when Jean Depaquy and his brother Simon moved to Chablis in the aftermath of the Revolution, “for their health”
  • They purchased vineyard holdings and the domaine developed into one of the most renowned in the village
  • In 1967 the Beaune-based négociant Albert Bichot took a controlling
  • There are 62 hectares of vineyards which includes holdings in 4 Premiers Crus and 5 Grands Crus
  • Pride of place belongs to the 2.35 hectare Grand Cru monopole La Moutonne situated in the heart of the Grand Cru amphitheatre

3. La Moutonne 2010, Domaine Long-Depaquit (£59)

4. “Mystery wine”

5. Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Cuvée St-Ann NV (£25)

  • 11 ha of vineyards
  • 2 Champagne presses (up to 4000 kgs)
  • 13 vineyard parcels (including three parcels of ungrafted vines)
  • 4 grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier and Arbanne
  • A vat room with oak barrels, stainless-steel tanks, amphorae and cement “eggs” by Nomblot
  • Between 6 and 10 cuvees
  • Winemaker: Alexandre Chartogne
  • Dosage : Between 4.5 and 7 grams of sugar per liter
  • Vine age : 25 years old, on average
  • Vinification : Stainless-steel tanks, natural yeasts, no filtration
  • This cuvée is a sensorial picture of the village. It brings together all of Merfy’s various soil types, from Thanetian sands and clays to Cuisian soils.
  • It is typically a blend of three grape varieties, and it is the only non-vintage Champagne of the house.

6. Champagne Thienot Cuvée Alain Thienot 2002 (£72.60)

7. Champagne Bruno Paillard Brut Millésimé 2002 Blanc de Blancs (£60.45)

  • 32 hectares
  • Oger, le Mesnil, Vertus, Etoges for Chardonnays, (36,5%)
  • Bouzy, Ambonnay, Verzy, Verzenay, les Riceys for Pinots noirs, (40,5%)
  • Hautvillers, Cumières, Damery, Reuil, Venteuil, Festigny, for Pinot Meuniers. (23,4%)
  • 2 hectares of the vineyards (45%) are classified as “Grand Cru”

The ‘mystery wine’ was Warwick Estate First Lady unoaked Chardonnay 2012 (it was the best seller in the January HMWS Warwick Estate Wine offer. Members bought 11 cases at £6.60 per bottle. It is sold at £8.95 by The Wine Society). The 3 named Chablis and the mystery wine were tasted blind and the tasters were asked to select the wine they liked best. 44% voted for the mystery wine, 40% for Clos Beru, 12.5% for La Moutonne and 3.5% for Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos.

59 raffle tickets were sold at £1 each for 3 bottles of Warwick Estate First Lady Unoaked Chardonnay 2012.

A glass of Warwick Estate First Lady Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 & Blind Spot Cabernet Shiraz 2012 accompanied supper.

Supper Menu:

  • Duck breast, cointreau jus and fondant potato
  • Chocolate torte with vanilla ice cream

29 Members and 4 guests were present.


  1. “An excellent evening. Many thanks” – Pat & John Shore, Harrogate, 28th  March
  2. “Thank you for an enjoyable evening and hope you will soon feel better.” – David Morris, Harrogate, 28th March
  3. “Thank you so much for arranging such an enjoyable evening. I’m sure we all appreciated that you gave us your usual knowledgeable and entertaining presentation in spite of not feeling in top form.” – Gail Bent, Harrogate, 28th March
  4. “It was lovely to see you again, and thank you for organising the super dinner and tasting.” – Jane Trewhella, Otley
  5. “VMT for what was a most pleasant evening. I am in awe of your ability to lecture so comprehensively on the subject in hand and to do so without notes. Most impressive. Despite the great selections last night as to future Champagne purchases I hope you will not be too dismayed if I continue to buy Waitrose own NV or on occasions to get a  bottle of the ‘widow’ NV or perhaps if feeling wealthy then a vintage. Still I did enjoy very much the last Champagne that we sampled.” – John Armstrong, Harrogate, 28th March
  6. “Very good evening on Thursday — I enjoyed it very much. Good to see you and Ramani ” returned to the fold “. We hope you will feel better soon.”  Gwynneth Owen, Leeds, 29th March
  7. “Thank you so much for your very kind message! I hope you are doing well. Don’t hesitate to visit us again.” – Athénaïs de Béru, Chablis, 29th March

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