Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

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Bryan Price
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Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#1 Post by Bryan Price » June 6th, 2020, 4:44 pm

My wife and I have started to drink more champagne. It started out as a way for my wife to drink something when I was having beer, but I'm starting to like it a lot too. We've been buying 6-packs of assorted NV bottles from the grocery store, and have been liking Roederer (we've visited there too), Mumm, but haven't found anything we like (for ~$45) as much as Veuve Clicquot. We went to a wine maker dinner for Morlet and loved their family's French champagne, but I assume that bottle was out of my regular price range. I'm really just starting out my exploration of champagne and excited to find out what else is out there in the $30-60 that is as good (or my assumption much better) than Veuve? My wife likes the crisp apple tasting note in Veuve for reference.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#2 Post by Mattstolz » June 6th, 2020, 4:48 pm

great topic. I have been wanting to ask something similar for a long time, with the exact same price range. something about champagne house names intimidates the hell out of me.

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#3 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » June 6th, 2020, 5:08 pm

Gonet Medeville Tradition Brut
Chartogne-Tallet Cuvee St Anne
RL Legras BDB Grand Cru
Paul Bara NV Grand Cru
Vouette Et Sorbee Fidele
Marie Courtin Resonance

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#4 Post by Kirk.Grant » June 6th, 2020, 5:19 pm

There are a lot of interesting finds and depending on your willingness to try new wines, and further define what you like it can be a really great Journey. Here are a few that I've really enjoyed and thought to be under valued:

Vilmart: Try any of them at a price range you're comfortable with. I think a little step up can be worth it but starting with their base offering is still a good call.
Pierre Peters BdB: for about $50 it's a great example of a Blanc de Blanc for the money
Pierre Moncuit: NV Champagne Cuvée Hugues de Coulmet Blanc de Blancs Brut ($34.99 at Envoyer) is another more affordable BdB that I think is a value.
Charles Heidsieck: NV Brut Reserve is another house to check out and around the same price
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#5 Post by Frank Murray III » June 6th, 2020, 5:26 pm

Vilmart Grand Reserve is a great choice. Chartogne-Taillet St Anne....same thing. Mousse Fils l'Extra Or d'Eugene is another. And, Larmandier-Bernier Longitude, too. Marie Courtin Resonance (I'm starting to sound like Michael but he and I see this alike) is also excellent.

As a side note...I had a 2014 Vilmart Grand Cellier d'Or a few weeks ago and that had a banging core of fresh cut green apple, although that is going to break your price limit but I wanted too still comment as it matched your flavor marker.
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2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#6 Post by Jim Stewart » June 6th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Of the more widely available stuff, Bollinger Special Cuvee might be my top suggestion. Other big house NV champagne that we have enjoyed and are pretty widely available and might offer some of that crisp apple that you seek:
Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve
Louis Roederer Brut Premier
Laurent Perrier Brut "La Cuvee"
Taitinger Brut "La Francaise
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#7 Post by Andrew K. » June 6th, 2020, 5:54 pm

Curious what you like about Veuve? I can't stand it. Moet all day for me at the price point.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#8 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » June 6th, 2020, 5:56 pm

NV Delamotte. I can crush this stuff all day.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#9 Post by Marshall Manning » June 6th, 2020, 6:30 pm

Michael made good suggestions, I'd also recommend Bereche Brut Reserve, Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, and Moussé l'Or d'Eugène Blanc de Noirs Brut, as well as the less expensive wines from another Veuve, Fourny, who makes a wide variety. You'll find that almost all of these are much drier than Clicquot, and maybe that isn't your style? I find Clicquot far too sweet and without as much acid as I crave, and I prefer to support smaller growers as opposed to big houses, so that's where my recommendations come from.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#10 Post by Mike Hawkins » June 6th, 2020, 6:31 pm

If your wife likes the apple notes, I’d skip most of the aforementioned BDB recommendations and go for blends or Pinot dominant examples. Camille Saves and Bara (as mentioned) will give that characteristic.

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#11 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » June 6th, 2020, 6:35 pm

The hated Veuve Clicquot, poster child for despised big house champagne. What else do you like?

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#12 Post by cjsavino » June 6th, 2020, 6:36 pm

Bollinger Special Cuvée is a good step up
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#13 Post by Bryan Price » June 6th, 2020, 7:03 pm

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
June 6th, 2020, 6:35 pm
The hated Veuve Clicquot, poster child for despised big house champagne. What else do you like?
If you're talking champagne, I like the French Mumm brand and Moet in addition to the ones I named in the OP. For still wine, my favorite is pinot noir. I love most Sonoma pinot houses (Morlet, Williams Selyem, Gary Farrell, Peay, Scherrer, etc.) and a few "Central Coast" producers (Arcadian, Sea Smoke, etc.). I prefer "bigger" styles - I'm young and I won't apologize for it!
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#14 Post by N. Justl » June 6th, 2020, 7:21 pm

We have been enjoying Pierre Gerbais Grains de Celles Extra Brut for sub $40.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#15 Post by Mark Y » June 6th, 2020, 7:22 pm

Agapart Fil 7 Cru

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#16 Post by Kris Patten » June 6th, 2020, 7:25 pm

Try Bollinger and Charles Heidsieck NV before you jump into a bunch of grower fizz.

Growers are great, but based on your current lineup, may be a bit premature.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#17 Post by Andrew M » June 6th, 2020, 7:29 pm

Crisp apple? Bouzy Pinot. The Paul Bara NV recommendation is right on the money. I also get that flavor in spades from the Remy Massin 08 millesime that Envoyer has had for a while, that was a killer QPR at the initial price. I think there’s a newer vintage out too that would be worth checking out. Previously recommended Vilmart Grand Reserve and Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee St Anne are good recommendations.

For my palate in this price range, I do best with Larmandier Bernier Longitude, Pierre Peters NV BdB reserve, Bollinger Special Cuvee, and Hebrart Reserve/selection. My wife and I actually love Veuve’s rose when we can get it under $60, but I would probably go to any of the above before that. I think you’ll find LB and PP to be a cleaner and purer expression of Champagne than Veuve.

Congrats on making the shift from beer to Champagne by the way. I did the same a couple years ago and have never looked back.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#18 Post by Jim F » June 6th, 2020, 7:42 pm

I like the recommendation to seek out grower champagnes. One way to simplify that search is to find champagnes distributed by Skurnik. Their name will be on the back label. Not fool proof, but I have found it helpful.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#19 Post by Mike Reff » June 6th, 2020, 8:38 pm

Larmendier Bernier.. Hands down amazing.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#20 Post by AstridKG » June 7th, 2020, 8:33 am

Where do you intend to do you wine shopping?

While I like many of the champagnes listed above, I am concerned that they won't be to your taste (much too dry) if you like yellow label Veuve, which has 9g/l in dosage.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#21 Post by Cris Whetstone » June 7th, 2020, 8:53 am

Veuve is actually ok these days. The regular yellow label NV is just usually over priced since it became popular. The 08 regular vintage yellow label is actually excellent.

Perusing the Hi-Times selection since I know you're local and their selection is a good as any around here, these are a few I would recommend trying. I think you'll find the variety surprising and fun. These are all 'NV'.

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve
Bollinger Special Cuvee(on the high side at $60. You can find it lower sometimes but it's one of my favs.)
Camille Saves Rose
Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs d'Ay
Hebrart Blanc de Blancs
Henri Billiot Reserve(Another fav. I'd start here if you really want that appley thing.)
Henri Goutorbe Brut Prestige
Paul Bara Rose
RH Coutier Brut Tradition

Also, Envoyer gets lots of interesting Champagnes and low prices. That's another good source locally for exploring.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#22 Post by Br1an Th0rne » June 7th, 2020, 9:33 am

Bollinger Special Cuvée is one of my favorite NV champagnes, and readily available for $40 if you buy at wine.com and use one of the many $50 off $150 or $100 off $300 coupons.

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#23 Post by Warren Taranow » June 7th, 2020, 9:47 am

These are all great recommendations. I'd also suggest you sign up for the Envoyer and Lopa Wine mailing lists. They both frequently offer exceptional champagnes in that price range. You'll both thank and curse me once you fall down those rabbit holes.
I'd avoid the non-dosed extra brut ones if you like the sweetness and roundness of the Veuve, although dosage is complicated and some would still fit your palate. While you're cursing me, splurge and buy a Tattinger Comte. It will ruin both you and your budget.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#24 Post by J. Rock » June 7th, 2020, 10:07 am

Pierre Moncuit Bland de Blancs Grand Cru NV. This is my favorite value in Champagne.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#25 Post by Marshall Manning » June 7th, 2020, 10:44 am

J. Rock wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 10:07 am
Pierre Moncuit Bland de Blancs Grand Cru NV. This is my favorite value in Champagne.
Is this from their most boring lots neener ?
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#26 Post by J. Rock » June 7th, 2020, 11:02 am

Marshall Manning wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 10:44 am
J. Rock wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 10:07 am
Pierre Moncuit Bland de Blancs Grand Cru NV. This is my favorite value in Champagne.
Is this from their most boring lots neener ?
[oops.gif] My fingers were just trying to do the rest of me a favor by throwing him off of the trail for the good stuff.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#27 Post by Bryan Price » June 7th, 2020, 11:13 am

Cris Whetstone wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 8:53 am
Veuve is actually ok these days. The regular yellow label NV is just usually over priced since it became popular. The 08 regular vintage yellow label is actually excellent.

Perusing the Hi-Times selection since I know you're local and their selection is a good as any around here, these are a few I would recommend trying. I think you'll find the variety surprising and fun. These are all 'NV'.

Andre Clouet Grand Reserve
Bollinger Special Cuvee(on the high side at $60. You can find it lower sometimes but it's one of my favs.)
Camille Saves Rose
Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs d'Ay
Hebrart Blanc de Blancs
Henri Billiot Reserve(Another fav. I'd start here if you really want that appley thing.)
Henri Goutorbe Brut Prestige
Paul Bara Rose
RH Coutier Brut Tradition

Also, Envoyer gets lots of interesting Champagnes and low prices. That's another good source locally for exploring.
Thanks for the shopping list Chris! I definitely used to peruse Hi-Time before the shutdown, and I am on the Envoyer list, but have been uncertain about just randomly buying Champagne from either without a recommendation. I'm comfortable enough with California wines to do that, but not yet with the bubbles.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#28 Post by Ed Steinway » June 7th, 2020, 11:28 am

There are a lot of good recommendations above. I would add Frank Bonville.

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#29 Post by Brad Baker » June 7th, 2020, 12:23 pm

Clicquot and some of the other wines that you mentioned are about as down-the-middle as you can get with Champagne so it is hard to say what might or might not be better to you.

I would go to a wine shop that has a decent Champagne selection like Hi-Times and just start buying and trying bottles. There is no better way to learn. Organize up a Champagne tasting with friends and try a dozen bottles side-by-side. There are plenty of good recommendations above; you will probably love some of them, dislike some of them, and find some just kind of boring. Based on mostly drinking larger producer NVs, I don't think you really are going to know exactly what you will like and dislike yet in Champagne.

I don't know what Morlet Champagne you had, but their basic NV Grande Reserve was always a solid wine and usually sold around $40-$45 though was not the easiest wine to find. I don't know how they currently handle importation, distribution, and pricing, but I would be shocked if it was outside of your price range. Morlet is a Pinot Noir heavy Champagne as is the Clicquot, there are vineyard source similarities between the two and there are also some similarities in the winemaking. It makes sense that you would enjoy both. Other producers that are likely to be silmilar would be those who have a lot of grapes coming from the Southern Montagne de Reims and the very eastern end of the Marne Valley (aka the section many now call the Grande Vallee). Wines from folks like Paul Bara, Andre Clouet, Camille Saves, Henri Billiot, Goutorbe, Geoffroy, Philiponnat, Bollinger, Chiquet, AR Lenoble, Brice, Chiquet, Hebrart, Coutier, Barnaut, Jacquesson, Pol Roger, Deutz, and Laurent-Perrier would all fit this bill and should not be too hard to find. There are plenty of others too, but don't stick just to these folks; explore the entire region and various styles as you might surprise yourself with what you like.

Try some Blanc de Blancs, Rose, 100% Pinot Noir, 100% Pinot Meunier, vintage wines, low/no dosage, small producer, all oak aged, etc... Eventually you are going to start to develop favorites. Just don't let anyone tell you that you need to follow any strict script. Big/small producer, high/normal/low/no dosage, maloclatic/no malolactic, steel/oak, blended rose/macerated rose, etc... There are good wines of all kinds out there. Explore!
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#30 Post by R. Frankel » June 7th, 2020, 12:25 pm

While I agree with these recommendations, I too am a bit concerned about availability. But Hi-Time and Envoyer give you access to a ton of names outside of the big brands.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#31 Post by David Baum » June 7th, 2020, 1:11 pm

Living in Coto you are a 10 to 15 minute drive to Envoyer so no shipping costs and easy to go back for more. It seems like a no brainer to start trying single bottles of grower champagnes to find others you like. Listen to your own pallette not someone elses

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#32 Post by Merrill Lindquist » June 7th, 2020, 1:14 pm

Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
June 6th, 2020, 5:56 pm
NV Delamotte. I can crush this stuff all day.
good choice at an excellent price.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#33 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 7th, 2020, 2:43 pm

Marshall Manning wrote:
June 6th, 2020, 6:30 pm
Michael made good suggestions, I'd also recommend Bereche Brut Reserve, Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, and Moussé l'Or d'Eugène Blanc de Noirs Brut, as well as the less expensive wines from another Veuve, Fourny, who makes a wide variety. You'll find that almost all of these are much drier than Clicquot, and maybe that isn't your style? I find Clicquot far too sweet and without as much acid as I crave, and I prefer to support smaller growers as opposed to big houses, so that's where my recommendations come from.
I love Marshall’s grower list, and the Lassaigne LVDM and Bereche are two of my favorites(pretty close to our house wines...) also Deibolt-Vallois BdB, Doyard BdB, and Pierre Moncuit make wines we absolutely love at very reasonable pricing.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#34 Post by Kevin Porter » June 7th, 2020, 5:52 pm

33 posts to get to Deibolt-Vallois? Shame!

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#35 Post by Jan Janas » June 7th, 2020, 11:30 pm

How did Veuve get to its status anyway? Was it quality or marketing? There are so many other big Champagne houses that aren't nearly as famous or recognized by the wider audience [scratch.gif]

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#36 Post by Rory K. » June 7th, 2020, 11:34 pm

I give a +1 to Delamotte, Hebrart, Tattinger
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#37 Post by Dennis Borczon » June 8th, 2020, 5:20 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 1:14 pm
Brian S t o t t e r wrote:
June 6th, 2020, 5:56 pm
NV Delamotte. I can crush this stuff all day.
good choice at an excellent price.
Expand your horizons. $42.95 at JJ Buckley ( I have no affiliation) Baby brother to Salon and worth every penny. More complex than the simpler styles of Champagne. I think they tend to get overlooked because of Salon flagship. Entire line is interesting.

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#38 Post by Frank Murray III » June 8th, 2020, 10:03 am

Bryan, here are a few things to look at if you go to Hitime. The first three bottles below would all be a good survey into different grapes, as well as perceived sweetness levels. And, these are all priced similar to that of what you would pay for Veuve. Enjoy the journey.

https://www.hitimewine.net/mousse-brut- ... 77242.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/vilmart-14-b ... 77201.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/chartogne-ta ... 74657.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/marguet-exra ... 78504.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/mousse-2012- ... 74357.html
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#39 Post by brigcampbell » June 8th, 2020, 11:10 am

David Baum wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 1:11 pm
Living in Coto you are a 10 to 15 minute drive to Envoyer so no shipping costs and easy to go back for more. It seems like a no brainer to start trying single bottles of grower champagnes to find others you like. Listen to your own pallette not someone elses
and greg always has stuff on the shelf for sale to walk-ins.

Call ahead for a list

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#40 Post by Brad Baker » June 8th, 2020, 1:21 pm

I actually find a lot of similarities between the Delamotte NV (blend of all three grapes, not the BdB) and the Veuve NV. The Delamotte comes across as a bit lighter and slightly more elegant but the both have a similar character in regards to the Pinot grapes. While Delamotte is seen as the sibling to Salon, it is important to remember that Laurent-Perrier owns both and only Salon really stands on its own. Delamotte is much closer to Laurent-Perrier than it is to Salon. Laurent-Perrier's newly reformulated and renamed NV - La Cuvee is also pretty darn good and on paper is very, very similar to the Delamotte NV. I prefer the Laurent-Perrier and wonder exactly who gets what when it comes time to blend.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#41 Post by David Baum » June 8th, 2020, 1:52 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
June 8th, 2020, 11:10 am
David Baum wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 1:11 pm
Living in Coto you are a 10 to 15 minute drive to Envoyer so no shipping costs and easy to go back for more. It seems like a no brainer to start trying single bottles of grower champagnes to find others you like. Listen to your own pallette not someone elses
and greg always has stuff on the shelf for sale to walk-ins.

Call ahead for a list
always

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#42 Post by Jim Stewart » June 8th, 2020, 4:29 pm

You OC folks are fortunate and maybe even a little spoiled with your local access to so much grower champagne.
Age merely shows what children we remain.
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But I've just noticed that my mind is asleep.
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Frank Murray III
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#43 Post by Frank Murray III » June 8th, 2020, 6:47 pm

Jim, the local folks have worked hard to keep these wines coming here. Greg, Scott, Veronica...it's good fortune we have these folks looking out for the smaller growers.
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

Kindness matters. Dignity matters. Accountability matters. Respect matters. LEADERSHIP MATTERS!

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Bryan Price
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#44 Post by Bryan Price » June 8th, 2020, 6:49 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
June 8th, 2020, 10:03 am
Bryan, here are a few things to look at if you go to Hitime. The first three bottles below would all be a good survey into different grapes, as well as perceived sweetness levels. And, these are all priced similar to that of what you would pay for Veuve. Enjoy the journey.

https://www.hitimewine.net/mousse-brut- ... 77242.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/vilmart-14-b ... 77201.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/chartogne-ta ... 74657.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/marguet-exra ... 78504.html

https://www.hitimewine.net/mousse-2012- ... 74357.html
You're making my life too easy Frank! I'm firing up the order form as we speak.
“To alcohol! The cause of...and solution to...all of life's problems.” - Homer Simpson

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Frank Murray III
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#45 Post by Frank Murray III » June 8th, 2020, 6:59 pm

Cool. Try that trio and see which one you dig. That will give you a better north star for your palate. No right nor wrong answer here....just see what you connect with. I'll be curious to know when you have time to share that, Bryan.
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM
2015 Ulysse Collin Champagne Les Pierrières
2014 Laherte Frères Champagne BdB EB Les Grands Crayeres

Kindness matters. Dignity matters. Accountability matters. Respect matters. LEADERSHIP MATTERS!

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Howard Cooper
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#46 Post by Howard Cooper » June 8th, 2020, 7:07 pm

In this price range, I like Bereche.
Howard

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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#47 Post by J. Schenck » June 8th, 2020, 11:21 pm

Warren Taranow wrote:
June 7th, 2020, 9:47 am
While you're cursing me, splurge and buy a Tattinger Comte. It will ruin both you and your budget.
i didn't think i liked Champagne until i tried Comte...
Justin S.

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R M Kriete
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#48 Post by R M Kriete » June 9th, 2020, 8:38 am

I'm a sucker for Champagnes with a bready/yeasty quality. Which with these qualities would be recommended?

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Andrew K.
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#49 Post by Andrew K. » June 9th, 2020, 9:29 am

R M Kriete wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 8:38 am
I'm a sucker for Champagnes with a bready/yeasty quality. Which with these qualities would be recommended?
for sure:

2002 Dom Ruinart
2008 DP
к𝓁ย𝐠

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Paul McCourt
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Re: Moving Past Veuve: Initiate Me

#50 Post by Paul McCourt » June 9th, 2020, 10:25 am

I agree with Brad's comment about finding a few good sources and using them as a resource. You don't however, have to taste too many bottles at once - it can get confusing. Fun, but not necessary. I prefer to keep itsimple, and comparing two is more manageable and clearer to me. Ask for two champagnes of different styles and compare them side by side and see where you and your wife fall. Rinse and repeat and you will get towards the style you prefer, then the producers that you love in that style.
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