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Fanciers of French fizz are in for a treat with the latest offerings from Europe’s top producers. Never one to shirk his responsibilities, David Pike put his hand up to sample some of the Gallic fare.

CHAMPAGNE means different things to different people – an indulgence for many, a necessity for others and a rare treat for most.

For me, of course, it’s all work. Very enjoyable work, mind you.

So when Perth fine wine merchant John Jens invited me to an evening tasting through some top French fizz, vintage and non vintage, I cleared my desk with not a second thought.

Pol Roger Non Vintage rrp $65.00 rating 18/20

Without doubt one of the best value NV wines that comes out of the Champagne district. Pale lemon in colour with a pronounced yeast character that is surrounded by ripe lemon characters and a mineral touch. The palate is explosive with citrus lemon, lime and grapefruit flavours, a degree of mineral undertones and a dynamic length of palate. Delicious.

Taittinger Non Vintage rrp $70.00 rating 18.5/20

An absolute cracker. Ripe and ready for Christmas cheer. Some toasty developed characters on the nose, fragrances of cashews, citrus and a musk complexity. The rounded palate is lean, with lively acidity and integrated fruit. A very classy wine that displays a clean finish.

Charles Heidsieck Mis en Cave 1996 $60.00 rating 19/20

More fantastic value for money. The year on the label refers to the year the wine was put down in the ‘cave’ for aging, not the vintage of the wine. A little confusing, but once you have a glass of this whizzing around on the palate you won’t care. The clean and fresh zesty aromas have a brioche complexity. Rounded with a great mouth feel that shows finesse integrated with lime and grapefruit flavours. Tremendous length of palate.

Bollinger Non Vintage rrp $75.00 rating 19/20

Bolly is very recognisable in the glass and people either love it or not. The style tends to be bigger and richer than many of the other house styles coming out of Champagne. There are quite developed biscuit-like, nutty aromas with an explosive zesty palate. Grapefruit, apple and lime characters combine with lively acidity and a delightful rewarding finish.

Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon 1992 rrp $190.00 rating 18/20

A luxury item with about 200,000 cases produced annually. It’s a very classy wine. Pale straw in colour with vibrant lemon and brioche, with complexity on the nose. Creamy lively lemon citrus flavours are integrated with acidity and hints of cashews to produce fabulous length of flavour. This is a complete wine displaying class and elegance.

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1994 rrp $170.00 rating 18/20

This is a blanc de blanc style (made from 100 per cent chardonnay). Fresh, clean mineral aromas with lemon citrus touches. Creamy rounded palate with some vanillian undertones. Amazing complexity of flavours that show some develop-ment on the palate with a long zesty finish.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1990 rrp $150.00 rating19+/20

Wow, what a wonder. If this wine doesn’t get you all warm and fuzzy then you are in trouble. Another pure and near-perfect chardonnay. Fresh and clean with citrus and vanilla and brioche aromas. Explosive and lively flavours of lime citrus, stone fruits, and brioche combine with seductive acidity and an amazing length of palate.

Krug Grande Cuvee Non Vintage rrp $200.00 rating19+/20

Pure indulgence. You will be hard pressed to find a more complete wine. This wine is youthful with enticing aromas of nutmeg, butterscotch, spice and bread. The palate is stunning, with vibrant lime, sherbet, brioche and slight ginger spice, and shows complexity and length of flavour.

Pol Roger Winston Churchill 1990 rrp $170.00 rating19+/20

Along with its little sister the non vintage, this 1990 Winston Churchill is unquestionably fantastic value for money. It might be hard to find but will reward once in your possession. With stunning complexity of aromas that show some development, the palate is dynamic and alive with fruit and fantastic acidity that rolls around on the plate with intensity and refinement.

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