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The colour is pale green/straw. The nose shows biscuity Chardonnay aromas with touches of fresh fig, cinnamon and white tobacco. The Pinot adds hints of kirsch and mirabelle plums, underpinning the depth expected of a vintage wine. Long years of maturation have only served to refine these characteristics, delicately balanced by skilful dosage. The natural weight of the wine is lifted by the dominant overtones of the Chardonnay. On the palate, it is full bodied and round with all the vintage style of a typical 2000, finishing on notes of honey and crystallised citrus.
Food and wine matching:
Champagne de Castelnau Brut vintage 2000 makes a great aperitif. However, its honeyed tones go beautifully with sweet/savoury dishes such as lacquered pork and the more delicately spiced classics of oriental cuisine.
50 % Chardonnay selected for its ability to age from the best chalk soil sites
21 % Pinot Noir
29 % Pinot Meunier
A challenging vintage for Champagne in the face of an unprecedented heatwave during the summer months. The wines are characterised by the year's unusual circumstances. Large-scale frosts destroyed most of the projected yield and they were followed by hail and an extremely hot summer. Harvest was kick-started early on August 21st and yields remained minuscule at 8,100 kg/ha. Atypically round, ripe, sun-kissed wines that miss freshness and backbone. The total acidity level was notably low, at 5.8 g/l. Only the very best performers were able to avoid heaviness and overripe aromatics. This vintage was not largely declared but some famous names, Krug and Dom Pérignon at the fore, chose to experiment with it. Both produced excellent 2003s and Dom Pérignon's chef de cave at the time named the vintage as one of the creations he is most proud of. Some special cuvées surfaced, such as 2003 by Bollinger, as the house found the year did not stylistically fit into the La Grande Année range. Palmer & Co also took a curious route and made its 2003 only in magnum, releasing it much later than usual as cuvée Grands Terroirs. The ageing capacity of 2003 is much debated. Dom Pérignon's Richard Geoffroy had great confidence in his 2003 and he actually regretted releasing it too early. The jury is still out, but personally I am inclined to drink mine sooner rather than later, as the advancement post-disgorgement has in most cases been rather rapid and the wines miss the acidic backbone necessary for retaining freshness.