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A new release from the Pommery private reserve is apt to arouse a whole host of emotions. All vintages are stored in magnums, a method guaranteed to preserve and enhance flavour while the champagne rests 30 metres underground in the famous chalk cellars. Alain de Polignac has a special formula for these magnificent vintage cuvées: a blend of Pinot and Chardonnay; only Grand Cru vineyards; attention to detail; champagne disgorged (removal of yeast left over from secondary fermentation) as late as possible and minimum amounts of "dosage" or added sugar.
Winemakers remember the 1981 vintage for its tiny harvest. The quality however was magnificent. Biting and crisp, this lively, concentrated champagne combines both body and finesse. The magnum comes in a wicker basket with a small booklet showing the date the champagne was disgorged.
Champagne: Challenging weather conditions left a small harvest and kept the producers in suspense up until the final moments. The final result was a good but very scarce vintage.
The mild spring woke up the vines from their winter sleep early, and vegetal growth began early in the spring. Unfortunately, heavy night frosts came in April and damaged the young sprouts. The situation only got worse when in May hailstorms damaged the vineyards. After this, the weather stayed cold, and the vines did not flower until July. In general, Chardonnay succeeded better than the red varieties in the flowering phase. August and September brought belief back to the producers, when the weather turned hot and sunny. Grapes matured in record speed, and it was possible to do the harvest right before the late September rains. As a result of previous lean harvest years, producers confirmed the sufficiency of non-vintage blends, and a large part of this vintage’s wines ended up as blend wines.
Thankfully, some of the producers also produced vintage champagnes. The have generally proven to be balanced and even excellent. The wines still have posture, elegance and concentration, even though the wines do not improve further in the cellar. The best experiences this year have been produced by Krug, whose blend exceptionally is half Chardonnay. For friends of Pinot Noir, the best win