Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1985 Renee Collard Cuvee Reserve Millesime - Meunier at its best?

One of my co-workers, who buys champagne and sherry for the store, likes to say that in champagne, top-notch Pinot Meunier can make better Pinot than Pinot Noir itself. From my limited experience with his wines, and by repuation, Renee Collard proves this to be true. His oak aged, non-malo champagnes are deeply flavored and vinous, earthy and complex. They are typically composed mainly of Meunier with a bit of Chardonnay.

I enjoyed the 1985 Collard a few weeks ago after crashing my bike on Valencia St., while making an ill advised move from the torn up bike lane to higher pavement one lane over. My intent was to head out to Terroir and share the bottle, but oh well, a flat tire and crooked headset discouraged me from venturing any further. When I arrived home, I decided to crack open the Collard anyway; I was set on drinking that champagne and a minor bike crash was not going to stop me. No siree bobby. The champagne showed intense golden hues and aromas (you know how some aged chardonnay and champagne have that golden aspect to appearance, aroma, and flavor). There was a wonderful truffle note that emerged after time and was especially apparent the next day - I drank a glass with an omelette and salad. On the palate the champagne was very vinous, as is the rep for Renee Collard. Cidery, spicy, and chock-full of juicy black cherries. It was good but not mind blowing on day 1. On day 2 more flavors revealed themselves, especially a strong walnut husk aspect to the finish. So it looks like I might have enjoyed this bottle more in another five years. I'll have to accomodate my British taste in Champagne and buy another one to put it away for a while.