The non-vintage Croix Rouge Brut champagne from de Castellane
has been my favourite non-vintage champagne for many years
. It is not necessarily one of the big, well-known brands but it is a really classy champagne. Only in the best years does de Castellane produce a vintage champagne (before 2007 the previous vintages were 2004 and 2002); they select the best grapes and the blend can vary though only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are used
(45% and 55% respectively in this vintage) as Pinot Meunier does not age well. Unlike the non-vintage champagne which is blended to ensure a consistent style, the vintage champagne is intended to reflect the vintage in question.
The wine is aged for more than four years on horizontal shelves in the winery's cellars. The extra ageing gives the champagne a slightly deeper golden colour, more complexity in aromas and flavours,
a fuller body and a long finish. The fuller mouthfeel balances well with the fresh acidity and fruit flavours
which include candied fruits, peaches, apriicots, citrus fruits and pear.
The de Castellane non-vintage champagne remains a favourite but this vintage champagne is a step-up and a fabulous treat for special occasions.There's been a run on this lovely champagne so it is currently only available as a one-bottle gift pack.
Drink on its own, with canapés, smoked salmon and other oil fish like mackerel, caviar, shellfish including lobster, fish, chicken, turkey, mushrooms, truffles, parmesan cheese, sheep's cheese, mildly spiced South East Asian food, fruit based desserts
16.5 points Jancis Robinson Mar 2015
"Sweet, rich nose. Solid mouthful of fizz with decent balance. Lots to get your teeth into! Good balance. Long."
Silver Medal International Wine Challenge 2016
"Broad and fleshy flavours of crystallised peel, smoky, bready notes. Full flavoured with a clean finish."