1996 Leclerc-Briant Cuvée Divine

Champagne and Bruschetta…what a lovely combination! The contrast between French luxury and Italian simplicity is striking, but it sure turns out to be a nice match.

Leclerc-Briant from Epernay, the “capitol” of Champagne, has vineyards in no less than six villages. The 1996 Leclerc-Briant Divine is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

A big body Champagne which in my opinion – in spite of its age – probably would last for another five years. The Cellartracker community recommends it is drunk this year at the latest, but if you sit on a couple of these bottles, you have no reason to worry; it will live to see its twentieth year!

Pleasant and expressive nose of green apples, minerals, brioche and almonds. Good acidity, nutty, round and powerful with a lovely taste of apples. Still fresh. Again, a 1996 Champagne displays all the alleged qualities of the vintage. 91p.

I also – again – have to give my thumbs-up to the arguably best Merlot I’ve had: the 2005 Mas Comtal Petrea from Penedés in Spain, not far from Barcelona.

I’ve written about the Petrea in a previous post, and this really is an extraordinary wine. Oddly enough, the price has been lowered from 297 down to 239 SEK at Systembolaget. And this already was great value at the old, higher price! You’ll certainly have to exert yourselves to find a wine at this quality for this kind of money.

Subtle and elegant; dark cherries, spices, licorice and chocolate. If I didn’t know it was a Spanish wine, I’d probably guess it was Italian. Powerful yet silky. Complex and intense with a bigger body than I remember from the last tasting. However, at 13.5% ABV, it is still well-balanced. Brilliant. Lucky me nobody is buying it. 92p.

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