Yesterday, Champagne Palmer visited The Finest Bubble with a suitcase of treats! They had a magnum of the unique Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs 2005 handy and proposed we taste it alongside a magnum of Palmer & Co Vintage 2005, to which we added a few extras: Charles Heidsieck Brut Millésime 2005 and Lanson Gold Label 2005 – both in magnum, to give a good horizontal tasting of the 2005 vintage.
Not wanting to miss a perfect opportunity for a vertical comparison of Palmer, we also tasted a few more vintages: Palmer & Co Vintage 2002 from magnum and Vintage 2008 from bottle.
Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs really is a special champagne. Although not labelled as a vintage, it is produced from a single year and the magnum we tasted was from 2005. Whereas most Blanc de Blancs get their Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, the Chardonnay in Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs is sourced mainly from Villers-Marmery and Trépail, villages in the Montagne de Reims. This is then blended with a small amount of Chardonnay from the Côte des Sézanne. The resulting champagne is wonderfully fresh and light, with a saline quality unseen elsewhere.
Palmer & Co Vintage 2002 Magnum seems to get better every time we taste it and Palmer & Co Vintage 2008 is certainly the one to watch for the future.
Overall, this was an incredibly insightful tasting, not just into the power of Palmer & Co vintage champagne but also the quality of the underrated 2005. The magic of magnums was evident again, with the larger format 2005s and 2002 all showing as youthful and lively as the 2008 and 2009 from bottle.
All champagnes were tasted blind and are presented below in alphabetical order.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Millésime 2005 Magnum
60% PN, 40% CH | Lees ageing: 10 years | Disgorged: Spring 2016 | Dosage: 10 g/l | Cork Ageing: 2 years | TFB Score: 18.5/20
Has some aged characteristics. Seems darker in colour, some cream and custard caramel notes. Lots of fresh apple character and loads of fruit and acidity. Seems quite dry. Lots of appley length. Has a lazy personality, in a good way.
Lanson Gold Label 2005 Magnum
51% PN, 49% CH | Lees ageing: 5 years | Dosage: 8 g/l | TFB Score: 16/20
Slightly darker golden colour. Immediate apricots, peaches and some dried apples on the nose. Light mousse, lots of fresh green apples and citrus – seems to have high acidity. Quite tight at present. Medium length and freshness. Bit sweet on re-taste.
Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage 2009
50% PN, 36% CH, 14%PM | Lees ageing: 7 years | Disgorged: January 2017 | Dosage: 5 g/l | Cork Ageing: 1 year | TFB Score: 17/20
Very distinct nose, clearly a Moët. Full of flavour like apple, custard and lots of smokey character from their yeast. Doesn’t seem as fruity as some.
Palmer & Co Vintage 2002 Magnum
50% CH, 45% PN, 5% PM | Lees ageing: 13 years | Disgorged: February 2016 | Dosage: 8-9 g/l | Cork Ageing: 2 years | TFB Score: 18-18.5/20
Seems quite powerful on initial impression. Lots of fruit, some age, hint of lime and chalkiness. Lots of apple and custard. Wow, seems to be lots of acidity and some of that apple acid.
Palmer & Co Vintage 2005 Magnum
50% PN, 50% CH | Lees ageing: 11 years | Disgorged: 2017 | Dosage: 8-9 g/l | Cork Ageing: 1 year | TFB Score: 17.5-18/20
Has some creamy character coming straight through. Loads of ripe apples, caramel, custard and a slight dampness/must after some time open. Good mousse and balance, nice acidity and lots of apples. Goes on and on with good length and bitterness like a peach stone.
Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs Magnum
100% CH | Lees ageing: 9 years | Disgorged: 2015 | Dosage: 7-8 g/l | Cork Ageing: 3 years | TFB Score: 18-18.5/20
Has initial creamy character on the nose, good texture and balance on the palate. Slightly saline, freshness but with some age. Acidity seems up there which is keeping it refreshing and balanced. Some ripe apples, plums and pineapple come through with time in the mouth.
Palmer & Co Vintage 2008
50% CH, 40% PN, 10% PM | Lees ageing: 6-8 years | Dosage: 8-9 g/l | TFB Score: 18/20
Immediately has some salinity and fire in the freshness. Good weight of fruit and balance but quite youthful. Fresh, clean and zippy. This is very good.