My personal favorite Champagne vintages of the past 30 years are 1988, 1996 and 2002. The 2008 is also an interesting vintage, but none of the prestige champagnes are still yet released (as of mid 2016).
1988 are classically structured, concentrated wines with necessary acidity for long ageing. The 1988 Champagnes are powerful with a good structure, but were not as immediately appealing. Nevertheless, time has shown them to be rich in fruit, well balanced and stylish.
I was lucky enough to partake in a really interesting champagne tasting with focus on the 1988 vintage. The champagnes were also served with matching food (prepared by the talented chef Måns Backlund).
The evening begins with a reception and two bottles Moët & Chandon from the 1980s served together with three different canapés.
*** Flight #1 ***
- Moet & Chandon 1988
- Taittinger 1988
- Pol Roger 1988.
Seared scallops, petit pois, tarragon, slightly buttered mussel broth.
My favorite this flight was the Moet & Chandon (1988).
*** Flight #2 ***
- De Saint-Gall 1988
- Paul Bara Comtesse Marie de France 1988
- Veuve Clicquot, Rare Vintage 1988
White asparagus from Gotland with browned butter hollandaise sauce, salmon roe, dill salad. The asparagus was probable the best I ever had and the dish, as a whole, was also my favorite this evening.
My winner this flight was the Veuve Clicquot Rare Vintage 1988. I had this wine for the first time in 2007 and I remember it as very good from that occasion. After that, I have had the same 1988 Rare Vintage numerous times, but never been that delighted again (as in 2007), but this evening it came out as a winner again (at least in this flight).
*** Flight #3 ***
- Deutz Cuvée William Deutz 1988
- Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1988
- Laurent-Perrier Grand Siécle 1988
Grilled Norway lobster, wild garlic, lard, emulsion made from the lobster shell. The Norwegian lobster were of very good quality and had sweet tones, but was not salted and this to harmonize better with the champagnes.
My top champagne this third flight was the Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1988.
*** Flight #4 ***
- Dom Ruinart 1988
- Salon 1988
- Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 1988
Butter poached turbot, asparagus, poached oysters, oyster sauce.
The Belle Epoque came out as my favorite this forth flight (prior to tasting I thought that I should have Salon as the winner in this round).
*** Flight #5 ***
- Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1988
- Bollinger Grand Année 1988
- Krug 1988
Brillat Savarin, candied almonds, pickled spruce shoots (unfortunately no picture of this dish).
As in the previous flight, I had another winner (than I thought in advance), namely the Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1988 (“instead” of Krug, which of course also was really good).
*** Flight #6 ***
- Henriot Rosé Millésime Magnum 1988
- Dom Ruinart Rosé 1988
Pain perdu, rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet, toasted bread foam.
I can once again confirm that Magnum is the way to go as the Henriot Rosé Millésime Magnum 1988 was my favorite this “dessert round”. That being said, the “on paper” stronger Dom Ruinart Rosé 1988 may have been having a slight touch of corkage defect.
*** Petit Four ***
- Veuve Clicquot 1975 Rosé magnum.
In regards of the petit four finalizing this dinner/tasting, the chef played with both the name of a famous Swedish ice cream named “88” (from the company GB) and the theme of the vintage for this Champagne tasting. We had the option to choose between two different Champagnes: one from 1988 (of course…) and the Veuve Clicquot 1975 Rosé magnum, which we opted for.
Summary: a once in a lifetime 1988 Champagne tasting with not only marvelous wines but also good food.
After the dinner and tasting was finished, we all had a common voting. Everyone gave three (3) points for their top one wine of the evening, two points for their second favorite and finally one point for their third best Champagne this tasting.
This is the summary of the voting:
- Henriot Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1988 – 22 points (5 first places, my number 2)
- Salon 1988 – 11 points (my third place)
- Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 1988 – 10 points (my winner)
- Bollinger Grand Année 1988 – 7 points
- Deutz Cuvée William Deutz 1988 – 6 points
- Henriot Rosé Millésime Magnum 1988 – 5 points
- Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1988 – 5 points
- Krug 1988 – 5 points
- Moet & Chandon 1988 – 1 point