For the fourteenth year in a row, Richard Juhlin organized The Annual Richard Juhlin Champagne Tasting’ at Lidingö outside Stockholm. [read the full champagne story]
Estimated reading time: 23 minutes
Then it was time again for the highlight of the year! For the fourteenth year in a row, I organized The Annual Richard Juhlin Champagne Tasting on Lidingö outside Stockholm. In the past, the selected tasting group from the Champagne Club has, among other things, tasted the market’s leading blanc de blancs, rosé, prestige cuvées and comparisons between a number of vintages.
This time the theme was much broader than that. Due to the success of my latest Swedish book Champagne Magnum Opus [order the book here] with its 13,000 champagnes, there were of course many publishers queuing up to publish the English-language version of my giant epic. For the first time, it was us who chose the cooperation partner and not the other way around. Our choice fell on perhaps the world’s most prestigious quality publisher Rizzoli, based in Milan. Now the the epic book is out internationally and I focus mostly on updating the Tasting Library in the Champagne Club.
The selection of Champagnes
As the number of champagnes sent for tasting this time approached 1,000 different varieties, it was a logistical impossibility to try them all at the same time. Therefore, this time The Annual Richard Juhlin Champagne Tasting was actually a series of tastings, all conducted blindly in the same place by me with some of my 11 trusted co-tasters each time.
The recent trends
The most striking thing about the flood of champagnes I’ve made my way through is how grateful I feel at how informative the back labels have become in the last three years after years of information poverty. The organically, ecologically and biodynamically made champagnes may not dominate globally, but among those sent to me they made up well over half. The vineyard wines have also exploded in number and the proportion of champagnes made in oak barrels is now innumerable.
Furthermore, the dosage is lower than ever and the proportion of rosé de saignée impressively high. The success that the growers via pioneers such as Selosse and Laurent Champs at Vilmart so deservedly achieved has not escaped anyone, and the new generation of winemakers have almost all caught on and make quality striving nature-respecting champagnes they can rightly be proud of. Even the champagne houses follow this style and attitude change led by Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon who transformed one of the proudest and most aristocratic champagne houses Louis Roederer into the house’s grower!