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Red berries on parade: strawberry, raspberry, and cherry march on through the nose and on the palate. A dollop of cream and a tart, zesty citrus element makes themselves known, but first and foremost this wine is all about the berries. And I love it.

Rating

Potential

The first vineyard of Picard's prestige cuvée, this particular wine was the brainchild of Jose Livens, who wanted to demonstrate what the best vines could produce. Made very differently from subsequent releases, this wine was fermented and aged in 200-225L barrels rather than the 250L barrels used afterward; as a result of this smaller barrel usage, this vintage feels a bit more brooding and not as focused as those that follow. The highlight of this wine is the rich, almost candied pears on the palate, which coalesce into a long, zesty finish. Kiwi fruit is also notable on the mid-palate, but there is too much bitter acidity throughout the experience for my liking. This is still quite tasty, but not as good as the vintages that followed.

Rating

Potential

Older 350L oak barrels from Burgundy were first used in this vintage, along with a few 200-225L barrels that were also used in 1998. This wine is much brighter than the 1998 and is very fragrant on the nose, with pear blossoms and sunshine- coated minerals. A hint of sweetness improves the citrus- and pear-led palate. I wouldn’t call this extremely complex, but it is very tasty and quite different from the 1998.

Rating

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Following the general trend of the vintage, this wine appears to act like a brooding, sullen stepchild. There are plenty of pears, a hint of apple liqueur, biscuit dough, and minerality, but the heaviness, especially when compared to other vintages, dominates the encounter. The finish of young, wispy spice notes easily draws you back for more, however, where you are compelled reassess your relationship with this recalcitrant stranger. While good now, I would wait a few years for this to improve and learn some manners.

Rating

Potential

Spectacular intensity reigns supreme in this wine. Honeyed pears, vanilla, and intense, creamy, mineral-filled citrus blast through the walls to assault your senses. This is a Picard Arte de Vigne at its finest, and comes highly recommended. In fact, this is the best Jacques Picard wine I have tasted to date.

Champagne Warrior

Special Web Sample Edition - October 2010

10

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