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Rare Sakés Vs Grandes Cuvées Champagnes

What an excitement to discover this event in Geneva ! Organised by the competent team of Baghera Wines, a modern and recent company created in 2015, and which are making people talk. They define themselves as a company specialising in private cellars and in the authentication of exceptional wine bottles together with their auctions,  DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) among others.

The event took place on the 13th December at the Espace Fert in Geneva. And what a great way to say bye bye to 2016 !

The wine is quite global drink and it doesn’t know about much boundaries nowadays, but we have recently started hearing more and more news about saké, and it’s winning the hearts of many wine lovers, including mine. I found this tasting proposal fantastic and provocative. Wine and saké are two millenarian drinks and the product of two very distinct cultures, the western and the oriental. I could not miss this out! Let’s go straight to the tasting.


Raifuku JG chokarakuchi


Francis Boulard Les Rachais Extra Brut 2008

1: Champange Francis Boulard Les Rachains Extra Brut 2008 is a 100% Chardonnay champagne from a single plot cultivated with biodynamic agriculture and a champagne with a minimum dosage. The tasting start with fruity aromas of red apples and brioche hints, together with refreshing mineral notes. Delicious, long and dry finish. Raifuku JG chokarakuchi, in the mouth we find out that it’s a very dry saké, with aromas of ripe fruits and apricot notes. I can imagine very well this saké accompanying different dishes, sharing the gastronomic side with this champagne of Francis Boulard. A wonderful first round.



Dassai Beyond


Salon 1988 Blanc de Blancs

2: Speechless. Champagne Salon 1988, and it is much more in shape than I expected it! We are facing an emblematic and atypical champagne of them all. In the last 100 years only 32 vintages have been elaborated. It’s a champagne made from one hectare and twenty small plots near Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger, classified 100% Grand Cru. It’s been aged on the lees, after the second fermentation, during an average 10 years before disgorging, and it is a real champagne-bomb. Already in recent vintages, it is a very exciting champagne. We found aromas of cake, caramel, cream, sherry manzanilla, red apple juice. Slightly notes of oxidation, but very elegant and absolutely magnificent. What we can not express with words, we can do it with the eyes.

With my chilean friend and wine expert Jocelyn Ordenes. We immortalised this moment.

Dassai Beyond, the name was already making us dream, we wanted to go beyond with it. It is a very exclusive saké of Dassai, and its degree of polishing goes beyond the usual, even Beyond Dassai 23 (another saké), so beyond 23% of its original size. That explains its name! It has a very floral style, clean and elegant, silky texture and aromas of cherry blossom (sakura). It’s a true wonder.


Fukugen Junmai


Vouette et Sorbée Fidèle

3: Champagne Vouette et Sorbée Fidèle is an unfiltered and zero dosage 100% Pinot Noir champagne from biodynamic agriculture, and a very interesting one. It has a tropical fruity nose, citric notes, and hints of caramel. It’s a joy to the palate and to the senses. Fukugen Junmai Nama  is an unfiltered, unpasteurised (= nama) and undiluted saké, made from organic rice around Ikeda (Osaka). It has intense cereal notes, a medium body and it’s full of flavour. A very authentic saké to my palette.


Nabeshima JDG


Agrapart Mineral 2010

4: The emblematic cuvée of Pascal Agrapart Mineral 2010, Extra Brut blanc de blancs, made from Chardonnay of more than 50 years old vines from Avize and Cramant.  Its name and its terroir give us all the info, aromas of chalk and slate, great elegance and a vibrant champagne. I was fortunate to attend to another masterclass of Pascal Agrapart in an old edition of Raw Wine Fair in London, impossible to forget about it. Nabeshima JDG, a delicate saké, with a delicate mouthfeel and slightly bubbly, floral notes of jasmine and white flowers, and also hints of licorice. Slightly sweet with a very balanced finish.


Kikumasamune taruzake JG


R.Bereche Le Cran 2008

5: R.Bereche Le Cran 2008 is a very elegant and fresh champagne, the base wine spent some time in French oak barrels, giving to the champange some vainilla notes, but we also find some menthol notes and a very refreshing acidity. Kikimasamune taruzake Junmai Ginjo is a saké aged in cedar barrel, its aroma is very intense, almost too much, but also very interesting. I found unexpected aromas of roasted tofu and miso soup.


Sohomare Kimoto JDG


Krug Grande Cuvée

6: Krug Grande Cuvée in magnum bottle, I can only define this way:  it is a sunset encapsulated in a champagne bottle. It is born of the blending of more than 120 wines, of more than ten different years and of the three different grape varieties. I found slightly notes of custard, dried flowers and sublime elegance. Sohomare Kimoto JDG also in magnum bottle, I can define this saké as flower-power, an intense floral explosion, with some lactic and creamy notes. This saké JDG (Junmai DaiGinjo) is a blend of 5 different vintages, aged in magnum. A real wonder, and a flight at the level.


Kyakujuro Jukusei Koshu


Charles Heidsieck reserve privée mise en cave 1998

7: Charles Hiedsieck reserve privée 1998 is a champagne that has spent 10 years on the lees after the second fermentation, and where of course, we find the evident notes of autolysis, brioche, fresh home made bread and dried apricots. Kyakujuro Jukusei Koshu is an aged saké (= koshu), aged after its fermentation. It has kind of spicy notes, with hints curry and umami. A fabulous way to arrive at the end of this an exceptional tasting.

In this tasting I had the pleasure to meet Gautier Roussille, author of the French-written book Nihonshu, le saké japonais and he was also the person responsible for commenting the sakés’ tasting. Gautier is a passionate young man, an agronomist and winemaker, who works and lives in Burgundy, he also gives private seminars and promotes his book around the world. In 2006 he discovered saké and 10 years later he edited his book, the result of an arduous research and immersion in situ in Japan working in a kura (winery) in the production of saké.  He is fantastic and a real inspiration! And here you can get his book if you wish:

And here  you can read the official rare saké & grandes champagne tasting comments of Gautier Roussile.


The other person responsible for commenting on the tasting was Dominique Fornage, once president of the Sélection annuelle des vins du Valais, and now private consultant and entrepreneur. Their contributions in the tasting were very well received and appreciated.


Thanks again to the Baghera/wines team for this exceptional tasting!

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