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    A.R. Lenoble Chouilly Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2008


    “The A R Lenoble 2008 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Chouilly Brut Millésime displays a beautifully intense and golden shining citrus color. This has amazing richness and gentleness on the nose but, at the same time, delicacy, precision and finesse! This bouquet is perfectly ripe and generous but also fine and fresh, representing the chalky soils and warm microclimate of Chouilly as well as perfectly ripe and healthy fruit. Any 2008 austerity here? Negative! The attack on the palate is as fine and fresh as it is pure, piquant and aromatic. Ripe and juicy fruit flavors such as pineapples, lemons and limoncello intermix with a round and creamy but by no means bold or heavy texture that is actually marked by chalk powder and iodine flavors on the finish. In fact, this 2008 Chouilly is delicate and filigreed as well as firmly structured. To me, it is an icon wine for Chouilly, and I highly recommend it, even if only to understand the highly diverse terroirs of Champagne, even in the Côte des Blancs where Chouilly is the most northern village next to Cuis. A small part (10%) of the wine was aged in oak. The finish of the 2008 is fresh and light but also intense and persistent. This is a great vin de terroir, and to be honest, I couldn’t stop drinking it! Tasted April 2018. Drink: 2018-2030. 94 points

    There are some gorgeous cuvées to discover this year from the brother-sister team of Antoine and Anne Malssagne at Domaine AR Lenoble in Damery, Marne Valley. Especially exciting are the grand cru wines from Chouilly (Côte des Blancs), namely the 2008 Blanc de Blancs (which combines richness with finesse) and the non-vintaged single vineyard Blanc de Blancs Les Aventures that pairs its creamy richness and intensity with iodine purity and terroir-driven freshness. The recent release blends 2002 and 2006 and is simply terrific!

    However, export director Christian Holthausen is very excited about two new cuvées from the new “mag” edition—the Brut Intense “mag 14” and the Chouilly Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut “mag 14.” Both of the “mag 14” wines are based on the 2014 harvest, complemented by reserve wines from a réservé perpétuelle.

    The réservés perpétuelles ‎were started in 2001 (100% Chardonnay from Chouilly) and 2002 (Chardonnay from Chouilly and Pinot Noir from Bisseuil). Initially, they were kept in stainless steel tanks, then in small 250-liter barrels and finally in 5,000-liter wooden vats, reports Holthausen. In 2010, Antoine Malssagne removed a portion from both réserves perpétuelles, which then filled into magnums and kept them with 1.5 bar of pressure under natural corks for four years. Each bottle was subsequently uncorked by hand and the wines blended with the two “mag 14” bottlings, both of which are based 60% on the 2014 harvest and 40% on reserve wines. The final cuvées were stored in the cellar in early 2015 and disgorged after three years.

    “Climate change is a reality,” Antoine Malassagne is quoted in the corresponding press release. “The challenge for the future is to be able to bring as much freshness as possible to our reserve wines. At the end of each harvest, we observe that acidity levels are much lower than they used to be. Reserve wines now need to add complexity and richness but also freshness.”

    In a separate email to me, Holthausen said, “Keeping the reserve wines in magnums under natural cork under 1.5 bar of pressure is like a ‘mini’ secondary fermentation, so the reserve wines gain some autolytic character, but that’s not the point.” He went on to explain, “The jumping point is to keep the reserve wines fresh as long as possible. We used to need rich, heavy reserve wines in Champagne 20 years ago. However, today we need reserve wines with freshness since our base wines keep having lower acidity levels and higher pH levels year after year.”

    In fact, 2018 will be their sixth-earliest harvest on record, according to Holthausen. “Climate change is shockingly real, and the ‘mag’ concept is our way of making even better wines in the face of climate change.”

    The “mag” edition will be continued next year with the Brut Intense “mag15,” the NV Chouilly Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs “mag 15” and the NV Brut Nature Dosage Zéro “mag14.” The NV Terroirs Chouilly-Bisseuil Rosé “mag14″ will be released in 2020.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (238)

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  • Albert Mann Gewurztraminer Furstentum Grand Cru Vieilles Vignes 2018


    “Over the course of just two nights at the end of April 2017 on which frost hit hard, the estate lost about 45% of its crop. Marie-Thèrese Barthelmy told me that she remembers budbreak taking place on March 25, and that on March 31 their cherry tree was already in bloom; then, on April 21, the roof fell and frost wiped out entire vineyards. Harvest began earlier than usual and was also finished fast, over just three weeks. What wines the estate did manage to produce are, as always, superb”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (01/19)

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  • Albert Mann Riesling Schlossberg Grand Cru 2020


    Review to follow

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  • Antoine Arena Carco Vermentino 2021


    Review to follow

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  • Antoine Arena Morta Maio 2019


    Review to follow

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  • Benoit Dehu Extra Brut Cuvee De L’Orme N.V. (2015)


    “A new wine in this range, the NV (2015) Extra Brut Cuvée Cuvée L’Orme is 100% Pinot Noir from a tiny parcel previously planted to elm trees (orme in French). Bright, focused and remarkably pure, L’Orme captures so many of the attributes that make Benoit Déhu’s Champagnes so alluring. A slight hint of reduction adds character to the Pinot fruit without being overpowering. More than anything else, though, L’Orme exudes complexity, personality and total class. I loved it. No dosage. Disgorged: April 9, 2019. Drinking window: 2020-2030. 96 points”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (12/19)

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  • Benoit Dehu Extra Brut La Rue des Noyers N.V. (2015)


    “The NV (2015) Extra Brut Cuvée La Rue des Noyers speaks with real authority, and yet the 2015 is one of the more delicate versions of this cuvée so far. Time in the glass allows the wine to blossom nicely. Dried pear, smoke, herbs and dried flowers fill out the wine’s creamy frame effortlessly. Once again, the Rue des Noyers is one of the most distinctive wines in Champagne. Dosage is 1 grams per liter. Disgorged: July 2017. Drinking window: 2018-2028. 94 points

    Benoît Déhu turned out three very pretty 2015s, including the first release of his new wine, Initiation, which is a blend of Pinot Noir and Meunier. The wines are vinified in barrel and aged on their lees for about ten months, with no malolactic fermentation and bottled with minimal or no dosage.”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (11/18)

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  • Benoit Dehu Extra Brut La Rue des Noyers Rose de Saignee N.V. (2018)


    “The NV (2018) Rosé Saignée Cuvée La Rue des Noyers is airy and weightless, but also pretty tightly wound at this stage. I would give it another 6-12 months in bottle. A whole range of savory, floral and earthy notes are pushed forward, while the expression of fruit is pretty quiet. No dosage. Disgorged: September, 2020. Drinking window: 2021-2026. 92 points

    This is a gorgeous set of wines from Benoît Déhu. There are three single-variety/single-parcel Champagnes, and the Initiation, which is a Meunier/Pinot Noir blend. Biodynamic viticulture and a minimalist approach in the cellar are the rule. Some wines are vinified and aged in oak (Rue des Noyers, Cuvée de L’Orme), which seems to add depth and texture. Malolactic fermentation is blocked and wines are bottled with no dosage. Déhu achieves fabulous balance with his wines. The 100% Pinot Noir Cuvée L’Orme is especially brilliant this year.”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (11/21)

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  • Benoit Dehu Initiation N.V. (2017)


    “The NV (2017) Initiation is a beautiful, exotic wine. Apricot, orange confit, hazelnut, spice and chamomile give the 2017 a decidedly exotic feel. My impression is that the 2017 will offer its best drinking sooner rather than later, as it is a bit forward, with slightly honeyed notes that start to appear over time. Initiation is a blend of 78% Pinot Noir and 22% Meunier, vinified in oak and bottled with no dosage. Disgorged: July 27, 2019. Drinking window: 2020-2025. 93 points”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (10/20)

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  • Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Bourgogne Rouge 2015


    “Thierry Glantenay’s 2015 Bourgogne Rouge is lovely, wafting from the glass with notes of smoky red cherry, cocoa and raspberries. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, supple and delicious, with a succulent core of fruit, light structuring tannins and juicy acids. This will deliver great pleasure for the best part of a decade. Drink: 2017-2027. 88 points”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (236)

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  • Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Pommard Premier Cru Les Saussilles 2015


    “The 2015 Pommard 1er Cru les Saucilles is nearly entirely whole bunch fruit this year. It has a lifted boysenberry and cranberry bouquet, a touch of licorice developing with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth, harmonious entry. Here it diverts more towards red fruit laced with white pepper, struck through with a fine line of acidity and bracing sense of energy towards the pastille-like finish. This is one of my picks from Glantenay this year and it comes highly recommended. Drink: 2018-2028. 91-93 points

    Whenever I hear of the travails endured by producers in Volnay, the two growers that my heart goes out to are Jean-Pierre Charlot at Domaine Joseph Voillot and Thierry Glantenay. Both produce excellent wines, both are true gentleman and both, amongst others, seem to stand right in the firing line whenever there is a sudden hailstorm or frost. Still, this does not seem to have prevented Thierry from improving his winery, which now has an extension to accommodate 50,000 bottles, necessary because his grandfather’s house that used to house part of the production has been sold. This clearly gives him and his father plenty more space to conduct their work, allowing them to work by gravity and eschew the use of pumps, and also provided a huge balcony that gives an amazing panorama across towards the Jura Mountains. Thierry told me that he commenced the harvest on 2 September and cropped at 25hl/ha due to hail. Acidity levels came in with pH level between 3.5 and 3.6. There is lot of whole bunch used at this domaine except for the Broullard at around 30% of the crop. The whites were in vat, soon to be fined and bottled in December or January. He described them as wines with the generosity of the 2009 vintage but with better acidity. This was a fine set of wines from Thierry, perhaps in a couple of places a little rustic and “big-boned” but displaying assiduous use of whole bunches and really delivering with gems like the “saucy” Pommard Les Saucilles and Volnay Clos des Chênes.”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (228)

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  • Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Volnay 2017


    “As usual, the 2017 Volnay Village includes two small premier cru parcels that Glantenay doesn’t wish to vinify separately, and it’s shaping up very nicely, offering up a fragrant nose of sweet cherries and berries, violets and orange rind. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, satiny and supple, with an ample core of sweet fruit and a fine-grained, elegantly chalky finish. 89-91 points

    The disarmingly modest Thierry Glantenay is emerging as one of the Côte de Beaune’s most exciting producers of red wine. From his hillside winery overlooking the Marquis d’Angerville’s Clos des Ducs, Glantenay is producing a lovely range of elegant, pure and intense Volnays and Pommards that are increasingly consistent and stylistically assured. In the cuverie, he tells me, he is more and more content to let temperature and alcohol do the work of extraction for him, keeping pigéage and rémontage to a minimum; pressing is gentle; and élevage, without racking until the mise en bouteille, takes place in at most 30% new barrels. In the cellar, no matter which barrel you choose, the wines taste reliably wonderful: indeed, after my first tasting with Glantenay, some years ago, I was compelled to return a week later to verify that I hadn’t been imagining things, and that so serious a producer could really be so little known. That his wines sometimes take longer to bounce back after bottling than those of his peers, therefore, surprises me. Glantenay neither fines nor filters, but might the mobile bottling line he uses for the mise perhaps do a gentler job? In any case, the quality is not in doubt, and after the superb vintages of 2015 and 2016, 2017 is a worthy successor, in a lighter, more supple register, certainly, but with plenty of flavor and personality, and at last, available in normal quantities.”

    William Kelley, Wine Advocate (01/19)

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