Showing 1–12 of 33 results

  • 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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  • 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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  • Benoit Lahaye Millesime Grand Cru 2015


    Review to follow

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  • Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Cote de Val Vilaine Blanc de Noirs 2018


    “The NV (2018) Blanc de Noirs Val Vilaine is bright, fresh and wonderfully nuanced. Orchard fruit, citrus and floral notes give the Val Vilaine so much energy. Cédric Bouchard coaxes so much nuance from these 40 year-old vines. The Val Vilaine is always the youngest wine in the range – the current release is the 2018, which spent just 15 months on its lees – but it will give readers who aren’t familiar with these wines a very good idea of the house style. Zero dosage. Disgorged: April 2020. Pinot Noir. Drinking window: 2020-2028. 92 points

    Cédric Bouchard’s 2016s are stellar. The wines are remarkable for their finesse, energy and delineation. Frost was not an issue, while the rest of the year was relatively uneventful. That effortless grace is evident in stunning Champagnes that dazzle throughout this range. As always, the wines are done in steel and bottled with no dosage, but they are never stark or austere. Meticulous work in the vineyards yields Champagnes with tremendous natural depth and intensity. Bouchard is famously stringent with his selections. There is no Creux d’Enfer Rosé in 2016. “I was not happy with the quality of the fruit in the vineyard. For me, its either yes or no. There is no ‘maybe’ in my vocabulary,” he told me.”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (11/20)

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  • Jacquesson Avize Champ Cain 2009


    “The 2009 Extra-Brut Avize Champ Gain captures an intriguing combination of the richness of the year and the clean, mineral inflections that are such signatures of Avize. All the elements are turned up a few notches. Petrol, apricot, dried flowers, orchard fruit, orange confit, honey and marzipan all develop in the glass. Even with all of its intensity, the 2009 retains striking translucence. It’s a big wine, but there is plenty of complexity too. Disgorged May 2019. Dosage is 1.5 grams per liter. Drinking window: 2020-2029. 94 points”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (08/20)

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  • Jacquesson Cuvee No. 745 N.V.


    “Tight and tightly laced with some putty aromas. So savoury and mineral! Very distinctive. Should be long-lived. Admirably persistent.Drink: 2022-2028. 17 points”

    Jancis Robinson, (05/22)

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  • Jacquesson Dizy Corne Bautray 2009


    “The 2009 Extra-Brut Corne Bautray is rich, ample and creamy, with all of the radiance of the vintage very much on display. Readers will find a potent Chardonnay with so much depth and power that it almost feels like a Pinot. Orchard fruit, dried flowers, chamomile and tropical inflections all grace this extroverted, flamboyant Champagne. The 2009 is not exactly subtle, but its dramatic beauty can’t be denied. Disgorged April 2019 and bottled with no dosage. Drinking window: 2020-2029. 95 points”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (08/20)

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  • Laherte Extra Brut Les Grandes Crayeres Blanc de Blancs 2016


    “A stunning wine, the 2016 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères 1er Cru is also the most impressive wine in this range. Bright and finely sculpted, the 2016 possess dazzling energy to match its mid-weight personality. I very much admire the wine’s drive and precision. The Grandes Crayères emerges from two parcels in Chavot that confer so much tension. It is a stunning Champagne in every way. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2020. Drinking window: 2021-2031. 96 points”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (11/20)

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    Laherte Extra Brut Les Vignes d’Autrefois 2014


    “The 2014 Extra Brut Vignes d’Autrefois, 100% Meunier, is powerful and radiant on the palate, with tremendous depth and exceptional overall balance. Mirabelle, kirsch, dried herbs, dried pear and spice notes are front and center. Ethereal, light on its feet and also quite exotic, the 2014 is superb. I would prefer to drink it over the next handful of years. This is a compelling expression of Meunier. Dosage is 2-4 grams per liter. Disgorged: January 2018. Drinking window: 2018-2029. 94 points

    These Champagnes reinforce my strongly held view that Aurélien Laherte is one of the most talented vignerons of his generation in Champagne. The range this year is truly stellar. Some of the highlights include the Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs (2015 this year), a wine I often buy for my own cellar, the 2014 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères, which is new, and the (2014) Extra Brut Rosé de Saignée Les Baudiers. Readers who have not tasted these Champagnes owe it to themselves do so. Aurélien Laherte is young, passionate and humble. It is only a matter of time before he is recognized as one of Champagne’s elite vignerons. As for the wines, they are spectacular.”

    Antonio Galloni, Vinous (11/18)

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