Champagne highlights (2)


Champagne highlights (2)

These bottles were all drunk on the trip. Some great discoveries here – these are all from smaller growers.

Champagne Emmanuel Brochet Le Mont Benoit Extra Brut NV France
Emmanuel Brochet farms 2.5 hectares with an average vine age of 35 years, working organically. He began in 1997, and all his wines are pressed with a Cocquard basket press and then vinified in wood. This spends 11 months in wood, and is a blend of roughly equal parts of all the three main varieties. It is bottled with 20% reserve wine and spends two years on its lees, and then has 4 g/l dosage. This is very fine, with an expressive nose of almonds, toast, citrus and a touch of wax. The palate is fruity and fine with red cherries, lemons and some tangerine. Very pure and linear with amazing precision and a real energy. Thrilling. 96/100

Champagne Remi Leroy Brut Nature NV France
The family have 9 hectares in the Aube on Portlandian limestone over Kimmeridgean limestone, and Remi has 3 hectares of these for his own lable, while they sell the rest. Most of the holdings (70%) are Pinot Noir. This wine is matured in 85% stainless steel, 15% oak, and then it spends three years on its lees. Disgorged May 2018, 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. Delicate, vital and electric with lovely focused citrus and cherry fruit with very fine bready, toasty notes and keen acidity. The acid line is fresh and vital, with some salty, chalky notes and amazing presence. 95/100

Champagne Etienne Calsac Les Rocheforts Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru NV France
This is from a parcel in Bisseuil premier cru that is especially calcareous, and it undergoes full malolactic fermentation. Base vintage is 2015 and it was disgorged in 2018. Delicate and vinous with lovely precision to the sweet crystalline citrus fruit, with a hint of apple. There’s a crispness and focus on the finish with an expansion, and some grip. Amazing delicacy and finesse with the acid and the structure just so precise. Some almond notes, too, with a hint of sweetness on the mid-palate and some chalky grip on the end. 93/100

Champagne Marie-Noelle Ledru Grand Cru Extra Brut Ambonnay NV France
This is so complex, with cherry and cranberry notes from the Pinot Noir (85%) but then it morphs into bright citrus fruit, and a complex, precise finish. There is also some development and some oxidative hints. A thrilling wine that finishes with precision. 95/100

Champagne Rochet Bocart Brut Nature 1er Cru Vaudemonge 2006 France
A premier cru from the Montagne de Reims. Taut, complex and focused with fine toast and spice, and lovely precision, showing lemons, some pear and compact fruit. Real precision and focus here. 94/100

Champagne Françoise Bedel Origin’elle NV France
Based on 2010 vintage, this is 90% Pinot Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir, five years on the lees, disgorged October 2016. Focused and rich at the same time with apple and pear and a bit of citrus. Nice focus and weight with some citrus peel notes. Fruity with some baked apple, cherry and toast: a broad style. 92/100

Champagne Barrat Masson Cuvée Fleur de Craie Extra Brut 2015 France
No dosage, disgorged November 2018 , from 40 year old vines on chalky soils. Aurélie and Loïc are the team behind this wine: he took over the family farm and got rid of herbicides in 2005, and they have farmed their 7 hectares organically since 2009. They are in Villeneaux La Grand on the slopes of the Cezannais. This wine, 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, has a lovely delicacy with some sweet citrus, a touch of pear and some white peach. It’s very pure with amazing balance for a non-dose wine. Subtle and fine with nice focus and purity. 93/100

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