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Geoffroy Rosé de Saignée Brut, N.V.: $59.99
Now 2013, disgorged 11/2016, and it’s a silky lusty beast, exceptionally vinous, finishing bigger than it begins. Fine vintage for this, on the heels of the riotously extroverted 2012.
The nose of this Champagne is a spring bouquet: rose, wild strawberry, raspberry and later blackberry, combine perfectly to offer the taster aromas, which would be unexpected in a normal rosé Champagne. The mouth follows on from the nose, with the structure of the Pinot Noir leaving at a convincing vinosity at the finish. By virtue of its freshness, this Rosé de Saignée Champagne is best enjoyed young to take full advantage of the aromas of small, fresh and crisp red berries.
One of the very few houses that leeches during maceration of the Pinot Noir, called the Saignee method.
Moussé Fils “Spécial Club” Rosé de Saignée, Le Bout de la Ville Brut, 2013: $136.99
This was the favorite wine of the one of the Skurnik experts! And I can’t wait to have the first Special Club Meunier Rose! All Meunier, and the first-ever all-Meunier Club Rosé. We did dosage trials for this wine, but as it turned out I think Cédric was hoping we’d affirm the choice he’d already made. We didn’t. He’s looking for 3g/l RS, and if he insists on that he’ll have a chunky masculine Champagne that reflects the spirit of the domain. If it were all I tasted I’d have selected it, though it isn’t a wine I’d drink for sensual joy. He showed us a blend with 5g/l RS—still Extra Brut—and it was immeasurably finer and more complete, and of course it did not taste “sweeter,” just better. Cédric was fearful the wine would be “anonymous,” but a balanced wine is never anonymous. I’ll offer it either way, but 5g is +-quality whereas 3g is “interesting and worthwhile.”
Welcome back! The world’s first 100% Meunier Club wine is a powerhouse in 2012. Disgorged 2/21/16, it’s classy Meunier—and yes, such a creature does exist—really chalky, superb, even splendid, the best since 2008, and similar in its silvery power. Salted caramel on the finish. —Terry Theise
Henri Billiot Rosé Brut, N.V.: $48.99
This, on the other hand, is definitely indicating the direction our heroine needs to move in. It’s the same assemblage as the NV, disgorged 9/2016, yet it’s actively delicious, the best wine on the table—potentially. Distinctive fruit, vigor and tension, and nothing clunky. I only hedge the star to study whether the dosage is correct. I also can’t fathom why the wine is so much nicer than the NV, which comes from the same juice minus the still red.
The same assemblage as the NV, with still red from 2012; disgorged 1/2016, has the color of Satsumas, and an absurdly exotic aroma. —Terry Theise
Jean Lallement Rosé Brut, N.V.: $56.99
All 2013, disgorged 9/2016, assemblage with 8% still PN. The wine itself is 100% PN; taste it sometime aside the Gimonnet and wonder that the two utterly disparate wines are both Champagne. This is an almost civilized Rosé by Lallement’s standards; marked by clove and Sockeye but also rose petals and straw; a marvelous vintage of this, better than the ’12 was at this stage. Savory finish, umami and meadow flowers.
All 2012, and all PN, assemblage with 8% still red. A fantastic aroma, a real WOW fragrance. —Terry Theise
Pouillon Rose Maceration N.V.: $51.99
Musky cherry and redcurrant scents are lifted by white pepper and dusty minerals. Chewy red fruit flavors show good depth and a subtle spicy character. The nicely focused finish features a hint of chalkiness.
Dosnon Recolte Rose N.V.: $53.99
100% Pinot Noir. Harvested by hand, fermented and aged in Puligny-Montrachet barrels. 40% vin de reserve. 7 grams per liter. Bright fruit and minerals.
Vigneir Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut N.V.: $47.99
Vignier’s holdings are now in the Grand Cru Villages of Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry, as well as some parcels in the Côte de Sézanne. Nathalie rst worked as an insurance adjuster for wineries in Burgundy and Champagne and was called home to take over the estate by her father. She is slowly aligning the estate to her philosophy: higher ripeness, a return of oak to the cellar and no use of herbicides or pesticides. The Vignier family motto is “La bonté de l’esprit et la grandeur de courage,” which means “the goodness in spirit, and the courage to greatness.” There is a lot to look forward to from this grower in the future. This 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay hails from Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry. It is a blend of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 vintages and spent 6 years sur latte. It is rare to nd such vintage depth in basic N.V. from a grower producer.
Francois Bedel et Fils Entre Ciel et Terre N.V.: $65.99
41% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, 24% Pinot Meunier (even though this is officially a non-vintage wine, this bottling always comes from a single vintage and the percentages represent the most current release, 1999.) Aged for 12 months in French oak. 4 g/l dosage. “Entre Ciel et Terre” means “between sky and earth”. “Francoise Bedel’s achievements represent one more among numerous recent demonstrations that long- or even perpetually neglected sectors of Champagne – in her case, the Marne Valley’s Meunier-rich western fringe – can set off vinous fireworks. Bedel has been farming entirely biodynamically for fifteen years, and has become quite well-known for her advocacy of that regimen. An inexpensive entry-level cuvee is absent from her portfolio; but then, she not only works in an extremely meticulous and labor-intensive way, she also releases no wine sooner than five years after its harvest.”
Gonet-Medeville Rose Extra Brut Premier Cru N.V.: $59.99
“The NV Rosé Premier Cru Extra Brut is a blend of 70% Chardonnay (from the coolish lieut-dit Louvières in Mesnil-sur-Oger) and 30% Pinot Noir. This sample comes from the 2011 vintage and has been disgorged with three grams per liter in March 2015. The cuvée has a light rose color and offers a very pure and fresh nose, with delicate red fruit aromas and lovely mineral notes. There is a lovely delicate fruit intertwined with a firm mineral structure and a lot of salt in the finish. Very expressive, but also finesse-full. Beautifully fresh, although still very young.