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Unique among the hundreds of estate-bottled Champagnes that have recently arrived in the US are the superb wines of André Beaufort. We're happy to offer the new Polisy NV Brut Nature (based on the 2014 vintage, disgorged in November of 2017) and the superb Ambonnay Brut Reserve in half-bottles (based on 2013 and disgorged in April of 2017) - both at very attractive prices - as well as a selection of older vintages going back to 1996! (All wines arrive by Thursday May 31)
These are complex, full-bodied wines, made from organic grapes, fermented with wild yeasts and bottled after very long sur-lie aging. "We keep our wines sur-lie as long as possible before release, so one can taste a Champagne of ten years of age with mature aromas, having conserved some traits of youth - thus, disgorgement is always recent."For example, the 1996 Polisy Brut and 2002 Polisy Brut Nature offered today were disgorged in the spring of 2017 and the 2008 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru was disgorged in June of 2017. The Beauforts converted to organic agriculture in 1971 and also avoid the use of copper sulfate in the vineyard, preferring to use essential oils and homeopathic preparations of their own creation. Untreated soils, long aging, no additives/corrections and minimal (if any) use of sulfites gives wines that are unusual and quite "old-fashioned." Quoting the French review, Bettane and Desseauve: “The natural expression of Beaufort's wines will remind older fans of the incomparable Champagne that prevailed before the adoption of industrial agriculture…”
We're fans of the Champagnes of Beaufort for a number of reasons. The farming at this historic Domaine is impeccable and the winemaking is classical and refreshingly old school. The 2015 base Ambonnay Grand Cru in handy half bottle is a pocket-sized example of Beaufort's distinctive character.
The new Beaufort Polisy Reserve Brut Nature NV is from the 2014 vintage and was disgorged in November of 2017. (Organic farming since 1971, wild yeast fermentations, minimal SO2.) This lovely Champagne shows a pale gold/bronze color with aromas of brioche, pear, lime flower, apricot and vanilla with a bit of brown spice and anise. Full, soft mousse on the palate with creamy pear, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, with hints of raspberry and red currant emerging. A bit soft and ripe for a Brut Nature, at 12% alcohol, but well balanced with refreshing acidity in the finish. Serve with a ceviche of squid or scallop, fish in sauce, goat cheeses or perhaps with berry or citrus desserts. David Lillie
For those of a classical bent who prefer not to shop at the big Champagne houses, André Beaufort is a wonderful alternative. Longtime organic farming and extended lees-aging produce rich wines of uncommon detail and complexity. The 2010 Ambonnay offers aromas of white flowers, orange peel, bergamot, and chalk on the nose. Bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and a fine line of sapid minerality on the supple and rich palate. This shows a fine interplay between power, tension, and a suave, supple finish. This is one heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged Sept 2018) John McIlwain
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
The 2006 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru shows subtle mature aromas of pear, almond, marzipan and citrus, very earthy with hints of exotic fruit and spice and wet stone. Give this some time to open up. The palate shows a delicate, creamy mousse with complex earthy white fruits, herbal notes and mineral flavors with nice acidity in the finish. A lovely wine of contemplation. (Disgorged June 2017)
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical yet laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium-bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in March 2017 after 14 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
(Additional inventory from a new disgorgement arrives Thursday, May 31, notes to follow)
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, harvested early at 9% alcohol from NE-facing parcels. Elegant white fruit aromas. The palate is very expressive with white fruits, minerals and herbal notes, rich but balanced. (Tasted with 5 grams dosage, our disgorgement is Brut Nature.)
The 1998 Ambonnay Brut has long been a staff favorite and this disgorgement does not disappoint. Brillliant, golden yellow in color and showing a finely-beaded mousse, this offers one of the two most expressive aromatic profiles of this current Beaufort lineup. Aromas of Mirabelle plums, toasted hazelnuts, and crème brulée transition to notes of Jonagold apples, cinnamon, and wild flowers. The palate is generous and expansive and carries tones of brazil nuts, greengages, and irises that crescendo to a fine, zippy finish. This is complex and delicious Champagne!
One of the continuing delights of selling the Champagnes of André Beaufort is tasting the recently disgorged back vintage wines. The balance between freshness and maturity is compelling (not to mention delicious). The 1998 Polisy Brut Nature offers bright red fruit, ripe apple, and toasty aromas which intermingle with the honeyed, burnished, oxidative notes of an aged Champagne. The mid-weight palate is deeply mineral, with great cut providing a sense of liveliness in relation to the savory and mature flavors derived from the long time spent sur lattes. At the table, this would elevate pan-roasted scallops, or if you are feeling extravagant make a sensational pairing with white truffles shaved over soft scrambled eggs. (Disgorged 09/16, Lot n. 1998P). John McIlwain
Tasted in January 2017 at the estate. Complex aromas of lychee, candied pear, citrus, beautiful palate of yellow fruits, minerals, citrus, caramel with fabulous length. (This shipment disgorged in July 2017)
Towards the end of the tasting my notes became minimal, but this wine rated an enthusiastic "Superb!" Forget your prejudice against demi-sec Champagnes, this wine is fantastically complex and delicious. The French wine publication “Le Rouge et le Blanc,” in their review of André Beaufort, offers an explanation of how dosage seems to help the wines develop: “The aromas, timid in their youth, finish by exploding with age and the sugar becomes like a support to the aromas.” Only a few bottles available – we urge you to try it! (Notes from Jan 2017: "Super, rich, no flaws, Nearly sweet, wonderful, rich, complex nose. Totally fresh, or at least not old or even aging...") (new inventory disgorged June 2017)