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We are very proud to feature a new selection of the extraordinary Champagnes of André Beaufort, just in time for the holidays! Primarily available at natural wine shops in France, Italy and Japan, we are happy to bring these exceptional Champagnes to New York. They all show the intense "vinosity" and complexity found in the Beaufort wines - products of superb farming, living soils, extended sur-lie aging and the commitment of the Beaufort family to create true Champagnes of terroir. 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. Vinifications at Beaufort are generally 8-10 months long and both fermentations take place with native yeasts. The wines go through the malo-lactic transformation and are not re-acidified, and SO2 is used sparingly or not at all depending on the vintage.
The Beauforts produce Champagnes both in Ambonnay (Grand Cru) and in Polisy, with normally a blend of about 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. These are broad, full-bodied wines that benefit from extended sur-lie aging - all the wines in this shipment have been recently disgorged. "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." (Lot number and disgorgement date are always included on the back-label)
The Beaufort wines are remarkably different from most modern Champagnes, usually showing a softer mousse due to the wild-yeast fermentations, and always displaying an expression of fruit and mineral flavors one associates with a fine Burgundy. 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…”
Note: We recommend serving in a fairly large white wine glass, rather than a flute, in order to appreciate the complex aromas of these unique Champagnes. Wines arrive Monday 11/18
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. Disgorged Sept 2019.
This is classic Beaufort: balanced, rounded and finely filigreed with a judicious dosage. In truth, the 2009 Ambonnay Grand Cru tastes very dry for a Brut, closer to an Extra Brut in style. It shows a burnished golden yellow in the glass, adorned by a finely beaded and generous mousse. The nose offers notes of brioche, cardamom, cinnamon, roasted chestnuts, white flowers, and honeysuckle. The palate is powerful and broad, accented with aromas of Cortland apples, apple pie, and nutmeg that lead to a lingering, herbal finish. The 2009 Brut shows the pedigree of its Ambonnay Grand Cru fruit. It's delicious now, but it also has real aging potential. (Lot #09A. Disgorged Sept 2019.)
The new Beaufort Polisy Reserve Brut Nature NV is based on the 2015 vintage and was disgorged in August of 2019. The Polisy NV Brut Nature is a lean, racy expression of the Kimmeridgian limestone of Polisy. The nose is cool-toned and faintly herbal with aromas of green apple, lime zest, and wet stone. The palate is steely and focused, with a prominent mineral character giving way to taut structure and a compelling savory character on the brisk, chiseled finish. I'd love this with crudo, ceviche, or a platter of briny Beausoleil oysters. John McIlwain
Based on the 2015 vintage, disgorged in January, 2019. The Beaufort NV Ambonnay offers aromas of stone fruit, apple skin, and a faint toastiness from the lees aging. The palate, though ripe—this is Ambonnay, after all—has a brisk acidity and drive to lend energy to the red-fruited, concentrated palate. There’s a fine mineral core here buoying the rich fruit and a fine succulence on the savory and persistent finish. Certainly appealing now, but given a few months/years in the cellar for the dosage to knit, this should emerge with greater complexity still. John McIlwain
Our new shipment of the 2008 Polisy Brut was disgorged in October of 2018. 2008 continues to delight, even 11 years after the harvest. The current disgorgement of the Polisy has a pale yellow robe, fine bead, and soft mousse. The nose is soft and pretty offering aromas of golden apple, acacia, lemon curd and apple blossom. The mid-weight palate is bright and brisk on attack, with flavors of Macintosh apple, bergamot, and green tea giving way to a fine core of minerality lending focus. This has good length and energy on a lifted and expansive finish. This is very good with vibrant fruit and nascent aged flavors knitting elegantly. A fine effort from the Beauforts! John McIlwain
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 June 2018 after 15 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
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)
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 June 2019) John McIlwain
With all its nuance and detail, this 23-year-old Champagne has the potential for wide appeal. On the edges it shimmers a more bright golden yellow with a burnished golden color, speckled by a fine and discrete mousse. The nose offers aromas of honeysuckle, Granny Smith apples, hazelnuts, chestnuts, vanilla, and smoky tones. The palate is round, circular, and weighty with aromas of lemon verbena and wisteria before a mineral, singing finish. This combines so many of the best qualities of Beaufort's Champagnes : strikingly nuanced aromatic detail, along with a gracefully powerful palate and a resounding finish. (Lot #96A. Disgorged August 2019.)
The 2016 Polisy Coteaux Champagnois Rouge became available at the last minute - we haven't tasted it, but assume it will be a pretty serious glass of Pinot Noir. Notes to follow...