Rare Champagne Treasures… and a Well-Curated Tasting with Peter Liem!

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A few years ago, when my predecessor was stocking the Champagne shelves at Chambers Street, she used to survey the display with a particular lusty, thirsty gleam in her eye. “Our Champagne section is stacked!” I’ve been having a similar feeling of late looking at our Champagne inventory, salivating at the prospect of so much deliciousness. There are simply too many bottles crying out to be drunk. It’s an exciting time to be a Champagne enthusiast. Clichéd as it is, the winter holidays (not merely New Year’s Eve) seem to demand Champagne, its charm, festive character, and food versatility making it an ideal choice for so many occasions. There are quite a few treasures to be found in the Champagne section right now: vintage bottles from Marie-Noelle Ledru and Emmanuel Lassaigne, Brut Zero and Rosé from Tarlant, new wines from Emmanuel Brochet (not yet arrived, but so close we can taste them), our seasonal allocation of Egly-Ouriet. All around, this is an eclectic group of wines, and if making a choice seems daunting, we’re happy to offer our counsel…

Champagne Tasting December 8th! For many, Peter Liem will need no introduction. Peter’s website, Champagneguide.net, has provided an invaluable aid to the Champagne lover in its coverage of the smallest growers to the largest négociants. We think it’s safe to say that – here in the U.S. – Peter Liem is our preeminent Champagne writer; his knowledge is virtually unsurpassed... and he is a fantastic guy. Peter will be joining us on Saturday, `December 8th from 4-7pm, for a tasting of some of our favorite grower Champagnes in preparation for the holidays. Though the lineup of wines is yet to be determined (we’re working on it, sorry!!), we’ll happily guarantee an abundance of tasty bubbles in a variety of styles and prices. This is bound to be an informative and delicious experience; we hope to see you there! (And, in case you’re wondering, there will be nary a Veuve-Cliquot or a Moët and Chandon to be found.) Salut! -Sophie   

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Egly-Ouriet NV Champagne 1er Cru Brut Les Vignes de Vrigny (base 08)

Francis Egly is one of the greatest producers of "grower" Champagne; his wines are quite exquisite across the board. Based in Ambonnay, Egly cultivates predominantly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay and one very small plot of Pinot Meunier in the village of Vrigny. He's known for making very vinous and complex Champagnes that are super dry and aged for long periods on the lees, three years minimum. The Meunier variety gives wines of rich earthiness that are at once rustic and complex. Great stuff! (60% 2009; 40% 2008. Disgorged in July of 2013 with 36 months aging on lees.) MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $58.99

Egly-Ouriet NV Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru

A powerful, dry, barrel-matured Rosé Champagne. The wine is a blend of fruit from Bouzy, Ambonnay, and Verzenay comprising 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. Rich, beefy, savory, and quite dry at 2-3 grams/liter dosage. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $94.99

Brochet, Emmanuel 2006 Champagne Extra Brut 1er Cru Mont Benoit

We haven't yet had the chance to taste this vintage wine from Emmanuel Brochet, but we are salivating at the prospect. The wine has a higher percentage of Chardonnay (40%) in the blend than the non-vintage Mont Benoït from Brochet. The wine is matured in barrel with malolactic fermentation blocked, which guarantees a very chiseled style of Champagne. From 30-60 year old vines, certified organic, planted on clay and limestone soil. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $74.99

Lassaigne 2004 Champagne Blanc de Blanc Brut Nature

This wine is a true exercise in minerality. Bottled as Brut Nature, the wine shows some evolution with nutty and cheesy, sea shelly notes on the nose, almost as you'd find in a mature Chablis. The fruits lean toward white grapes and grapefruit with an abundance of acidity that plays nicely with the wine's chalky finish. It's not a fruity wine, but a wine in which fruit has receded, giving way to salty, nutty mineral notes. Try this with oysters or another deeply savory food. -msb

 

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $83.99

Ledru 2002 Champagne Brut Nature Grand Cru Ambonnay

Sometimes, as they begin to age, Champagnes take on an oxidative quality that is reminiscent of white wine from the Jura -- not sous voile wine, but rather ouillé wine. It's very subtle: almond flesh, maybe a hint of walnut skin. There's an intimation that lots of crunchy acidity will be forthcoming on the palate. It's a good thing we love Jurassic wine... and Champagne with age. Marie-Noelle Ledru is a masterful vigneronne whose wines become more rare with each passing release. Take advantage of this chance to try this fantastic 2002. -msb

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $84.99

Tarlant NV Champagne Brut Rosé Zero

Tarlant pulls off smart austerity with enough charm, character and nuanced flavor to make for compelling and food-oriented Champagne. The NV Rosé (in this case based on the superb 2008 vintage) shows off red fruits such as currant and raspberry, which are interestingly contrasted by a spicy note that borders on being peppery. Not overtly creamy, this Rosé is extrememly minerally and elegant. (85% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir -- non-dosé -- disgorged 6/13)

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $58.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
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  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $54.99

Doquet, Pascal 2004 Champagne 1er Cru Vertus Blanc de Blancs

This rich, Chardonnay-based Champagne from Vertus is in a great place to drink right now. The initial impression is one of creaminess and white, stone fruit, but with some time open the wine shows a racier and more chalky, mineral-driven side. Some of the base wine was matured in barrel, which may explain the wine's richness, and the wine has the telltale deep, earthy character of Doquet's wines. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $81.99

  • Organic