Icy Chalk in Vertus.

Champagne: A Motley Crew.

Share

We have a crop of wonderful new Champagnes in stock in a variety of styles and pricepoints! We have fresh faces, and we have new releases from growers we’ve loved for years. We have rich, shell-y Blanc de Blancs, and we have burnished, vinous Blanc de Noirs. There’s something for everyone! See below for a brief overview of this month’s growers to watch.

Doquet: Pascal Doquet is obsessed with the life of the soil, and to be sure he finds it amusing that many of his neighbors in Vertus and Mesnil believe they can bring chalky minerality to their wines by applying chalk to the top of their vineyards like fondant on a birthday cake. Don’t they know that minerality comes from vine roots planted in healthy soils? Apparently not judging by the dead earth on display in much of the region. An affable, exceedingly generous, and energetic winemaker, Doquet began to convert his 9 hectare Domaine to organics in the early 2000s, and has reaped the benefits of meticulous vineyard work since then. He farms many small parcels in Vertus, Mesnil, Mont-Aimé and the Côte de Perthois, specializing in clawed-from-the-earth, age-worthy Champagnes made from Chardonnay. Today we feature Pascal Doquet’s Blanc de Blancs “Horizon,” an elegant and well priced Champagne that gives a lovely introduction to Pascal’s style, as well as his 2004 1er Cru Vertus, long lees-aged and recently disgorged, offering the drinker a rich, yet chiseled picture of the chalk and clay soils of this superb 1er Cru.  

Mouzon-Leroux: When Sébastien Mouzon took the reigns at his 7 hectare family Domaine in Verzy, he decided to learn from the masters: Benoït Lahaye, and Vincent Laval. He’s now certified organic, and going after biodynamic certification at the brisk clip of a young, passionate winemaker dedicated to making soulful, terroir-driven Champagnes. These wines are new to us, but we like what we’ve tried so far! Today we highlight Sébastian’s cuvée “L’Ineffable” a fascinating effort from a vigneron we know will go far. We’re can’t wait to watch (and taste) his progress!  

Ruppert-Leroy: We have friends who think that the terroir of the Aube is no match for the terroir of the Montagne de Reims, but we could not disagree more. Heavy in limestone rather than chalk, the terroir of the Aube is just now beginning to reveal itself in the hands of a group of innovative winemakers. Domaine Ruppert-Leroy began as a four hectare sheep farm gradually planted to vines in the ‘80s and ‘90s when sheep farming ceased to be economically viable for the family. In the model of Aube poster-child Cédric Bouchard, Ruppert-Leroy’s wines are all single vintage, single vineyard, single cépage Champagnes that are bottled non-dosé. These are vinous and unapologetically dry Champagnes that show a heavy presence of limestone; we encourage you to begin with the intensely rhubarb-red-fruited Fosse-Grély, arguably the most delicious of the lot and the least expensive.  

The list goes on to include new releases from Emmanuel Brochet, Ulysses Collin, and Benoït Lahaye, as well as the return of Benoït Marguet’s show-stopping 2008 Ambonnay “Les Crayères.” As usual, if you require help navigating the roster, don’t hesistate to ask. Santé! -Sophie

No Longer Available

Doquet, Pascal NV Champagne Blanc des Blancs Horizon

The fruit that goes into Doquet's "Horizon" cuvée comes from the chalky soil of the Côte de Perthois about 60 kilometers from Vertus. This is the first cuvée of Doquet's to be certified organic. Exactly what a well-priced Blanc de Blancs should be, the wine offers white flowers, stone fruits, chalk, and a touch of honey on the nose. With 7 grams dosage, it's an accessible and very pretty wine that is elegant, refreshing, and satisfying. MSB   

Pale yellow in color and sporting a generous mousse, this Chardonnay (2/3rds 2009, 1/3rd 2008) comes from one of the most undervalued terroirs in Champagne. The nose is all fruits and flowers with highlights of marzipan, lemon curd, ripe watermelon, and brioche. The palate is lithe, yet broad, and dotted with aromas of candied ginger, lime zest, and hazelnuts that build to a sour lemon drop finish (Disgorged 10/12). David Salinas

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $49.99

  • Organic

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

Ruppert-Leroy NV Champagne Brut Nature "Fosse-Grely"

"I've never tasted a Champagne with so much red fruit" an experienced taster commented upon first nosing this spectacular bottle from Ruppert-Leroy. With 80% Pinot Noir from red clay and limestone soil in the Aube, we should expect red fruit, but such vivid, aromatic sour cherry and cranberry? Ruppert-Leroy, an estate that sold to the local cooperative from the 1980s until 2009, is a young Domaine in the town of Essoyes; they make single vineyard, single terroir, single vintage wines that are bottled Brut Nature (no dosage). The cuvée Fosse-Grély is a fabulous introduction to their style, which is ripe yet totally dry and vinous with abundant mineral depth on the finish. A fantastic effort that makes us look forward to more down the road! MSB 

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $61.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Mouzon Leroux 2009 Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Verzy G.C. L'ineffable

Sébastien Mouzon is a talented young winemaker who is enamoured of the work of Vincent Laval. (Who wouldn't be?) A few years ago he took over his family's domaine in Verzy and immediately stopped using chemicals. He is now certified organic, and striving to be biodynamic as well. We were very inspired by his passion and conviction that the best Champagne is born in the soil. This is an unusual and thought provoking bottle of wine. From 100% Verzy Pinot Noir from the 2009 vintage, it's 50% barrel-matured with 3.25 grams residual sugar, disgorged in June of 2013. The nose is smoky and vinous, with an intriguing note of dark chocolate and vibrant green fruit. It's a full-bodied, dense and complex wine with a welcome touch of bitter citrus pith on the finish. It's a wine to ponder and to drink with food, perhaps while contemplating how wonderful it would be if more young vignerons in Champagne shared Sébastien Mouzon's sentiments about organic vineyard work! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $79.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Collin, Ulysses 2010 Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières

In a lineup of incredibly rare Champagnes, the "Pierrières" bottling is the most obtainable, and the most delicious and accessible at this stage of the game. (Read: drink this while your bottles of "Les Roises" are coming around ... ) It's also the first wine Collin made in the early 2000s. The chalk in this vineyard is quite close to the topsoil and mixed with black silex, giving the wine a spicy aromatic profile, and a rich, broad, almost Jurassic finish. The nose offers notes of white pepper and ground coriander. Though none of Collin's Champagnes are exactly giving on the palate, Pierrières has a certain generosity that makes it a joy to drink, even young and tightly coiled. A superb effort! -Sophie Barrett

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $99.99

Collin 2010 Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Les Maillons

Olivier Collin's "Les Maillons" bottling is an arresting and unique bottle of wine. Unlike Collin's other single vineyard wines, which come from close to his winery in Congy, Les Maillons is half an hour away by car, and these 40+ year old vines are planted on dark, clay rich soil. As always with Collin's Champagnes, the grapes are harvested at low yields and very ripe, resulting in a rich, complex finished product that is packed with intense, stony flavors. Les Maillons is faintly pink in the glass, and offers vivid red fruit aromas of sour cherry, red currant, and cranberry. The wine is unapologetically dry on the palate and fleshes out with time open. Don't serve it too cold! -Sophie Barrett

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $99.99

Lahaye, Benoît 2004 Champagne Extra Brut Grand Cru Bouzy

Benoît Lahaye has a detailed record that he keeps in a neat little ledger of each harvest going back to the 1930s. This is how the family keeps track of the quality and quantity of each vintage. 2004, he said, was very much like 2008, giving wines that need years on the lees. In very good vintages, Lahaye keeps some wine under capsule and some wine under cork in the cellar, a process known as "tirer à liège" that allows a long, slow interaction between wine and oxygen, and is thought to be particularly beneficial to the texture of the wine. This is certainly as soft, fine, and creamy a Champagne as we could want. This stands out from Lahaye's 'normal" vintage Bouzy in that it has aged twice as long on the lees, and is bottled Extra Brut. The nose is earthy and toasty, and the wine is plush and mouth-filling with impressive minerality and length. Like all of Lahaye's offerings, it's a subtle wine. Enjoy it over the course of a meal, and taste it as it unfolds! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $119.99

Lahaye, Benoît NV Champagne Brut Jardins de la Grosse Pierre

This is Benoït Lahaye's most recent creation, available for the first time in New York. This tiny vineyard was planted to vines by Benoït's grandfather, and he didn't stick to the three major Champagne grapes! In fact there's Pinot Blanc and Arbanne, but also Chasselas and Gros Plant in the bottle (shhhhh). The grapes are all co-planted, and Benoït uses his two donkeys (Barnaby and Balsamine) to do the plowing. This wine is more than just a bucolic story. Rich, ripe, apply, honeyed, nutty, and earthy, the wine has almost no sulfur added (20 milligrams total), no dosage, and an incredible mid-palate and finish. As seems generally to be the case with Lahaye's wines, they need time to open up, and often the last glass is the most delicious. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $164.99

Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2010 Bourgueil Les Galichets

This is a great vintage for the Breton's Bourgueil les Galichets! As with the Baudry's Chinon Les Grezeaux, the normally softer fruit of the gravel over limestone terroir is buoyed by bright acidity giving the wine particularly complex and subtle aromas. On the palate there is superb red and black fruit with hints of truffle and spice, balanced by light tannins. The wine is long and deep but with lovely lightness and length. Five years from now this will be superb, if you can wait. (50 year-old vines, aged in 5,000 liter oak barrels)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $27.99

Breton, Catherine et Pierre 2010 Bourgueil Franc de Pied

From relatively young un-grafted vines on sandy clay over limestone. As in the Baudry Chinon Franc de Pied, the alcohol is a bit lower but the wine has beautiful intensity of black and red fruits with bracing acidity. There is an elegant saline character on the palate and a long refreshing finish — lovely wine that will drink well now but will improve with a few years in bottle. A rare and unique wine!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $28.99

Baudry, Bernard et Mathieu 2007 Chinon Les Grézeaux

Les Grezeaux is a parcel of 50 year-old vines at the base of the Coteaux de Sonnay on gravel soil over clay and silex. The wine ages in 3 to 5 year-old barriques for 12 months. The 2007 has gorgeous pure high-toned fruit aromas with a dense but refreshing palate of raspberry and strawberry confit ending with hints of chocolate. Supple and forward enough to drink young, due to the influence of the gravel, it will age beautifully for 10 to 15 years or more. (The 1989 is lovely now, and though the 2007 is lighter, the good acidity should contribute to long aging).

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99