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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 (and on the wine list at Noma), 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. Domaine André Beaufort has farmed organically since the early 1970s and, to our knowledge, the only grower rivaling Beaufort in long-time organic vine-growing in Champagne is Georges Laval in Cumières. Vinifications at Beaufort are generally 8-10 months long and both fermentations take place with native yeasts. Sulfur is added only at disgorgement, or not at all, and is present in moderate quantities.
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…” Please note that although the Beaufort wines normally receive a dosage of 4 to 8 grams per liter, a few of today's offerings are Brut Nature, and all have have been recently disgorged.
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort from the superb 2002 vintage - 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 Sept 2019 after 16+ years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
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! (Disgorged for this order in Jan, 2021)
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
André Beaufort 2010 Polisy Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, disgorged in June, 2017. This is a youthful and brilliant Blanc de Noirs from Amaury Beaufort and family that is sensationally vinous and complex, reflecting the decades of organic farming and low yields at this extraordinary estate. The wine shows aromas of raspberry, peach, lime-flower, citrus, hazelnut and stone. The palate is ripe and firmly structured with citrusy acids enveloping red fruits, thistle and creamy lemon with stone, white fruit, floral and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a young and beautiful wine that will accompany a meal such as fish in sauce or chicken with morels, and of course delicious as an aperitif. Rich, but quite age-worthy, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
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 in August 2020) 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)
Subtle aromas of white fruits and creamy lemon with hints of spice and herbs, the palate is round and ripe with pear, citrus, almond, spice, anise... The finish is long and creamy with complex spice and mineral notes. The mousse is soft and delicate as with most of the Beaufort wines. This is a great White Burgundy that's masquerading as Champagne. (Disgorged March 2017) DL
2002 is a "magnificent vintage for Champagne" says Jancis Robinson and the 2002 Beaufort Policy Demi-Sec is a beautiful example. The aromas are a lovely mélange of honeyed citrus, pear and exotic fruits and floral notes with chalk, caramel and anise. The palate is a treat of sweet white fruits and citrus backed by earth and stone flavors with just enough acidity. The finish has a nice mineral balance and terrific length. Superb now, this will be very interesting in ten years or more, as after seventeen years on the lees it seems youthful and firm. David Lillie
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. A great vintage in Champagne yielding firmly structured wines for long-term cellaring. We'd love to re-taste this wine but it keeps selling out before we can get to it! (Disgorged for this order in January 2021 after 24+ years on the lees).
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)