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ALSACE BEAUJOLAIS/CRU 2011 BORDEAUX 2012 BORDEAUX BORDEAUX
BURGUNDY (RED) BURGUNDY (WHITE) CHAMPAGNE JURA LOIRE VALLEY
RHONE (RED) RHONE (WHITE) ROSE SAUTERNE SUD

Champagne & Sparkling Wine of the Month
by Jim Duane

THE ROYAL CHAMPAGNES OF ANDRE CLOUET - Late last year we introduced André Clouet Champagnes by featuring their unique ultra non plus Cuvée 1911 on our 12 Champagnes of Christmas list. Now we would like to draw your attention to two "value" bottlings by this important Pinot Noir Champagne house. The word "important" refers to the fact that this small family firm farms some of the choicest mid-slope parcels in Bouzy and Ambonnay. Most of these prized sites were acquired by the family back in 1751 as a reward bestowed by King Louis XV to André Clouet who served as the royal court's book printer. As André's wine making improved, he soon became the king's favorite vintner. This ancient royal appointment is commemorated today by the firm's ornate ancient regime-styled labels. Today the family's "royal" vines are now in the very able hands of Pierre and Francoise Santz-Clouet, and their winemaking son Jean-Francois. A true Pinot Noir zealot Jean Francois says "I am frustrated with the idea of blending from everywhere! I love pure Pinot Noir! No makeup and no compromise!"


BRUT GRANDE RESERVE GRAND CRU

Fashioned from 100% Bouzy and Ambonnay Pinot Noir from the 2009 and 2008 vintages with 30% of the base wine fermented in used Sauternes barrels. The bouquet is open and airy with inviting sourdough, yellow plum, citrus and Macintosh apple notes. This is a concentrated but not at all ponderous Champagne with a palate that features appetizing summer and citrus fruits seamlessly wedded to oak-derived notions of honey, toast and brown spices. The low (6g/l) dosage works well here to keep everything lively while also letting the Champagne's intriguing chalk and soil character to come to the fore. This intricately crafted Brut beautifully marries power and poise in way that one seldom finds at this moderate price point.

$37.98 750ml [376772] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


BRUT ROSE GRAND CRU

This dark salmon-hued Champagne is 100% Pinot Noir primarily from the 2010 vintage blended with 10% of Jean-François's own blood (to use his words-really just estate Pinot Noir). Australian Champagne guru Tyson Stelzer, in his new Champagne Guide, gushes, "The result is a rosé that epitomizes elegance and focus, in the midst of generous red fruits that characterize Bouzy and Ambonnay. This cuvée encapsulates that wonderful talent of Pinot Noir to build and rise on the finish, opening to wonderful characteristics of rose hip, pink pepper and pomegranate. An undercurrent of fine, chalk mineral texture, accurate line and preserving length define a pristine and enticingly priced rosé. 95 Points."

$44.98 750ml [376767] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


Sparkler of the Month

GERARD VILLET 2001 BRUT CREMANT DU JURA

Lately we have become smitten with the sparkling wines from the Jura, the bucolic wine region that is straddled by Burgundy and Switzerland. We find that these Champagne method sparklers tend to offer more character and flavor interest than cremants from other locales. A case in point is this latest find from Domaine Gerard Villet. Founded in 1900, this small (25 acre) family estate is now run by the husband and wife team of Gérard and Christine Villet. In 1988 the domaine reverted to the organic farming regime that the family practiced before the Second World War. The base wine for this 2011 bubbly is 100% Chardonnay. After the initial fermentation the wine rested in tank for 9 months before being transferred without filtration into bottle for the second fermentation. After approximately eighteen months on the less this wine was finished with a mid-Brut dosage of 10 g/l. The result is a straw hue wine with peach highlights, a fine perlage and a creamy texture. Though it has slightly lower acidity than a Champagne, there is an ample component of citrus and mineraity to enliven its rich pear and peach flavors. Here is a bubbly that is easier on the purse than Champagne but with an old world charm all of its own.

$17.95 750ml [379854] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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