- Item #: i_379709Bottle Size: 750MLJOHN GILMAN VIEW FROM THE CELLAR 92 POINTS-"It had been a few years since I last tasted a bottle of Agrapart’s lovely “Les 7 Crus” cuvée. The wine is really lovely, offering up a pure and complex bouquet of apple, tart pear, chalky minerality, citrus zest and fresh-baked bread. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a lovely core, elegant mousse, fine focus and a very long, zesty and perfectly balanced finish. This is one lower dosage bottling that is drinking with style and grace in its youth. 2016-2030."
- Item #: i_376417Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93The Avizoise is made from Les Robards and Voie d'Epernay, fermented in neutral 600-liter barrels and bottled with four grams of dosage.
- Item #: i_375800Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93PETER LEIM 1+ STARS-"It’s dark and stony on both the nose and palate, de-emphasizing its fruit flavors, yet it avoids the vegetal character typical of the vintage, instead feeling savory and strongly chalky even to the point of bitterness, albeit in an appealing way. It grows in intensity the farther back it moves on the palate, finishing with harmony and length. This is excellent, and it will be fascinating to see how it evolves with further aging. Last tasted: 2/18
- Item #: i_325554Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 921 1/2 Stars ChampagneGuide.net-"Compared to Agrapart's 7 Crus, this is both finer in texture and larger in body-you see the influence of grand cru terroir not only in finesse but in puissance as well. It's intensely chalky under the silky notes of pear, green citrus and guava, anchored by vibrant acidity, and it feels fragrant and flowery on the long finish, demonstrating a superb balance and focus. Last tasted: 11/13."-Peter Leim
- Item #: i_378941Bottle Size: 750mlJacques Beaufort has long been one of our Champagne hero's. Back in the early 1970's Jacques was virtually alone leading the charge against the use of chemicals and herbicides and he has now been farming biodynamically for decades. Beaufort's approach to winemaking is equally stripped-down and non-interventionist. Such a strict, natural approach has its obvious risks, and over the years his Champagnes have been a bit "hit or miss" but his hits like this 2010 are often home runs. This is a bright, exuberant (dare we say hedionistic) Champagne that belies it Brut Zero configuration. The 2010 Andre Beaufort presents a delicate mousse and persistent bubbles, greeting your nose with pear, herbs de Provence and toasted hazelnuts. Expressive in character and bold on the palate, it culminates with a fine, zippy finish.
- Item #: i_376185Bottle Size: 750mlTHE CHAMPAGNE GUIDE 96 POINTS - "Clouet's flagship is a radiant, golden silk-satin ballgown of ravishing complexity and breathtaking grace, a delicate high-heeled balancing act of refreshing poise in the midst of profound concentration. Its richness ventures to Champagne's outer limits of succulent white fruits of all kinds, grilled pineapple, honey and great complexity of brioche, nougat and butter. Celebrating a generous 50% reserve from solera, its rumbling maturity is proclaimed in hints of butterscotch, coffee beans, and smouldering hearth. Just when you fear it is all too much to behold the vibrant energy of its 2002 base wine swoops into a finish defined by well-poised acidity and softly mineral, fine chalk texture. It holds it posture of tall, slender magnificence for minutes without ever dropping its determined gaze."
We have had our sights on the Champagnes of Jean-Francois Clouet for long time since, by all accounts, he is one of the top Pinot Noir specialists in all of Champagne. This limited bottling (yes, you guessed it, just 1911 were produced) is drawn from Jean-Francois’ ten best plots all situated mid-slope in the “golden square” of Bouzy. This is an amazing wine that would have placed near the top of our list if only there had been more available. Australian scribe, Tyson Stelzer, flipped for it, writing: ”Clouet’s flagship is a radiant, golden silk-satin ball gown of ravishing complexity and breathtaking grace, a delicate high-heeled balancing act of refreshing poise in the midst of profound concentration. Its richness ventures to Champagne’s outer limits of succulent white fruits of all kinds, grilled pineapple, honey and great complexity of brioche, nougat and butter. Celebrating a generous 50% reserve from solera, its rumbling maturity is proclaimed in hints of butterscotch, coffee beans, and smoldering hearth. Just when you fear it is all too much to behold the vibrant energy of its 2002 base wine swoops into a finish defined by well-poised acidity and softly mineral, fine chalk texture. It holds its posture of tall, slender magnificence for minutes without ever dropping its determined gaze. 96 Points.”
- Item #: i_376772Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS-"Unfortunately I was only able to taste one new release from Andre Clouet this year. The NV Brut Grande Reserve emerges from the glass with layers of hazelnut, pear, spice and dried flower aromas. This rich, creamy wine impresses for its balance and sheer richness. I loved it. This is Lot L06. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014."(11/11)
Fashioned from 100% Bouzy and Ambonnay Pinot Noir form the 2009 and 2008 vintages with 30% of the base wine fermented in used Sauterenes barrels. The bouquet is open 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 Champagnes 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 low price point.
- Item #: i_376767Bottle Size: 750mlTHE CHAMPAGNE GUIDE 95 POINTS - "I say 10% of the blend is from my blood!' declares Jean-Francois Clouet, who has changed the style of his family's rose to a fresher and more direct mood, not so soft, aiming for the lively impression of malic acidity, even though it goes through full malolactic fermentation. The result is arose that epitomises elegance and focus, in the midst of generous red fruits that characterise Bouzy and Ambonnay. This cuvee encapsulates the wonderful talent of Pinot Noir to build and rise on the finish, opening to wonderful characters of perfumed rosehip, pink pepper and pomegrate. An undercurrent of fine, chalk mineral texture, accurate line and persevering length define a pristine and enticingly priced rose."
- Item #: i_276892Bottle Size: 750mlThe wine shows a complex range of aromas from white flower to fresh fruit. The wine is long and refreshing in the mouth, balanced with underlying minerality. A vintage with a great aging potential.
Champagne Andre Robert was born in 1960 with the purchase of the Robert estate but winemaking goes back several generations in the family. Henry Robert, an officer during WWI, came back to a devastated land. Most of Champagne's vineyards were either war torn or disease ridden. With not much more than a horse, he acquired a small plot of land and nursed the vines back to health. Persistence paid off and in the 1930's, Henry founded the first wine cooperative in Champagne.
During WWII, Andre Robert, who was just a teenager at the time, joined his father and the horse. Toward the end of the 1950's, a tractor replaced the horse and Champagne Andre Robert's first commercial wines were released in 1962.
Bertrand Robert took over the property in 1981 after studying enology in Reims. Over the last three plus decades, he has remained committed to the principles that were first forged by his grandfather ninety years ago. No insecticides or anti-decay products are used. As if reciting a mantra from the French Revolution he proclaims, "We practice 'viticulture durable.' Respect the water, respect the earth, respect the air."
A member of the Independent Wine Producers Federation, Robert does not purchase any fruit and all of the wines are made on the estate. This may not sound like a big deal but while there are a lot of small growers in Champagne, the vast majority of the wines are made by very large houses that buy fruit and often use a variety of production facilities.
- Item #: i_352326Bottle Size: 750mlIMPORTER'S NOTES-"100% Chardonnay. Dosage 8 to 9g/L. Blend of 2009 and 2010 vintages. Located in the Côte des Blancs, Bertrand Robert's family’s plots sit on some of the most prized terroir in the world, much of it in the Grand Cru territory of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger. Aromas of yeast, apple, walnut and fresh bread complemented by hints of white flowers and acacia. Complex, subtle and pure, offering precise minerality backed by citrus, stone fruit, brioche and ginger flavors. Finishes long and with a chalky texture.
It is hard not to be delighted by this bubbly’s fresh mix of white flower, acacia, and orchard fruit aromas. In the mouth this Champagne is vividly juicy and filled to the brim with ripe apple, white peach and nectarine flavors that are imbued with pervasive inflections of wet stones and seashells. The finish, which fades only with greatest reluctance, tantalizes with subtle glimmers of allspice, ginger and brioche.
The Robert family has been in the Champagne growing business for well over a century, but it wasn’t until 1961 that André Robert established the family’s own estate brand and production cellars. In 1997 André’s son Bertrand took over management of the operation. Today he farms some 27 acres split into dozens of tiny garden sized parcels. His vines average between 25-30 years of age with the lion’s share being Chardonnay planted in the Le Mesnil cru. Bertrand practices Viticulture Raisonnée, a protocol that emphasizes natural measures to control pests and rot with chemical treatments used only as a last resort. So once again, as we have seen with other top growerproducers, the quality of this Champagne is a natural outgrowth of family pride combined with generations of local knowledge along with a deep reverence for the land.
- Item #: i_374622Bottle Size: 750mlWINERY NOTES - "Generous and plentiful foam, with numerous strings of tiny bubbles. The nose is very powerful, dominated by aromas of fruits in pastry, stewed apricot, with frank notes of sugared almond. Slight notes of pepper and aniseed. On the palate, the feeling is very ample and long, with remaining pastry feeling, ending on a spicy note."
A rich yet subtle blend ot 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay all sourced from the firm's plantings in the Grand Cru village of Ay. The blend is based on the 2013 vintage with 20% cask aged reserve wines. The wine as given a dosage of 9 grams per liter after aging on the yeast for 15 to 18 months.
- Item #: i_376663Bottle Size: 750mlWINERY NOTES-"The base wine for this Old Vines Champagne comes from our plots, Pierre Robert Haut, Tarclett, and Varmery. The vines are on average 45 years old, which is important for the selection of the plots, as each plant produces a third less than a younger plant. Hence a higher aromatic potential and an optimum maturity at harvest time. The primary aromas are typical of a Pinot Noir from Ay: blackcurrant, small red fruit, in the nose and on the palate, with a spicy note at the end of the tasting.These aromas have evolved with the second fermentation, dominated now by juicy fruit, such as white peach and stewed lemon. Despite a lively attack on the palate, this wine feels round, vinous, frank and well structured, long on the mouth without being heavy. This is a wine for lovers of varietal wines, the opposite of a blended Champagne."
- Item #: i_377461Bottle Size: 750mlHeadquartered in Epernay, Aubert Et Fils Brut is a classic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that represent one of the best buys we have encountered from Champagne in a very long time. Pleasantly crisp with fragrant notes fruit and toasty aromas backed with hints of chalk dust and truffles. The generous palate proffers tangy orchard and citrus fruits that reveal a subtle minerality in the long-play finish. Balanced to work with or without food, this is simply a wonderfully crafted Champagne a fabulous price.
- Item #: i_375646Bottle Size: 750mlThe 2012 Brut Ivoire et Ebène is another fabulous wine in this range. Powerful, ample and resonant in the glass, the 2012 is superb from the moment it is first poured. Baked apple, pear, smoke and spice fill out the wine's voluptuous frame, with a hint of French oak that add complexity without being overpowering.
- Item #: i_378247Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS-"A smooth, gently round and nicely balanced Champagne dominant in pinot meunier, pinot noir and chardonnay to boot. It has attractive lemon citrus flavors and is really punchy, refined and gently nutty. A smooth, pastry-like texture comes to the fore on the finish. Drink now."
WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The NV Brut Premier Cru is a gorgeous wine, and a great introduction to the house style. Lemon, white flowers, mint, crushed rocks are some of the many notes that take shape in the glass as this refined Champagne shows off its impeccable class and total pedigree. The Premier Cru is 45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay and 5% Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromenteau. The high percentage of red grapes is felt in the wine’s breadth, while the aromas and flavors remain fresh, vibrant and beautifully nuanced throughout. This is a fabulous entry-level offering."
- Item #: i_378248Bottle Size: 750mlThe Bara property was built in 1860 in Bouzy, perhaps Champagne's most esteemed Pinot Noir village, thanks its warm, south-facing slopes. In the beginning, the estate was a farm with stables, a cow shed, and a cellar, However, in 1965, the barn was transformed into a press room and a winery. Paul Bara, the father of today's owner Chantale, was the first of the dynasty to sell Champagne under the family's name in the 1950s and he was also one of the first grower producers to export its his wares to the U.S. Crafted only from exceptional exceptiona harvests, the firm's Millesime is fermented in tank without malolactic and is aged on the yeast for at least five years. Clearly one of the great successes of the excellent 2012 vintage.LA REVUE DU VIN DE FRANCE comments: " A full and spherical expression of Pinot Noir (90%). A good classic vinified in VAT, taught, yet harmonious."
- Item #: i_377891Bottle Size: 750MLEvery once in a while a champagne comes along that you can judge like you would a a great wine. Paul Bara's Comtesse Marie de France, their finest, is such a Champagne. The nose is expansive, deep, and ravishingly complex. The palate is rich and winey and incredibly long. Stock up. These don't happen very often. —Kermit Lynch
- Item #: i_325801Bottle Size: 750mlThis exquisitely crafted champagne is derived from a mix of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, perfectly balanced to create a Rose champagne that is one to be consumed when celebrating a special occasion. Light crisp taste, which is fresh and fruity, with the color of delicate rose petals.
The copper casing of both the Brut and the Rose were inspired by the suit of armor worn by the knights of the palace. They are crafted from 100% second generation scrap copper and each bottle is recycled after consumption. So why the copper in the first place? Believe it or not, it’s not just bling it actually helps save energy and keeps the temperature of the wine stabilized while it’s being consumed without the use of an ice bucket.
- Item #: i_325730Bottle Size: 750mlChampagne Bertrand Senecourt is an Epernay Champagne house that sometimes makes special cuvees, such as Beau Joie Special Cuvee Brut. The Champagne is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and it is bottled in a distinctive 100% copper wrapper that Bertrand Senecourt says is inspired by the suits of armor worn by medieval knights. The copper “suit of armor” keeps the Champagne colder for longer periods, according to Bertrand Senecourt, and the copper wrapper is made from recycled copper. In 2012 Beau Joie Special Cuvee Brut was the official Champagne for the party held after the Grammys at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Other Beau Joie cuvees have earned compliments in Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Bertrand Senecourt is also the maker of the prestigious Charles Ellner Champagnes.
- Item #: i_352565Bottle Size: 750mlBenoit and Valérie Lahaye registered their property as completely biodynamic in 2003, quite a big decision in such a marginal climate. Their vines cover eleven acres mostly in the Montagne de Reims villages of Bouzy (Grand Cru) and Tauxières (Premier Cru) with the balance situated in the Cote de Blancs hamlet of Vertus (Premier Cru). As one would suspect, Lahaye, with their Bouzy holdings and dexterous biodynamic farming, makes a striking Blanc de Noirs. The wine has been aged 20% in tank and 80% in vat with lees stirring to add even more depth while ample ageing further rounds things out. This is 100% Pinot Noir bottling was disgorged in October 2017 with a 5 g/l dosage.
- Item #: i_352567Bottle Size: 750mlOnly the most dedicated and courageous growers would dare to practice biodynamic viticulture in a climate that is as cool and damp as Champagne’s. Benoit Lahaye is one of these brave souls, having been a practitioner of natural winegrowing since the early 1990s. Made entirely from 36-year-old Pinot Noir vines in the vineyard of "Les Juliennes" in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy, this very reddish rosé is effusively fruity on the nose, displaying deep aromas of just-squeezed strawberries and raspberries. The light (3 g/l) dosage and absence of malolactic fermentation work in concert to give the red berry flavors extra brilliance and intensity.