- 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_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_375422Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90James Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "The nose here is super chalky, showing dried white flowers, sweetly fragrant yeast elements, lemon rind and a little pepper - very pure. The palate has a refined core of quite dry lemon citrus flavor; crunchy, crisp and even, pure and uncluttered. Drink now."
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "A streak of smoky mineral underscores the pretty floral, ripe apple and pastry notes of this fresh, open-knit Champagne. A hint of toasted hazelnut rides the fine bead through to the finish. Drink now through 2018."
- Item #: i_328805Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 96Wine Spectator: 97WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS -"Hints of toast and lime blossom on the nose accent the palate's apricot, lemon pastry, candied ginger and crystallized honey flavors in this rich and creamy blanc de blancs. Firm and finely balanced by a china-like frame of acidity, with the finish echoing hints of smoke, coffee liqueur and spice. Disgorged September 2017. Drink now through 2028."
- Item #: i_325699Bottle Size: 750MLOf course, we are big fans of the taut, mineral-laden Chardonnay Champagnes of the Cote de Blancs and sell many excellent examples. However, while quite rare, outstanding Blanc de Blancs can also be produced from small islands of Chardonnay vines situated in that ocean of Pinot Noir known as the Montagne de Rheims. A great example is this Forest- Marie Blanc de Blancs which presents the genre in a deliciously accessible, dare we say, hedonistic, guise. This cuvee reveals developed aromas of apple pie and nougat which accurately presage its luxuriant, spicy apple and brioche-tinged palate. This is a true show stopper that works really well with or with out food and is a tremendousvalue to boot.
- Item #: i_374658Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 90TERRY THEISE'S NOTES-"It's like the poster child for farmer fizz, the first white Ay. ..from a single vintage-2013 in this instance-[though]it is not a "vintage" wine. [Disgorged 07/17], it's one of the best editions of this wine, complex, animated almost to the point of brashness; mealy, jasmine and ginger, still a little angular but has a great future in store-in the 1-3 year range (not to mention the 35-40 year range), which you will infer from the long and savory finish."
- Item #: i_359280Bottle Size: 750MLGuy Larmandier is a small artisan grower based in the southern Côte des Blancs village of Vertus that was discovered by famed wine importer Neal Rosenthal back in the early 1980s. Despite this long association and decades of consistently high quality, the firm remains something of an “insider’s secret” with an under-the-radar media profile. “Signe Francois” the firm’s tête de cuvée has earned the top spot on our best Champs of the year list because it masterfully exudes the depth, breadth and balance that one associates with the elite Champagnes of the stellar 2008 vintage-- all at a price that is shockingly low. Neal Rosenthal writes: “[This] is produced from their oldest parcels of Chardonnay in the grand cru village of Cramant (along with a small amount of fruit from a holding in the Grand Cru Chouilly), and it spends a full five years on the lees before disgorgement. No dosage is present in our version of the 2008, but one would never even know it is missing--the wine’s depth and richness is extraordinary, voicing the sappy and dense character of the fruit François wrests from these old vines. Notes of pear tart, fresh figs, baked apples, and cherries frame a vibrant, expansive palate, and the wine’s chalky core shows itself in a clinging, almost salty finish." Bravo!
IMPORTER NEAL ROSENTHAL NOTES - "Larmandier’s prestige cuvée is produced from their oldest parcels of Chardonnay in the grand cru village of Cramant (along with a small amount of fruit from a holding in the Grand Cru Chouilly), and it spends a full five years on the lees before disgorgement. No dosage is present in our version of the 2008, but one would never even know it is missing--the wine’s depth and richness is extraordinary, voicing the sappy and dense character of the fruit François wrests from these old vines. Notes of pear tart, fresh figs, baked apples, and cherries frame a vibrant, expansive palate, and the wine’s chalky core shows itself in a clinging, almost salty finish."
- Item #: i_379019Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 92WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Bright and creamy, this well-balanced Champagne offers flavors of white peach, pear, candied grapefruit zest and pastry, joined by a briny hint of oyster shell. The firm acidity presents itself as a lively zestiness that is very appealing."
- Item #: i_337890Bottle Size: 750MLPure grand cru Chardonnay from the chalky, cool soils of Cramant in the Côte de Blancs. Lemon curd, lightly toasted brioche, green tea highlights. Long, savory and seductive; a captivating non-vintage wine that can age with the best of vintage bottles. Generally winemaker Michael Chauvet adds 30% reserve wine; aged for five years on fine lees. Dosage less than 9 grams/L.
- Item #: i_377476Bottle Size: 750MLThe house was founded in 1960 and since 1996 it has been run by the present winemaker Michel Chauvet. This 100% Chardonnay Champagne is composed exclusively the family's Grand Cru vineyards in Cramant. Its complex yet racy style is a product of the exceptional 2008 harvest year combined with a long period of maturation on the yeast.
- Item #: i_325462Bottle Size: 750mlJOHN GILMAN 90 POINTS-"The new release of The Rare Wine Company’s “le Mesnil” Blanc de Blancs non-vintage Brut hails from the base year of 2013 and was finished off with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine offers up a fine, youthful bouquet of apple, tart pear, chalky minerality, bread dough and a touch of smokiness in the upper register. On the palate the wine is crisp and clean, fullbodied and focused, with frothy mousse, a good core and fine length and grip on the wellbalanced finish. This is very tasty juice that is drinking well out of the blocks, but will also age very nicely. 2016-2025+."
- Item #: i_374557Bottle Size: 750mlBertrand Lilbert is one of the super stars of Cramant and indeed of the Cote des Blancs. 3.5ha of vineyard parcels spread across Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry. The wines are made in a classic structured style with abundant acid to guarantee long aging potential. But that said, they are certainly very enjoyable in their youth. The Lilbert property was established in 1746 and consists of only 3.5 ha Grand Cru Vineyards in the Cote des Blancs, 60% in Cramant, 30% in Chouilly and 10% in Oiry. Bertrand used to work in an Epernay viticulture testing laboratory before taking over the management of this property. Michel Bettane, France’s top wine critic, names Lilbert as the reference point for long-lived classic Cramant. As Andrew Jefford observes in his book, The New France, “This tiny 4-ha Cramant domaine is the source of some very fine and long-lived Blanc de Blancs made by Georges Lilbert and his son Bertrand. The style is less soft, creamy, and flowery than the Blanc de Blancs of most large houses might leave the drinker expecting: Cramant here has a taut, steely, rigorous quality….”. Overall production is tiny with only three cuvées being produced for a huge total production of a tiny 30,000 bottles!
- Item #: i_325486Bottle Size: 750mlAs confirmed by Bertrand Lilbert, the Non-Vintage Blanc de Blancs we carry with the code L14 01, has a base wine composed of 60% 2010 + 40% 2011.
The non-vintage and vintage Champagnes have pin-point bubbles and intense aromas of lime,green apple, hay, and dried apricot. These are beautiful expressions of minerally Chardonnay,with elegance, subtlety, and gorgeous fruit that is not dressed up by excessively sweet dosages(5-15 grams of sugar is the range for brut, but chez Lilbert stays within 6-8g and their Champagne's pressure is lower than the norm). As Andrew Jefford observes in his book, The New France, This tiny 4-ha Cramant domaine is the source of some very fine and long-lived Blanc de Blancs madeby Georges Lilbert and his son Bertrand. The style is less soft, creamy, and flowery than the Blancde Blancs of most large houses might leave the drinker expecting: Cramant here has a taut, steely,rigorous quality....
- Item #: i_374456Bottle Size: 750ml"Lilbert makes classic Côte des Blancs champagnes of great purity, finesse and expression. The only problem with these wines is finding them, as the tiny production is eagerly snapped up upon release by a near-cult following of clientele around the world." – Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net Lilbert owns 3.5 hectare of vines- all Grand Cru, and all Chardonnay, with an average vine age of 45 years- in the Côte des Blancs. 60% of their vines are in Cramant, 30% in Chouilly and 10% in Oiry. These are three of the six Grand Cru villages in the Côte des Blancs. It is rare that any one house owns exclusively Grand Cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs; Bertrand calls himself "very lucky" to be able to make wines from such prestigious vineyards. All of the parcels are vinified separately until two weeks before bottling. The NV represents 80% of the production and is aged in the cellar for two years. Dosage is normally around 7g/L, since Bertrand is going for acidity in his wines and not ripeness. (He does not perform batonnage because it makes the wines too heavy.) The winery is tiny and the latest investment is a 4,000kg pneumatic press and a disgorgement machine. Each bottle is still riddled by hand. The end result is a true connoisseurs champagne.
- Item #: i_373500Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Wine Spectator: 90WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Moncuit’s non-vintage Cuvee Pierre Moncuit-Delos Blanc de Blancs Brut is typically a rich, powerful, crisp effort displaying notes of chalk dust, white peaches, subtle bees honey, brioche, and yellow plums. Medium-bodied with gorgeous as well as persistent effervescence, and a dry, fabulously pure, laser-like finish, it should be drunk over the next 3-4 years.90 Points Wine SpectatorThere's a richness to this fresh Champagne, with toast, apple pastry and crystallized honey flavors. This is enlivened by well-integrated acidity and hints of lemon zest and brine, with a minerally finish. Drink now through 2012. 150 cases imported."
JOHN GILMAN 91+ POINTS - "The new release of Pierre Moncuit’s non-vintage Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (all from Mesnil fruit) is still a pretty young wine, but it has very good depth and plenty of nascent complexity and will really blossom nicely with a year or two in the bottle. The youthfully fine bouquet offers up scents of pear, delicious apple, incipient notes of pastry cream, chalky minerality, spring flowers and a delicate touch of lemon zest in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-full, bright and intensely flavored, with lovely, frothy mousse, fine focus and balance, crisp, beautifully-integrated acids, nascent complexity and fine length and grip on the elegant and still tightly-knit finish. This is not a bad drink today by any means, but it will really open up with another twelve to eighteen months of further bottle age. A fine bottle."
- Item #: i_325773Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 90JOHN GILMAN 91+ POINTS -"The new release of Pierre Moncuit’s non-vintage Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (all from Mesnil fruit) is still a pretty young wine, but it has very good depth and plenty of nascent complexity and will really blossom nicely with a year or two in the bottle. The youthfully fine bouquet offers up scents of pear, delicious apple, incipient notes of pastry cream, chalky minerality, spring flowers and a delicate touch of lemon zest in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-full, bright and intensely flavored, with lovely, frothy mousse, fine focus and balance, crisp, beautifully-integrated acids, nascent complexity and fine length and grip on the elegant and still tightly-knit finish. This is not a bad drink today by any means, but it will really open up with another twelve to eighteen months of further bottle age. A fine bottle."
This organically farmed family-run estate is situated in the famed Cote des Blancs Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger which is also home to Salon and Krug's Clos du Mesnil Champagnes. The firm has a five generation history with Alex Moncuit first planting grapes back in 1889. Today the house, which specializes exclusively in Chardonnay based Champagnes (i.e. Blanc de Blancs), has 20 acres of vines all situated in Le Mesnil. The family tends their plots without the use of pesticides and herbicides and all the fruit is hand-harvested and sorted. Each parcel is vinified separately to optimize blending. All of the wines are fermented and raised in tank, the goal being to enhance contact with the lees. Malolactic fermentation is allowed to happen naturally and the Moncuits never filter or chapitalize. The base vintage for this Brut is 2010 with about 20% reserve added from 2009. Approximately 30% of the cuvée was aged in neutral oak.
- Item #: i_375811Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92James Suckling: 94Wine Enthusiast: 93 PointsJAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Reminiscent of a great Puligny with bubbles! A selection of four early ripening parcels from Avize. Very expressive flesh and weight, followed by an assertive core of deep set fruit. Toasty hazelnuts and autolysis warmth across lemon, grapefruit and nectarine. The palate has a smooth, playfully tart yet ripe feel. A very seductive, caressing finish. Drink now."
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "A mouthwatering Champagne that's well-meshed and elegant, setting expressive notes of golden raisin, pineapple pâte de fruit, slivered almond and pickled ginger on a finely detailed, satiny texture. Smoky finish. Drink now through 2026."
- Item #: i_376522Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 93WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS- " Beautifully balanced and refined in texture, this displays exotic ground spice and floral accents to the flavors of poached white peach, Meyer lemon and candied ginger, with hints of pastry and honey. Offers a lasting, mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2023. 2,917 cases imported."
- Item #: i_378109Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Wine Spectator: 92Yes, we are featuring another astonishing Champagne sourced from a walled Côte de Blancs vineyard. This Varnier Fanniere expression is from a single parcel with 77-year-old vines called "Clos du Grand Père" located next to the viticultrual school in Avize. It is situated on flatter land that is endowed with a particular deep bed of chalk. This “St. Denis” is the best bottle of Varnier-Fanniere we have ever had, and importer Terry Theise calls it the single greatest value in his extensive portfolio. Peter Liem of Champagneguide.net, writes: “This edition is 60 percent 2009 and 40 percent 2008, and it seems to combine the best of both vintages: there’s a rich body and depth that’s very 2009, but this is also underlined by tense acidity and a sleek, energetic structure. Above all, it’s infused by an intense chalkiness, which contributes to its overall sense of refinement and finesse. Last tasted: 3/14. 2 ½ Stars.”
- Item #: i_325383Bottle Size: 750MLThis multi-vintage Blanc de Blancs is composed largely of grapes (average vine age is 42 years) from Les Monts Ferrés, an area on the northern side of Vertus towards Le Mesnil-sur-Oger where thin soils sit atop a deep base of chalk and a southeast exposure affords a greater expression of fruit. Fourny's wines generally exhibit more overt body and richness (gras) than those of his neighbors. This has become more apparent in recent years as he has extended the duration of less contact with batonage after the first fermentation. Ample poise and vivacity is maintained by blending in 25% non-malolactic wine. This Blanc de Blancs is based on the 2010 vintage combined with 20% of oak (4-15 years old) aged reserve lots drawn from 2009 and 2008. Here oak is not use as flavoring agent but is employed as a means of micro oxygenation to enhance the wine's mineral flavors. This moderately priced Champagne impresses with it fresh, deep seated aromas of spicy apple pie filling, tangerine, and white peaches. At once harmonious and lip-smacking, the palate possesses nicely focused orchard and saline flavors that are accented with almond, fennel and citrus tones in the finish.
While now technically a negociant house, Veuve Fourny still embodies the spirit of a small grower estate. The lion's share of the firm's grapes are drawn from vines owned by themselves or by their extended family. Furthermore all their fruit is sourced from their home village of Vertus. Co-proprietor Emmanuel Fourny says, "The Chardonnay here has more of a Pinot Noir richness to it, which enables us to create blends exclusively from Chardonnay that can be complete."