After a too long hiatus, the Champagnes of Claude Giraud are once again available in California. This is great news as he crafts some of the most vinous, individualistic wines in Champagne and the house has earned an avid cult following in France. His "Code Noir" is probably our favorite bottling as it best typifies the firm's full throttle, masculine style. It's 100% Pinot Noir from the Grand Cru village of Aÿ and was vinified in new Argonne forest barrels. This Champagne impresses with the way the oak is seamlessly fused with the wine's deep-seated red fruit and mineral flavors. An exciting, grand Champagne all on its own, but one that would be out of this world when paired with a Christmas goose or other savory holiday fare.