Champagne Selection for the end of the year

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are fast approaching … And your delicious and gourmet dishes need some bubbly company. Iodic, fresh, woody, buttery, complex, ,…Not matter what you are looking for, there is always a place where you can find the champagne to fit your taste and to match your menu. Here is a list of suggestion of champagnes for successful end of year celebrations…

Champagnes – Extra-Brut, Rosé and more

To pair the aperitive, oyesters, lobsters or other iodic dishes but to go with the poultry or some games…

BRUT NATURE from Champagne Henriet-Bazin
The iodic and mineral one

Since 1991, Marie-Noëlle – 5th generation – picked up the torch in a dignified way of the family estate with her husband, Nicolas Rainon. Together, they look after the 7.75 hectares of the Domain, spread-over the north-east side of the Montagne de Reims. Their 35 plots are located in the villages of Verzenay, Verzy and Villers-Marmery as well as Faverolles-et-Coëmy. For Marie-Noëlle and Nicolas, passion, terroir and time are essential to craft great wines. This is the reason why the winegrowers chose a rigorous organic approach to allow the diversity and the individuality of their soils – chalk, silt, sand, clay, pebbles, gravels… – to express themselves through their champagnes.
This Brut Nature is a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir made from grapes exclusively from the harvest 2009 and Premier Cru villages : Villers-Marmery, Verzy and Verzenay. The absence of any dosage allow to highlight elegantly both the structure of the wine and the minerality from terroir made of a subsoil of pure chalk and chalk gravels as well as a soil of clayey and fine silt. The wines aged not less than 8 years on lees in the cellar of the estate in order to express all the individuality of this vintage.
The color is light golden with yellow and light green hints. The nose is pure, fresh and mineral expressing ripe fruit and roasted bread notes. The palate is elegant, frank and fresh with expressive yellow fruit and dried fruit aromas highlighted by a delicate bitterness of grapefruit and iodic notes on the finish. A frank and mineral wine. Suit perfectly iodic dishes but can escort you through your celebration dinners.

ROSÉ DE SAIGNÉE from Champagne Robert-Barbichon
The rosé one

Thomas and Maxime Barbichon represents the 4 generation of growers at the head of this family estate located on the terroirs of the Côte des Bar. This passionate and humble winemaker takes care of nine hectares spread on 5 villages around Gyé sur Seine on clay and limestone soils. The vineyard has been farmed for a decade under organic viticulture and the step of the biodynamic approach has been made a few harvest later, a viticulture combined with a rigorous method of vinification in order to express what nature provided between the individuality of the terroirs and the elegance of the grape variety.
The Rosé of the estate is made of 100% Pinot Noir macerated on the skins – 2 to 3 days. The wines are aged in stainless still tanks and 3 years on lees. The 6g/L dosage highlights elegantly the structure and the character of this champagne.
The color is a volcanic and blazing red. The nose is intense and develops small red berries and cherry aromas with complex notes.  The palate is creamy, ample and mineral. It offers generous crunchy notes of red fruits – raspberry and redcurrant but cherry stone as well. The finish lasts with an impressive freshness and minerality elegantly highlighted with spicy and vinous notes as well as a delicate bitterness with almond and rhubarb notes. A wine with a lot of potential for food-pairings : oysters and crustaceans as well as sweetbread, hazelnuts Christmas cake. Notes for the beginning of 2019 that it also works perfectly with the Epiphany cake.

BLANC DE BLANC 2010 from Champagne Suenen
The Chardonnay one

Winegrower in the Côtes des blancs, Aurélien Suenen is managing with passion and humility his family estate. The vineyard of Champagne Suenen is spread over five hectares and various crus offering different individuality to winemaker : Cramant, Chouilly as well as Oiry with their Campenian chalk terroir for the Chardonnay, Montigny-sur-Vesle and its terroirs of sand, clay and silt for Pinot Noir and Meunier along with Chardonnay. Through his meticulous and respectful approach, he is letting his terroir express their essence to let the palates of champagne lovers and connoisseurs  travel through his land.  This is the reason why the winegrower pay a particular attention to his heritage and the soil of his vineyard but apply a respectful method both for the viticulture and the vinification. Aurélien produces elegant wines with a lot of freshness, elegance and minerality of course.
This Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs cuvées has been disgorged with only 3,5 gr/L in order to obtain a perfectly balance wine. The wine base of this 100% champagne is from 2010 blended with reserve wines from both 2008 and 2009 harvest. Aurélien chose to express the individuality of the Côtes des Blancs area by assembling all his Chardonnay plots
The color is golden with silver hints. The nose is elegant, frank and fresh expressing the finesse of the chalky terroirs of the Côtes des Blancs. The palate offers an impressive minerality highlighted with delicate vinous notes. A generous and frank wine with lemon aromas as well as verbena flower and acidulous notes. Try it with the poultry of your choice and its chestnuts. Its minerality can match perfectly nobles fishes and the cheese platers. 

LA RUE DES NOYERS from Champagne Benoit Déhu
The woody one

Benoît Déhu is taking care of the family estate located in the village of Fossoy, in the Vallée de la Marne. 8th generation, the winegrower looks after a total of 13 hectares but works with only 2,25 hectares spread over 2 plots for his champagnes Benoît Déhu – Rue des Noyers and a Pinot Noir parcel. Thanks to a lot of dedication and passion, a rigorous organic and biodynamic approach but also an highly precise winemaking process and his oak barrel understanding, the winemaker highlights perfectly his highly individual terroir. When he returned to the family estate, Benoît first work on the plot called Rue des Noyers : a 100% Meunier parcel made of clay with green marls terroir whereas the other offers silty soils with sandstone and flint. From this unique terroir, the winemaker produces exclusive cuvées to express all the individuality the plot has to offer.
A 100% Meunier cuvée made from grapes from Rue des Noyers plot harvested in 2014. Vinified in oak barrel of 228 liters and matured on lees during 10 months, the wine is neither fined nor filtered. The absence of dosage allow the terroir and the Meunier to express all their character.
The color is a satin golden yellow with pink gold and deep straw-colored glints. The nose is generous with brioche, linden notes and expressing a clay minerality. With aeration, it develops some honey, fruit jelly, and kumquat aromas as well as almond, mocha and vanilla notes. The well-balanced palate offers generous and a creamy effervescence with the same clay minerality and some fruit notes. The finish is expressing a distinct character with a nice vinosity. The woody character of this wine can be the perfect partner in crime of your foie gras but it can easily be paired with red meat.

SINGLE PLOT CHAILLOTS 2012 from Champagne Lacourte-Godbillon
The corky one

For Géraldine and Richard, the priority is given to the quality rather than to the quantity. Located on the sandy terroir of Ecueil, the family estate covers a total of 8 hectares managed with a viticulture following the organic principles. Together, the winegrowers take care of their vineyard and chose an highly precise approach to preserve the individuality of their parceled up vineyard pressing separately each plot, stepping in as less as possible during the vinification and giving time to the wine to express their full potential. No effort are saved for those dedicated winemakers.
2012 is one of the excellent year in Champagne : even though the quantity were could have been higher, the harvest offered a magnificent degree of ripening and a very promising sugar / acidity balance. The Chaillots 2012 vintage of Champagne Lacourte-Godbillon is 100% Pinot Noir cuvée from a single plot. Vinified in oak barrels with wood coming from Ecueil, this rare wine has been neither filtered nor fined but aged with cork after the bottling process.
The color is gold. The nose is complex with smoky and plum aromas highlighted by the minerality of the wine. The palate is expressive and generous with floral, yellow plum and fresh lemon aromas. The finish offers delicate aniseed-flavored and plum alcohol notes. A cuvée to pair with oily fishes or to escort sweetbread.

L’ECHAPPÉE BELLE from Champagne Étienne Calsac
The big size

The winegrower takes care of the 2,8 hectare family estate. The vineyard is spread over three villages : Avize and Grauves for the Côte des Blancs and Bisseuil for the Grande Vallée de la Marne. However, Etienne also have the chance to own a Clos in Avize – true rarity in Champagne. The winegrower chose the HVE certification and a sustainable viticulture for his vineyard exclusively planted in Chardonnay and with limestone and marl soils. Etienne produces champagnes with a lot of fineness and character.
A 100% Chardonnay cuvée crafted from grapes from Grauves. The vinification is made in stainless steel tanks. The wine aged 7 months on lees before the bottling. The extra-brut dosage (4g/L) allows all the freshness and generosity of the cuvée to express themselves.
The color is a light yellow with golden hints. The nose is intense and offers a lot of freshness with delicate smoky notes from the terroir expression.  The palate is fresh and frank with generous mineral notes and an elegant tautness.

197 from Champagne Perseval-Farge
The old vintage

At Champagne Perseval-Farge in Chamery, Isabelle, Benoist and their son Henry work hand in hand on the estate of the family. Together, they represent the 5th and 6th generation looking after the 4 hectares of vineyard spread over 6 lieux-dits exclusively on the village of Chamery. The estate is based on a terroir of clay and sand with vines with an average age of 30 years. Through their work, Benoist, Isabelle and Henry have at heart to protect their inheritance and in order to do so, chose an High Environmental value approach with the obtention of the certification – level 3 and the highest classification of the label.
This vintage is made exclusively from the harvest 2005 : a hot and dry year in Champagne that brought maturity and generosity to the grapes. This champagne is a blend of 55% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir and 14% Meunier.
The color is a deep gold. The nose is complex, ample and generous with roasted and dried fruit notes. The palate brings a lot of richness with tobacco and date aromas highlighted with an elegant finish that brings acidity and a delicate bitterness. A perfect good-pairing for this rare vintage is lacquered lamb shanks but for the connoisseur try it with cigar after of the meal.

LES MIGNOTTES from Champagne Pierre Paillard
The red still one

From Bouzy in the Montagne de Reims area, Antoine and Quentin manage their vineyard with a lot of humility in their quest of balance and terroir complexity for their wines. The family estate covers a total of 11 hectares in the prestigious terroir of Bouzy – well-known for his terroir of deep soils laid on secondary and tertiary chalk. For the viticulture, they implement an approach with great respect of the soil and vine balance but also a broad understanding of the vegetal material ; a sustainable method however the winegrowers do not wish to claim any label. Their philosophy : use the unique style of their terroir to make wines combining finesse, complexity and elegance.
This 100% Pinot Noir still red wine is made with grapes coming exclusively from the harvest 2012 and from old vines of 45 years old of a plot called « Les Mignottes ». Halfway down the hill and an optimal exposure of the slopes offers a beautiful fruit maturity to the grapes. Vinified 18 months in oak casks of 205 liters, the wine express the individuality of his terroir. This vintage is a confidential wine with only 2500 bottles produced.
The color is a bright intense red ruby. The nose is deep and neat with red fruits aromas. After a few minutes of aeration, it develops complex mineral and pepper notes. The palate is delicate, silky and full of finesse with a certain sweetness and brings lively, intense flavors with a fruit purity – cherry and spicy notes. The perfect image of a Pinot Noir wine coming from chalky soils. This red still wine is the perfect partner for duck or roast beef as well as poultries.

For more champagne suggestions for the celebration : click here

One last thing : pay attention to you wines !

  • Ideally, the champagne must be stored in a cellar.  The essential thing is to respect the following rules : a temperature around 10°C i.e 50°F without temperature variations, with humidity, no direct exposure to light, noise or vibration. The bottles are kept lying down so that the stopper is always in contact with the liquid.
  • Make sure you do not keep your glasses in their cardboard box: the glass being sensitive to odors it could be tainted with the cardboard smell.
  • Choose the right glass : tulip shape – a bit of wine for wines. If you do not have the right champagne glass: prefer a wine glass rather than high thin flutes. Never wash with the bladder product as it makes the wine foam.
  • Cool your champagne (bottle) at least 3 hours in advance in your fridge and what ever it takes avoid the freezer which is too brutal. The ideal temperature for your champagne is 8-10 ° C for non-vintage and 10-12 ° C for vintage but it should not be too cold or you might loose some aromas.
  • During the tasting do not forget the champagne bucket containing water and ice cubes to keep the bottle cool.
  • Champagne should be served only 2/3 of the glass, to leave plenty of room for aromas to develop.
  • In case the wine is cork-tainted, make sure you change the glasses. Indeed, this can unfortunately happen – 0 to 1% risk of cork tainted – and changing the glasses allow to avoid the bad smell in the following wine.

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