Wine writing by Stas Medvedev

Peculiar champagnes

Quite a peculiar champagne tasting we had yesterday

Duval-Leroy Petit Meslier 1998 (93pts)

It is the only Cuvée in Champagne produced with this extremely rare single variety. 1998 was their 1st vintage. Fruit comes from a vineyard in Venteuil in the Vallée de la Marne. Duval-Leroy produce less than 1K btls of this cuvee.

It showed developed amber color. Attack of ripe, even exotic fruits, floral and fully supported by fruity palate. Oxidative style develops with mature cheese and some mildew. Surprisingly sweet on the palate which is a signature of Petit Meslier. Not sure about the dosage. It is indicated as Brut. Honey and was final. Definitely a discovery of the night. It was very friendly and inviting. Maybe too much for me.

Fleury “Cuveé Robert Fleury” Extra Brut 2004 (93+pts)

Brioche and cream aromas seasoned with linen seeds. Very reserved and reductive in the beginning. Vivid minerality: iodine. Wine is at perfect balance, elegant on the nose and rather rich with depth on the palate.

Fleury claim to be the first producer in Champagne to go biodynamic. At some point of time they were the largest biodynamic winemaker in the region with more than 15ha planted. Certified Demeter.

☝️The peculiarity of this cuvee is its unorthodox wine making. Fermented in old neutral oak barrels a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.

Benoit-Lahaye Brut Nature Le Jardin de la Grosse Pierre 2010 (91pts)

Golden hue. Intense powerful aromas. Brut Nature. Lively, high acidity. Very vibrant. Low on a sulphur. Too sharp. Watermelon finish, but unfortunately quite short.

☝️This cuvee is a field blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Arbanne, Chasselas, Petit Meslier , Gros Plant, Teinturier and other varieties. Some of those are not longer allowed in the appellation. But this rule applies to the new plantings only. But in case of Benoit-Lahaye it’s not the issue as their vineyard was planted as early as in 1923 in Grand Cru village of Bouzy in the Montagne de Reims region. So some of the vines are 90+ years old which is a rarity in Champagne.

Champagne Tasting
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