Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs, $38, Petit Pois/Sussex Wine Merchants. There are many non-vintage Blanc de Blancs out there at higher prices that do not deliver the goods as this wine does. That said, I think the price is now in the mid $40's in NYC, anyway. Even at that price, this is one of the finer non-vintage Blanc de Blancs that I've had.

My first experience with Diebolt-Vallois was a flawed bottle and maybe because of that I've been slower to warm to this producer than I might otherwise have been. Silly me. The more I drink, the more I understand that Diebolt-Vallois makes a truly fine Blanc de Blancs. I've never tasted their top wines, the Fleur de Passion or the Prestige, but that will hopefully change when I visit the estate in a couple of weeks.

This wine is so gentle, so graceful. It has a kick, but a gentle one. It begins with racy citrus fruit and a mouth filling fragrance of lady's perfume, spreads out and reveals a fine chalky base, and finishes sparkling clean with a lingering blend of fruit and chalk. The overall effect is perfectly balanced and quite luxurious. This is a wine that can make you feel good about yourself.
The wine that this most reminds me of is José Dhont's Blanc de Blanc, and I say this understanding that Dhont is in Oger and Diebolt-Vallois uses fruit from Cramant, Cuis, Chouilly, and Epernay. Maybe if I were to taste them side by side I wouldn't think so, but my memory of the feeling of Dhont's wine is similar to this: graceful, feminine, highly perfumed and elegant, something to luxuriate in.

Buried on the lower right side of the front label, stamped and only faintly visible, there is an "06." I assume this indicates the wine was bottled in 2006 and based on the 2005 harvest, possibly with some reserve wines too. My assumption is based on Peter Liem's post about the Cuvée Prestige, and the formula he discusses might not be the same for the Blanc de Blancs. Wouldn't it be great if Champagne labels always contained information about vintage and disgorgement date?


Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't it be great if Champagne labels always contained information about vintage and disgorgement date?"

Oh, yes. So why don't the importers insist on this? Oh, because it's to their advantage not to.

David McDuff said...


Referring to my notes from a visit with Diebolt in 2004, the estate holds back as much as 60% of each vintage's wine for blending in future years. The BdB NV we tasted from tank in Feb '04 was made up of 45% 2003, 40% 2002 and 15% 2001. While the proportions will certainly change from bottling to bottling, the three-year blend is the typical approach at the estate for both the BdB NV and the BdB Prestige.


PS: my verification word was "ellya."