Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Champagne Robert Doyard Cuvée Vendémiaire Extra Brut, price unknown, not imported to the US. For reasons that I still do not entirely understand, Peter Liem thought that it wasn't enough to let me tag along on his recent Burgundy trip. He felt he should also give me a bottle of very fine Champagne to take home, something that I would not be able to buy in the US. I know that it can be annoying to read about wine that you cannot purchase, but please bear with me this time. There are some interesting things about this wine that make it worth sharing, and eventually, I'm sure some one will bring it into the US, so you can try it then if you like.

I really don't know much about Doyard so I'll share some tasting notes first in the hopes of distracting you from my lack of contextual knowledge. There are fine and delicate aromas of citrus fruit and minerals in a way that reminds me of Larmandier-Bernier's Terre de Vertus. Not surprising, given the similarities between the two wines. The Doyard estate is located in Vertus, and at least some of the grapes in this wine come from vineyards there. Both are non-dosé Blanc de Blancs that rely on clean vineyard work and ripe fruit, and that are aged long enough to qualify for vintage status, but instead are blended with reserve wines. With some airtime the aromas become more defined and nuanced, and there is a lovely honeycomb character lurking in the background (and this is a non-dosé wine!) .

The foreground, however, is a wall of granite and chalk with almost painfully intense minerals. There is fruit, but in the end this, to me, is not a fruit driven wine. I liked the way this wine is not terribly delicate, yet it is not very rich either. It floats somewhere in the middle. This is a Blanc de Blancs of great purity and expression of place, and it delivers pleasure, but I wouldn't bother pouring it for someone who isn't already in love with Champagne - they might not make it past the rocky wall. This is an intensely vinous Champagne and I think, a challenging Champagne. In a good way.
Here is the little bit of context I can offer. Yannick Doyard selects only the best grapes for the Doyard wines and sells the rest to the négoce. The wine is vinified in barrel, blended with reserve wines, and aged for a long time before disgorgement. This bottle, for example, I believe is a blend of the 1997 and 1998 vintages. Less sugar than is typically used for fermentation is added in order to create a wine of lower pressure.

This is a wine that I would love to drink again, preferably in France, preferably on a sunny and breezy day on the Normandy coast with exactly two other people (so that we each get a bit more than one glass), and preferably with a plate of raw oysters. If ever there were a Champagne that is a perfect match for oysters, it is this one.

5 comments:

sadams62 said...

sounds lovely..my go to wine for oysters is Tarlant Zero. Any idea of the price of this champagne in France? i will be in Champage in a couple of months and looking to bring back champagne that I cannot get in US. Would you reccomend this as "suitcase worthy"?

michele colline said...

Le Revue du Vin de France shows it at 22euro...

Gene said...

It seems that Wine Library in New Jersey carries it. Am I wrong? Their picture is clearly this cuvee.

Brooklynguy said...

sadams - not necessary, as apparently you can buy it here in the states. these are more expensive, but are without question suitcase worthy: Vouette et Sorbeé Blanc d'Argile or Boulard's Les Rachais.

Thanks Michele Colline for the info.

Gene - you too, i appreciate it.

Head of Lab said...

Vinfolio had some of Gautherot's wines recently. Maybe save the suitcase for Leclapart.