Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Tarlant Champagne Brut Zero, $42, Jon-David Headrick Selections. Just take a look at this label - I wish that all Champagne labels contained this much information. What more could you really want? I know the vintage that the wine is based on, the blend, the disgorgement date, the level of dosage, time on the lees, and more. When this information is provided, I have some context with which to frame the wine I'm drinking, something I truly appreciate as I continue to learn about Champagne.

The well designed and informative Tarlant website stands out among Champagne websites in the same way that the label stands out among Champagne back labels. So I'll give you only the barest of summaries - you can easily learn whatever you want to know (except yeast selection and production quantities, but I won't nitpick) about Tarlant on their site. I will say this: Tarlant is deeply committed to environmentally sound farming, and to creating wines that express something about their place. In most cases there is very little or no dosage. I'm not sure whether this says something about house style in wine making, or about farming and harvest dates.

Tarlant produces a broad lineup of wines, and as is typical for many grower/producers, I've seen only three of the wines here in New York. The Brut Rosé turns up every now and then, and there are a few choice retailers who carry La Vigne d'Antan, the rare Blanc de Blancs cuvée made from pre-phylloxera ungrafted rootstock. I've tasted this wine and it's utterly gorgeous, and at a bit over $75, it really is a good value. But that's another story.

The Brut Zero is a wine of power and finesse, a wine that offers a vivid sense of the chalky mineral soils on which it is grown. The nose is briny with toasty hints, notes of preserved lemon, and a definite earthiness. It is a lithe and focused nose, quite intense, and very attractive. Sheer and elegant in the mouth, this is a delicate wine that also broad and muscular. The palate is generous and very well balanced with good acidity and strong mineral and earth notes. The absence of dosage is not at all the defining element of this wine - it is well balanced and certainly quite ripe. Just a delicious wine that offers loads of pleasure, a wine that is well worth coming back to.


Anonymous said...

As you might have read Alice's latest entry, I commented about visiting Tarlant with my last March. I got a half case each of Brut Zero and Prestige 1997. I actually had their wines at Legrand Filles et Fils in the morning, for Tarlant makes their house Champagne. Their son apprenticed in Germany.

At the moment I'm sipping on some Clos Rougeard Le Clos that I purchased in Luxembourg after drinking a fine dry Saar Riesling from Lauer.

Joe Manekin said...

Neil -

These are great champagnes to age for a few years (both the brut zero and the normal brut reserve). If you can find it get the tete de cuvee, the Cuvee Louis. You won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Nice comments for Tarlant. I love that Brut Zero too! Balance, purity and as you said, ripeness which is in part what can allow for zero dosage.

Deetrane said...

Dang, that's like the Dell Computers of Champagne websites! :0)