Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday Night Bubbles

2002 Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Gastronome, $40, Terry Theise Selections / Michael Skurnik Wines. With 25 hectares of vineyards in the Côte de Blancs, the Gimonnet estate in Cuis might be considered rather large for a grower/producer. And there are indeed quite a handful of wines in the lineup representing blends from many parcels in Cramant, Chouilly, and Cuis. There is a NV Blanc de Blancs and an interesting series of vintage Cuvées including the non-dosage Oenophile, Fleuron, and Paradoxe - so named because it includes 50% Pinot Noir, the only Gimonnet wine that includes Pinot. There are also Special Club and "Vintage Collection" wines that tend to be old vines cuvées.

The wine we drank is another vintage wine called Cuvée Gastronome. As you might guess from its name, this wine is crafted with an eye towards eating. In its finished state is it only around 4 bars of pressure, whereas most Champagne is about 6 bars. This is achieved by adding less sugar (maybe 20 grams instead of the traditional 24) to the bottle for the secondary fermentation. This wine has less mousse than most Champagne - although it is unquestionably sparkling wine, it is less sparkling than most. It should theoretically have less of a "bubble attack" on the palate, making it easier to harmonize with food.
This wine was disgorged in May of 2007. There are rich roast nuts on the nose, very linear and controlled aromas. The nose expands to include floral notes, delicate and with great finesse. Good acidity supports the delicate flavors of toasty nuts, vanilla cream, and chalky minerals that extend through the finish, with lingering fragrance. Funny though - the light fish soup that we had with the wine basically overpowered the delicate flavors. Low pressure or no, this wine is a delicate beauty, and might be overwhelmed by all but the simplest of white fish dishes, or the freshest of young goat cheeses. I think it works best as an aperitif. You could wait on it if you have some, as it will probably improve with a few more years in the bottle. The current release is the 2004 vintage, which I thought was quite nice at the Terry Theise tasting this past fall.


Unknown said...

Unfortunately, i think the paradoxe is only made for the American market. would have been interested in a taste since he pure a blanc de blanc producer. Love him very much though, especially his standard brut and the beautiful fleuron 2002. I live at a 3 hours drive from Reims/Epernay, but it seems harder for me to get a hand of the stuff you can find in the states...
Merry Christmas BG

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great description. What sort of meal would you pair this wine with?

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Brooklynguy said...

hey werner j - only for the american market sounds scary. there's probably a whole load of dosage in there or something. what do you do in France? thanks for the merry, right back at you.

hi geoff - my pleasure. food pairing is tough here because i found the wine to be of a delicate character. maybe something like a white fleshed fish with simple butter/almond sauce? keep it delicate.

Vinogirl said...

I'm a little late for your Bubbles post this week, one word...Christmas. Great post as usual. Love the fact that this wine was fairly recently disgorged, always gives a brighter, upfront component.

With regard to your 'Stem or no Stem', what a vast subject to take on, on just a blog. Hugely diverse approaches to this; from just using bundles of destemmed rachis as a press aid to buying a machine like the 'Mistral' (by Vaucher-Beguet), intended to remove every last bit of dichasia possible, there will be people on either side of the fence that will swear their way is the only way...when truly all techniques are just stylistic gymnastics...and each winemaker can be as nimble as he/she wants to be.