Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Night Bubbles

NV Moutard Père & Fils Brut Brut Rosé Cuvaison, $34, Polaner Selections. Some of the best values in Champagne are coming out of the Côte des Bar in the Aube, the southern most region that's closer to north-east Chablis than it is to Reims. With some exceptions, these tend to be red grape dominant wines. The whole area was until somewhat recently summarily dismissed and the grapes and/or juice sold to the négoce houses. More and more growers in the Aube now bottle their own wine, often times with fantastic results.

Perhaps the biggest star currently is Cedric Bouchard, and although his wines are a value in the sense that they are phenomenal wines, they are not cheap. Some producers, however, are making wines that are priced at the low end of the grower Champagne spectrum, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how great they can be. One of them, Pierre Brigandat, was featured here a few weeks ago. Another leader in the area is Moutard. Moutard is technically a négoce in that at least 5% of the grapes used to make their wines are purchased from other growers. I don't know exactly how much they purchase, but I don't believe it's much more than that.

Moutard makes a superb non-vintage Brut that retails for no more than $35, less than that if you're in the right store. They also make two highly unusual wines that feature the three "other" Champagne grapes: Arbanne, Pinot Blanc, and Petit Meslier. Check out Peter Liem's post for more on these. There are two rosés, the Prestige which is produced by adding still red wine to the blend, and this wine, the Cuvaison, which is made using the saignée method by which the wine stays in contact with the skins for a period of time before the juice is bled off. Peter tells me that Cuvaison is more of a rosé de macération than a saignée, but he would have to explain the difference to you. I find that I prefer rosés of Champagne that are made using the saignée method. They just feel more alive to me, more vibrant. And this wine is no exception.

This wine is truly lovely, such a fantastic value at this price. It has rich mineral-infused fruit aromas, quite vinous and intense. The nose is fresh and pretty, not overly exuberant, more about elegance and finesse. Same on the palate - it is ripe and delicious with mineral and earthy fruit, good acidity and balance, and the finish leaves a gently spicy fruit fragrance. The overall effect is one of poise and restraint, which might be atypical among rosés de saignée, but I think it works perfectly here. This wine is an absolute pleasure, one that I would buy again and pour for anyone. And it has a great photo on the cork-top.
Although there is no disgorgement date listed, there is a small code that reads "LBR 06 - 05/08." I interpret that to mean it was based on the 2005 vintage, bottled in 2006, and disgorged in May of 2008. But I could be wrong, and it would be great if Polaner and the other importers out there would demand that the producers include this information on their labels.


Vinotas said...

Ooooh I love Moutard's Rose. Fantastic quality-to-price ration too.

Brooklynguy said...

hey michel - me too. not many carry it though, only the fine heights chateau in brooklyn, that i know of anyway.