Few Champagne’s that we carry are as well loved as the wines from Champagne Franck Bonville. We have been working with Olivier Bonville and his wines for more than a dozen years now, and many of you have been to Avize to visit him, or met him at our tent events. Olivier’s property is an enviable one; over 50 acres, all planted to Chardonnay and exclusively Grand Cru in the villages of Oger, Mesnil and Avize. His wines sell faster than any other producer that we carry, big or small, and for good reason. They are pure class.
We have been getting a great allocation of the Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($69.99 750ml, $139 magnum) since the beginning- we were the first customer for this wine. It is Olivier Bonville’s baby, and he makes it the same way that his grandfather made Champagne. It is all ancient vine, massal selected juice from a 1 and ¾ acre parcel in the grand cru of Oger called the Belles Voyes. All of the wine is matured in 225 liter Burgundy barrels before being bottled. For those of you who have not tried it, the Belles Voyes is simply one of our best Champagnes at any price. It has the power, breadth and richness that reminds me of top white Burgundy and the near infinite chalk drive that can only come from the best sites in Champagne. It is a must try for any true fan of Champagne. The current shipment is the last of the 2008 base in 750’s, and the last of the 2004 in magnum.
The smallest production Champagne at Bonville is the Franck Bonville Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($39.99). It is exactly the same wine as the vintage, in this case the 2009, but the very last disgorgement run and dosed at only 2.5g/l. All of the fruit comes from Avize, and mostly from older parcels. This is the ultimate shellfish Champagne with its strict, linear, bone dry profile. It is embarrassing how much of our allocation of this I drink myself… I love it with sushi! The wine gains the Grand Cru richness with a bit of food, and is as clean as whistle!
The Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($44.99) is the “insiders” bottling in his range. He gives this all Avize Chardonnay four years of ageing on the lees, and it is his creamiest, most open knit offering. We only get a small amount; most of it goes to restaurants in the Champagne region. This is a great aperitif as it is loaded with the bracing minerality that we love the Cote de Blancs for, but also enough richness to drink on its own.
Olivier has nothing but Chardonnay on his estate, so he trades to get a little red wine to make his Franck Bonville Brut Rosé Champagne ($39.99). This Champagne is 92% Chardonnay from the estate with 8% Ambonnay rouge from super star grower Paul Dethune added for rose flavor and color. The intensity of the Pinot Noir is such that it seems like much more than just 8%! If it wasn’t for the blanc de blanc base, this wine would only be suitable for pairing with duck or pigeon, but the fresh Chardonnay brings everything into perfect balance.
All Champagne producers should be judged on their entry level wine, and Olivier’s is as good as they get. We have the Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne in 750ml ($34.99), half bottle ($18.99) and magnum ($69.99). The current batch is based on 2012 and has 50% reserve wines from 2010 and 2009. The entire 2011 production was used as base wine for the last batch, and they didn’t save any as reserves. This is always the fastest non-vintage Champagne to sell out… So get it while we have it! The nose is effusive, with baguette, white flowers and a nice salinity, while the flavors have a fine balance of white fruit, cream and precise Avize chalk. It is dosed at 8.3 grams per liter and is very, very long finishing. Don't miss this.
A toast to you!