The Champagne buying job here at K&L has to be one of the best jobs in the whole world. It is such a pleasure to get to work with producers that make such incredibly good wine and are also so incredibly nice. Elisabeth Goutorbe is one of those people. She comes from a long line of vignerons in the village of Ay, and her father still makes wine under the grandfathers name; Henri Goutorbe. When I first visited in 2007, they had never had a US importer visit. That very week they had four! Terry Thiese ended up getting the Henri Goutorbe line, and K&L got the Elisabeth Goutorbe line. We were both lucky.
This batch is actually the very last batch we will receive under her name, as they are switching to her husband’s Jean Maries’s name, Egrot, to avoid confusion with the Henri Goutorbe line. They have already made this change in France, but I managed to get one last batch under the Elisabeth Goutorbe name for the holidays since December is not a good month to change names. They purchased a new winery and caves last year, but the stuff that we have for sale was made at the Henri Goutorbe facility, and will continue to be for a number of years to come because of the long ageing of the wines.
The two of them own six hectares of vines, but are currently only keeping one or two hectares of the fruit to make their own wine. They sell the rest off to a roll call of famous negociants. The production is tiny- around 10,000 bottles a year, and besides Jean-Marie and Elisabeth they only have one full time worker. These are super Champagne’s at very fair prices. This is what we have:
Elisabeth Goutorbe "Cuvée Éclatante" Brut Champagne $34.99: This is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir from the grand cru of Ay and 20% Chardonnay from the 1er cru of Louvois. The wine is composed of 70% from a 2008 base and 30% is reserves from 2007. It is dosed very lightly at only 8 grams per liter. The Pinot comes through on the nose with very pretty candied cherry interlaced with fresh baked bread. On the palate it has a lot of body, firm, dry black cherry fruit, and tons of savory, masculine Pinot Noir flavors. It has a good finish with a line of chalky minerality that is uncommon in Pinot Noir-based Champagnes, but the signature of Ay grand cru.
2009 Elisabeth Goutorbe Extra Brut Champagne $39.99: This 100% Ay grand cru Champagne is composed of 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay all from the family estate. Although the Champagne has no dosage whatsoever, it is still full and rich. It has a great nose of baguette toast, cream and some of that famous Ay chalk. The finish is long, clean and very dry, but not too strict.
The next time we get these Champagne’s in, they will be labeled as Egrot et Filles. Enjoy the last of the wines with Elisabeth’s name on them!
A toast to you!