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One of the most serious English Sparkling producers. This historic estate has been in the Goring family since 1743. The tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted on a steep south-facing chalk escarpment described as 'similar to the Côte des Blancs' in Champagne. The fruit is picked very selectively with quality being the absolute focus. The grapes are pressed gently using a traditional Coquard press. After three years on the lees this wine, composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 22% Pinot Meunier, is hand disgorged and balanced with a minimal dosage of just 4g/L. It has a fine counterbalance between toasty richness and power from the wines élevage in Burgundian French Oak barrels, with racy acidity, tension and a focused chalky minerality.

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Entries in Pinot Meunier (11)

Friday
Oct122012

Champagne Friday: The “New” Charles Reserve

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

The “New” Charles Reserve

It is not often that I get as excited as this by "big house" Champagne. Comparing the "new" Charles Heidsieck Reserve (which premiers today) to the "old" Charles Heidsieck Reserve made a huge impression on me. These are great wines- both of them- and the new Charles is the most exciting new release from a big house in many years. The new Charles is a must try, and it is a great opportunity to compare the new to the old while we still have the last batch in stock.

On August 27th I had the pleasure of meeting with and interviewing Cecile Bonnefond, the CEO of Charles and Piper Heidsick. Cecile is not new to running Champagne houses- she ran Veuve Clicquot for eight years before moving over to Charles and Piper Heidsieck. Her first great piece of work is the release of a new Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne. It has gone up in price, but instead of citing “increased global demand” or “increasing grape prices from greedy growers” or “a weak dollar” this Champagne has costly improvements to the wine itself. First of all, the number of vineyard sites for the Reserve has been cut in half, leaving only what they feel is the very best going into the blend. Also, the average age of the reserve wines has gone up significantly. You can hear Cecile explain it in her own words here in this clip from the interview.

The old label Charles Heidsieck has always been great, and we still have some in stock at the "old" price of $34.99! The old label Charles Heidsieck has always been great, and we still have some left. This is a fantastic opportunity for any Champagne lover to compare the two cuvee’s side by side and see the difference that this great house has made. Once the old cuvee that we have is gone, it is gone for good.

Charles Heidsieck NEW "Brut Reserve" Champagne ($44.99) It is funny to call this the “new” Charles when it actually has more old wine in it! The first difference between this wine and the old label is that is made from just 60 vineyard sites in Champagne rather than the previous 120. It is still composed of a third each Chardonnay, Meunier and Pinot Noir and includes 40% reserve wines that average 10 years of age, up from the 8 year average previously. This Charles has more of the depth and power that fans of the Charles have come to love, but also much more freshness and elegance- a coup for a wine that is actually older. This is a great bottle multi-vintage Champagne for the price and a testament to the blenders art.

Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne ($34.99) Warning- this is the last of the old cuvee of Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne . This bottle is made 40% of reserve wine and these reserve wines are what really sets Charles Heidsieck apart, they average 8 years old and have elements going back as far as 15 years. The patience to curate this solera of old wines gives the wine texture and complexity rarely encountered in grand marque Champagne, especially at this price. The wine is composed of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier and is all vinified in stainless steel tanks with full malolactic fermentation. When I visited we tasted vin clair from all over Champagne- they own 150 acres and contract many more. If you love a toasty, rich style of Champagne with lots of complexity this is a very good choice. I expect it will sell for just under $50 when this batch runs out.

A toast to you,

Gary 

 To watch the rest of the interview click here.

Friday
Jun082012

Champagne Friday: Michel Loriot

 

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Michel Loriot and his family cultivate 17.5 acres in the village of Festigny in the western part of the valley of the Marne. He produces 60,000 bottles per year from this estate which is planted 85% to Meunier, 16% to Chardonnay and 4% to Pinot Noir. His family has been cultivating here for five generations and made their first wine in 1931.

Michel is so well respected in the area that he was elected as the president of the Independent Vignerons of Champagne. Although Michel has invested extensively in the latest, most expensive computer cotrolled diaganol Coquard presses, he has chosen to stay with enamel lined iron for his fermentations. He blocks the malolactic for freshness, and ages his wines for a long time- 3 years on the lees for his entry level, with 50% reserve wines from the two previous harvests.

His wines have great natural richness and texture, and are very clean. I cannot overstate the value that these wines represent! 

Michel Loriot "Cuvee Reserve" Brut Champagne ($29.99; $65.99 magnum

"This is medium- to full-bodied Champagne and makes great drinking on its own as well as being fantastic with patés of all sorts."

 

 

 

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99)

"This has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place. This is a must for every Champagne lover--don't knock it because it is sweet!"

 

 

2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne ($44.99)

"This Loriot is medium bodied and fine and the nutty palate gives way to a fresh, lifted finish. Michel Loriot makes great wine, and this 2005 vintage is another great example. I find it to be the most effortless, elegant Meunier based Champagne that I have ever tasted, and a real contrast to the powerful style of his great Meunier Old Vine."

 

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Browse our complete Champagne offering on KLWines.com and check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

 

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