2007 Champ Alouette Extra Brut Grand Cru Le Mesnil

Grapes Chardonnay
Colour White
Origin France, Champagne
Village Le Mesnil
Classification Grand Cru
ABV 13%

100% Chardonnay from the lieu-dit of Champ d'Alouette in grand cru Mesnil-sur-Oger. Tirage May 2008, disgorged May 2022. Dosage 2 g/l. 14 years sur lattes!
Very exciting, from the first catch of breath, which smells like fresh, spring-dark fennel fronds picked and crushed between fingers. There is something compelling about this wine. The compact purity of the fruit, the density of flavour adjacent to and through the elegance of its structure, its strength, its supple resilience. White strawberries, Cape gooseberries, greengage. Tiny tiny bubbles. Mint and piercing coolness, and so much pepper. Life is pulsing urgently through this extraordinary wine.
Drinking range: 2024 - 2035 Rating: 18 Tamlyn Currin - www.JancisRobinson.com (May 2024)

*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles of wine (or 9 litre equivalent) or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified (4.5 litres) to get the discounted 'case price' for each bottle.

The vines are grown on chalk soils across 0.4 ha in Le Mesnil sur Oger. The grapes are all hand-harvested, from this south-facing plot in the middle of the slope, with average yields of 9,000kg/ha. The grapes are pressed, racked and vinified entirely in old casks. The wine was bottled seven months after harvest and has spent 11 years on lees. Classic Le Mesnil, uncompromising, fierce even, this is a beauty that will age for a long time. L&S (May 2023)

100% chardonnay from Champ d’Alouette, 0.4 hectares in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; bottled May 2008; fermented and aged 6 months in older barrels; no malolactic fermentation; aged 14 years on lees; disgorged May 2022; 2g/L dosage; fewer than 1200 bottles

This is a rich and generous take on the 2007 harvest in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, boasting a full straw-yellow hue that anticipates voluptuous complexity. At 16 years of age it relishes in the bountiful flavours and textures of barrel maturation and long lees age, with a creamy, buttery softness that reflects depth of allusions of crème pâtissière, honey on toast, fruit mince spice, tarte tatin and preserved lemon. Yet for all this it upholds accurate precision of lemon, ripe peach and white nectarine.

The house style of blocking malolactic fermentation works to strong effect here, the tangy acidity of the season uniting with the chalk minerality of the village to set out a long finish of energy and cut, preserved in its full tension thanks to miniscule dosage. Impressive now, with no suggestion of fading any time soon! Tasted in 2023
Rating: 94 Tyson Stelzer - The Champagne Guide (Jul 2024)

Champagne Gonet-Médeville

Xavier has twelve hectares in total, spread across eight villages. There are three Grands Crus, Le Mesnil sur Oger, Oger and Ambonnay, as well as five Premiers Crus, Mareuil sur Ay, Bisseuil (where he has a substantial 4.8 hectare plot), Billy Le Grand, Trépail and Vaudemange.

In 1996 Xavier met Julie Médeville (of the Bordeaux family which owns the Graves Château Respide Médeville and the Sauternes Château Gilette) at a tasting in Reims, and they married the following year. Xavier set out on a path to quality from the moment he was in charge in 2000, and is keen to emphasise what he does and does not do. "One press makes nine barrels - and it all goes into barrel, all divided according to the parcels it comes from.", he says, "no malo, no chaptalisation, no filtration, and the wines are left in barrel to stabilise. The red wines are properly red. The non-vintages are around 70-80% of the current year, with up to 30% reserves, normally just 20% of the previous year and 10% of the year before that."

Our first visit here was a joy, seeing the vineyard in Bisseuil, which is all in one block, on a sunny south-facing slope, which is perfect for achieving full ripeness. The tasting after so much anticipation is always an anxious moment on both sides, but the 'Tradition' does not let him down - indeed it sets the bar very high - simply delicious, and we both know that we are on the right track. The Rosé both surprises and delights because it is so different - almost all Chardonnay except the the red used for colour, it is a sprightly apéritif rosé. The micro-cuvées that make up the rest of the range are the stuff of future legend, rare, but worth seeking out.

"What made me want to make Champagne was wines from '29, '45, '55, '59, '61, '64 - I want to make wines like that", says Xavier. You need have no fear of cellaring these wines to see how they evolve, however delicious they are now.

This wine isn't currently part of a mixed case, but you can always browse our full selection of mixed cases here.
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