2009 Théophile Rosé Extra Brut Grand Cru
Cuvée Théophile is what Xavier calls the blend of his two single varietal Grand Crus, which he only does when he thinks the vintage merits it. 2009 is the first time they have made a Theophile Rosé. 2g/l dosage. Now being from the ripe 2009 vintage you might expect this to be on the heavy side, but of course it isn't; bright and tart and rich all at once, with flavours of red fruit exalted by lemony freshness. Totally gourmand. L&S (Jul 2018)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
Aromatic tea rose and spice notes accent the pure fruit flavors of white cherry and apricot in this elegant rosé Champagne, which is lightly mouthwatering and balanced, with hints of smoke, mineral, saffron and orange zest on the lingering finish. Drink now through 2029. Drinking range: 2020 - 2029 Rating: 93 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator (Sep 2020)
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.
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