|Grapes||Chardonnay, Pinot Noir|
The 2011 Brut Millésime Grand Cru is a very pretty wine, especially within the context of the year. Bright floral notes meld into hints of lemon confit, tangerine oil, dried flowers, sage and pastry. There is terrific freshness to the 2011, although not quite the dimension of the very best years. Even so, this is very clearly one of the finest 2011s readers will come across. I would not push my luck on aging, but there is so much to like and admire here. Francis Egly and his team clearly got the very best out of the year. Disgorged: July, 2020. Drinking range: 2020 - 2028 Rating: 94 Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate (Nov 2020)
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Francis Egly is the current fourth-generation head of Ambonnay Champagne grower-producer Egly-Ouriet. He is against 'vins stereotypés', believing that his mission is 'to please but also to surprise', and insisting that 'the biggest mistake in Champagne is to go against nature'.
With the exception of the Pinot Meunier vines in Vrigny, the 9 hectare estate is exclusively Grand Cru, stretching across Ambonnay, Bouzy and Verzenay. Pinot Noir is planted on 7 ha, Chardonnay on 2 ha, and the average age of the vines is more than 35 years. The exposure of many of the vines is south or south east, which gives exceptional ripeness, while the poverty of the shallow and chalky subsoil give a strong mineral streak.
The already high natural ripeness levels are raised higher still by the green-harvesting. Egly is adamant that acidity is not fundamental, and almost always sufficient, while bitterness is always fatal. An advocate of 'lutte raisonée' he avoids all insecticides, uses only organic fertilisers and continues to plough as his predecessors have always done.
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