2016 Ambonnay Rouge Champagne Egly-Ouriet
A fine example of that rarest and most intriguing of of wines - a still red wine from the Champagne region. 100% hand harvested Pinot Noir from 50+ year old vines, barrel fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in wood for 20 months. Bottled by hand, unfined and unfiltered. Round and plump but surprisingly gentle with a myriad of red berry characters, floral notes, maybe a touch of spice. Stands comparison with a lighter Chambolle-Musigny or Vosne-Romanée. L&S (Feb 2019)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
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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