This is a top class treat to rival any of the well-known prestige cuvées. 100% Pinot Noir from an ancient vineyard planted in 1947 which is called 'les crayères' ('The chalk mine') after its deep subsoil layer of chalk which begins only about a foot below the surface. The vines have deep roots and their age and the free-draining quality of the chalk give concentrated aromas of red fruits to the old Pinots, while at the same time the minerality of the chalk itself gives the wine an elegance and a huge ageing potential. A full bodied, vinous wine, this is no aperitif, but more of a celebratory food wine which is a fabulous match for the likes of lobster or cold fillet of beef. L&S (Oct 2018)
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Rich hints of toasted brioche, coffee liqueur and smoke underscore flavors of baked quince, graphite and candied orange peel in this expressive Champagne, beautifully balanced by a vivid acidic frame. Lightly chalky and fine in texture, with a long, lingering finish. Disgorged May 2017. Drink now through 2023. Drinking range: 2018 - 2023 Rating: 94-94 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator(Aug 2018)
Rich hints of toasted brioche, coffee liqueur and smoke underscore flavors of baked quince, graphite and candied orange peel in this expressive Champagne, beautifully balanced by a vivid acidic frame. Lightly chalky and fine in texture, with a long, lingering finish. Rating: 94 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator(Aug 2018)
Some in Champagne can achieve grandeur of dizzying proportions, and the most talented can summon delicacy of light footed grace, but no village marries the two as effortlessly as Ambonnay, and no practitioner as masterfully as Francis Egly. Vieilles Vignes is his masterpiece, succeeding in capturing the golden sunlight of grandeur and chalk mineral airiness of his tiny amphitheater shaped lieu-dit of vines planted in 1946. The essence of Pinot Noir. (Tyson Stelzer's pick: a selection of great Champagnes). Drinking range: 2018 - 2023 Rating: 99 Decanter Magazine(Jul 2018)
Aromatic and spicy, with notes of pencil shavings, tea rose and star anise and flavors of blackberry, toast and citrus that glide across your palate. Drinking range: 2017 - 2025 Rating: 95 Alison Napjus, The Wine Spectator(Sep 2017)
A very striking nose with immense personality and distinctively richer, red orchard fruit characters. The oak is assertive yet fits in well adding cedary, woody aromas and spicy complexity; there's a hint of pepper too. The palate delivers an immensely concentrated flavorsome impression with ripe phenolics framing nectarine, brulée custard and blue fruit flavors. Powerful, detailed and balanced. Rating: 94 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Jul 2015)
The NV Brut Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru, from the Crayères lieu-dit in Ambonnay, is fabulous. Dense, powerful and intense, the Blanc de Noirs possesses marvelous intensity from the generosity of Ambonnay and the 60 months the wine spent on its lees. Intense plum, smoke, spice and anise notes meld into the rich, resonant finish. This ample, vinous Champagne needs to be enjoyed at the dinner table. Disgorged July 2013. Drinking range: 2014 - 2020 Rating: 94-94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Nov 2014)
Grapes from Pinot vines cultivated in 1946 give the wine an extra concentration and weight. The fruit is rich, soft and dense, and the potential for cellaring is huge. This wine gets better and better with each release. It's a Selosse-like, exotically oaky, organically influenced giant of a Champagne. The flavour layers and fantastically generous and multi-faceted. (One of Juhlin's top 20 prestige Champagnes.) Drinking range: 2014 - 2040 Rating: 94-94 Decanter Magazine(Oct 2014)
As the name suggests, this is a high quality artisan champagne made from a domaine specialising in black grapes (Pinot Noir) in the grand cru village of Ambonnay. Francis Egly is a stickler for purity of fruit that reflects the terroir and this impressive champagne made from an ancient vineyard with its toasty aromas, its richly endowed appley fruit and sourdough yeast complexity, is a wine of fine style and one whose finesse and flavour are a true reflection of the hard work that's gone into this superior product. An interesting comparison could be made with Bollinger's Viellies Vignes Françaises if you happen to have a bottle handy. 12.5% abv. Rating: 95-100 www.thewinegang.com
Very substantial, complex nose with considerable development. A treat to be tasting really good Blanc de Noirs rather than a rustic Aube fizz chez a supermarket. I'd like to see this next to Bollinger - Really rewarding. Very long. 12.5% Rating: 18.5/20 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com
(this spent 61 months on its lees and was disgorged in August, 2006) Medium gold. Rich, smoky, deep aromas of leesy apple, apricot pit, pomegranate and rhubarbs. A chewy, substantial, medium-bodied wine with a distinctly toasty cast to its flavors of ripe pit fruits, toffee, fresh porcini and truffle. Serve this big, dense Champagne (I'm more tempted to call it a wine) with hearty, richly sauced dishes or the strongest cheeses. Not for those who prefer a racy style, but fans of the type will love it. Rating: 90-90 Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
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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