A very unusual Champagne, in the sense that there is no attempt to make a cuvée (blend) this is a single variety (Pinot Meunier) from very old vines at a single site in the village of Vrigny. Francis Egly's only non Grand Cru rated vineyard. Soft, rich and quite elegant. L&S (Mar 2005)
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The NV Brut Les Vignes de Vrigny 1er Cru is gorgeous in the way it balances the natural depth of Meunier with real energy and vibrancy. Dried pear, spice and crushed flowers all open in the glass, but what impresses me about this release of Egly's pure Meunier is its translucence and finesse. The Vignes de Vrigny is so expressive and gorgeous in this release. Disgorged: July, 2020. Drinking range: 2021 - 2030 Rating: 92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Nov 2020)
From sandy clay soils, the recent release of the NV Brut Premier Cru Les Vignes de Vrigny is a pure Pinot Meunier based on the 2013 harvest. The wine has a delicate bouquet and is very fine and silky on the palate. This is an elegant, perfectly round and delicate Vrigny with moderate pressure and mousse. The finish is clear, fresh and mineral. Tasted at the Trait d'Union in Vertus, April 2018. Disgorged in November 2017. Drinking range: 2018 - 2028 Rating: 91 Stephan Reinhart, The Wine Advocate, erobertparker.com (Aug 2018)
The NV Brut Les Vignes de Vrigny 1er Cru, Egly-Ouriet's 100% Meunier, is bright, focused and quite expressive. Dried orchard fruit, hazelnut, dried flowers, mint and chamomile. Classy and resonant through to the finish, the Vignes de Vrigny is striking. All the elements are impeccably balanced. Drinking range: 2015 - 2023 Rating: 92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Dec 2016)
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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