Tradition Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay
|Grapes||Pinot Noir, Chardonnay|
Francis Egly’s wines seem to have become real cult classics. This is their most classically styled cuvée, and it has all the hallmarks of this great producer. Weight and power – but lift and drive too. Clever satisfying stuff with so many layers of interest. The wine is fermented using natural yeast and aged on the lees for a year so that the wines clarify slowly, before they are bottled without fining or filtering. The cuvée (70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay) is a rich, full-bodied with evolved flavours this is really delicious drinking, while still fresh and beautifully balanced. L&S (Mar 2005)
*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.
Even though it was only Disgorged: a few months ago, the NV Brut Tradition Grand Cru is super-expressive. The Brut Tradition brings together parcels in Ambonnay, Bouzy and Verzenay that, together, yield a Pinot-driven Champagne with tremendous breadth as well as cut. Red fruit, dried flowers, mint, spice and lemon confit are some of the aromas and flavors that build in this wonderfully open-knit, inviting Champagne from Egly-Ouriet. Disgorged: July, 2020. Drinking range: 2021 - 2030 Rating: 92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Nov 2020)
Very classical aromas of toast, nuts and patisserie lead to a palate that's round and savoury with very attractive richness and complexity. Flavours of nuts, cream and candied fruits are given lovely balance, elegance, persistence and length by the wonderful acidity. Deliciously good - a serious fizz. Decanter.com/Premium - a tasting of Champagne vs English Sparkling, coming in third behind Krug NV and Selosse Initial (both 95) Rating: 94 Decanter Magazine (Dec 2019)
Based on the 2012 vintage (50%) and reserve wines from 2011, 2010 and 2009, the NV Brut Tradition Grand Cru (disgorged in January 2018, after 54 months on the lees) offers a very clear, fine and elegant bouquet with sweet cherry aromas, a kiss of oak and some oxidative notes. It's a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Meunier, and 50% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. Bone dry, very fine and fresh on the palate, this is a pretty mineral, straight and linear Grand Cru with a long, intense, pretty aromatic as well as fresh and structured finish. However, this full-bodied wine never loses its finesse, elegance or purity. This wine accounts for 50% of the total production. Drinking range: 2020 - 2030 Rating: 92 Stephan Reinhart, The Wine Advocate, erobertparker.com (Aug 2018)
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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