Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru Champagne Lancelot Pienne NV

Grapes Chardonnay
Colour White
Origin France, Champagne
Classification Grand Cru
ABV 12.5%

Gilles describes this as the identity card of the domaine. It is made from Chardonnays from around twenty plots located on three Grand Crus terroirs of the Côte des Blancs (Cramant 60%, Avize 10%, Chouilly 30%). 'The Grail is in the bottle, but don't tell anybody'. Open on the nose, very immediate in its appeal, and straight away you want to swallow - there's a delicate salinity, a chalky, almost gunflinty minerality, then a light bitterness. All in delicacy but that the same time not without power, and a lovely mineral dry finish. L&S (Oct 2021)

*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles of wine (or 9 litre equivalent) or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified (4.5 litres) to get the discounted 'case price' for each bottle.

100% Chardonnay from three grands crus: Cramant, Avize, Chouilly. 45-year-old vines. 76% from 2019, 24% from their perpetual reserve. 36 months sur lattes. Disgorged May 2023. Dosage 2.7 g/l.
Very vertical. Quite a bit of power on the channel lines but the fruit inside the core is rich and fleshy. Crushed pears and iodine. His wines really play on the finish rather than front or middle. Acidity like brushed steel and then Brazil nuts and then lime. Demanding but also giving.
Drinking range: 2024 - 2030 Rating: 16.5 Tamlyn Currin - (May 2024)

100% Chardonnay, 60% from Cramant, 30% from Chouilly, 10% from Avize. From 21 different plots: 16 in Cramant, 3 in Avize and 2 in Chouilly. Stainless-steel vinification, plot by plot. Some of the tanks undergo natural malo. 76% 2018, the rest from solera reserves. 10 months in stainless steel, 36 months sur lattes, disgorged July 2019. Dosage 3.5 g/l. Crisp and layered, apples and an unusual, almost avocado-like flavour and texture. Touch of bitterness giving length and structure. Balanced and attractive. Drinking range: 2023 - 2026 Rating: 16.5 Tamlyn Currin - (Jun 2023)

The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Table Ronde (2017 base) is a very pretty, airy Champagne. Lemon peel, white pepper, slate and mint give the Table Ronde a lovely upper register of brightness to match its sinewy, mineral-laced personality. Light tropical inflections linger. An addition of 20% reserve wines rounds out this release. Dosage is 3.5gr/L. Disgorged: September, 2021. Drinking range: 2023 - 2030 Rating: 91 Anne Krebiehl MW, (Nov 2023)

Champagne Lancelot Pienne

Gilles Lancelot, a qualified oenologist, is the fourth generation of his family to have his own vines in Cramant. It was his grandfather Jean who became the first one in the family sell his own Champagne, shortly after the second world war. Gilles' father Albert married Brigitte Pienne, from another Champagne-producing family, and she brought with her the vines in the south Épernay hills (in Mancy and Monthelon) and the Marne valley.

The 8.3 hectares of vineyard supply all their grapes, so as Gilles says, they know exactly what goes into each bottle. 3 hectares are in the Grand Cru villages of Cramant, Avize and Chouilly, another 2-3 in Mancy and Monthelon, and the rest in the Marne valley, including Bisseuil. The domaine is 60% Chardonnay, 30% Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir. They have 70 different parcels of vines, which demand a lot of attention, but give a wide palette when it comes to blending.

The vineyard is certified HVE3, and the approach is 'balanced viticulture'. The domaine is entirely worked by their own employees and soils and ploughed and only organic fertiliser is used. They try to use only natural treatments to stimulate the vines to defend themselves. Gilles wants ripe grapes in good condition and is, as he puts it, quite slow to pick, but 'but then again you have to preserve the acidity too'. The vinifications are entirely in stainless steel to preserve the purity of their Chardonnay, and the élevage continues until bottling in July - the object being to make wines which are straight and pure, all in delicacy, with freshness as well as aromas and flavours. Malolactic fermentation is a choice - for example in 2017 all the wines went through malo, but in the very ripe vintage of 2018, all were blocked.

There's a temptation, of course, if you are called Lancelot, to refer to the Arthurian legends, and it's a temptation that is irresistible if you then marry a girl whose maiden name is Perceval. As Gilles says, at least they didn't name their children Arthur and Guinevere. But the winery dog is called Hector (Hector de Maris was Lancelot's half-brother). Watch this space - when their son takes over, the domaine may change its name to Lancelot-Perceval. All of which explains the discreet logo and the name of the Cuvée 'La Table Ronde'.

Champagne & Sparkling Tasting mixed case

Charles has put together twelve bottles that run the gamut of Grower Champagne – from Larmandier-Bernier’s rich Chardonnay, to the fresher, unoaked style of Franck Bonville – or the intriguing blends from the Champagne-solera of Lancelot Pienne or Marc Hébrart's refined 'Special Club'. There are incomparable Pinot Meuniers from Coulon, Mignon & Ullens, as well as Pinot Noir based wines from the great Montagne de Reims villages, including Ambonnay and Bouzy, from the likes of Rodez, Marguet, Maillart & Gonet Médeville.

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