Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 46

YEAR'S BEST CHAMPAGNES
notes, bright and sunny, on the tart side of
ripeness. The flavor melds into a luscious texture, showing the wine's concentration and
setting it up for duck rillettes.
279400

90 | H. Billiot

$54

Champagne Reserve Brut ^ Soft and fullbodied, this wine's ripe apricot and succulent apple flavors contrast its pomme de terre
earthiness. Melding sunny-sweet and earthybitter, this is ready for a savory apple tart.

BOLLINGER
Négociant-Manipulant in Aÿ (Vallée de la
Marne); founded in 1829; owns 440 acres:
60% pinot noir, 25% chardonnay, 15%
pinot meunier; average vine age: 25 years;
oldest vines: 60 years. Cellarmaster: Gilles
Descôtes. § Imported by Vintus, NY
279499

96 | Bollinger

$170

2012 Champagne La Grande Année Brut ^
A selection of pinot noir from Aÿ and Verzenay (65 percent of the blend) with chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry,
this wine ferments and ages in oak barrels
and large casks, followed by extended aging
on the lees in bottle. There's an immediacy to
its bubbles, and a scent that is immediately
awesome-lemon blossom, lemon verbena
and something exotic, like Buddha's hand.
The flavors are classical, expanding outward
as the wine develops with air, potent, salty
and long. Once it's gone, you can smell the
ghost of oak in the empty glass, even if it
wasn't overt in the wine. This is a structured
and long-lived 2012.
279500

94 | Bollinger

$110

Champagne Brut Rosé ^ A beautiful, transparent pink-gold rosé, this wine feels effortless. Five percent red wine grown in Verzenay
and Aÿ gives the wine its color, and perks up
the fresh flavors of raspberries, complete with
their seeds. The texture may be the wine's
best aspect: It's creamy and lithe, transforming Bollinger's power into elegance.
279498

93 | Bollinger

$120

Champagne PN VZ 15 ^ This new project
from Bollinger explores 100 percent pinot
noir presented as blanc de noirs Champagne. The first release is focused on Verzenay, which chef de cave Gilles Descôtes
describes as a cold terroir, a characteristic
that appealed to him in the heat of the 2015
vintage. That vintage accounts for 50 percent
of the blend; reserve wines provide 20 per-

46

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

cent and power the dark, red-fruited intensity of the flavors. Smoky and grand, this is
a young, mineral-driven pinot noir needing
cellar time to mellow.
279497

91 | Bollinger

$79

Champagne Special Cuvée Brut ^ Fresh
apple scents incorporate into the spicy red
fruit of pinot noir that makes up the majority of this blend. It's dominated by reserve
wines, some of them barrel-fermented, some
of them aged for more than a decade in magnum bottles. This is a complex blend needing
a year in bottle to settle and integrate.

ALEXANDRE BONNET
Récoltant-Manipulant in Les Riceys (Aube);
founded in 1934; owns 111 acres: 96% pinot
noir, 2% chardonnay, 2% field blend of pinot
blanc, pinot gris, pinot meunier, arbane and
petit meslier; average vine age: 30 years; oldest vines: 45 years. Cellarmaster: Alain Pailley; Vigneron: Didier Mele; 37,500 cases produced. § Imported by V.O.S. Selections, NY
279363

87 | Alexandre Bonnet

VINCENT CHARLOT
Récoltant-Manipulant in Mardeuil (Vallée de
la Marne); founded 1987; owns 10.5 acres:
38.5% pinot meunier, 38% chardonnay, 15%
pinot noir, plus petit meslier, pinot blanc, fromenteau, arbane; average vine age: 30 years;
oldest vines: 65 years. Vigneron: Vincent
Charlot; 2,500 cases produced. § Imported by
Polaner Selections, Mount Kisco, NY
279461

91 | Vincent Charlot

$75

2014 Champagne Vossenelles VV Extra
Brut ^ Based west of Epernay, Vincent Charlot's vineyards are certified biodynamic. He
ferments his wines in neutral oak barrels
without added yeasts, and bottles without
fining or filtering. This wine grows in the lieudit Vossenelles, the pinot noir vines planted
in 1964. It's a complex Champagne, concentrated and intriguing, the red fruit flavors
underscored by hints of mint and artichokes.
Sophisticated and a little weird, it would be a
conversation starter with tuna sashimi.

GASTON CHIQUET

$37

Champagne Perle Rosée Brut (Best Buy) ^
Here's a steal-a silken-textured, red-fruited
rosé with some savory citrus notes-a touch
of bitter orange that reminded one taster of
Aperol. Serve it with country pâté.

CHRISTIAN BUSIN

Récoltant-Manipulant in Dizy (Vallée de la
Marne); founded in 1919; owns 57 acres:
50% chardonnay, 30% pinot meunier, 20%
pinot noir. Vignerons: Nicolas and Antoine
Chiquet; 15,000 cases produced. § Imported by
Skurnik Wines & Spirits, NY
279344

Récoltant-Manipulant in Verzenay (Montagne
de Reims); founded in 1950; owns 11 acres:
60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay; average vine
age: 35 years; oldest vines: 58 years. Cellarmaster: Vincent Van Waesberghe; Vigneron:
Edouard Labruyère; 3,750 cases produced.
Imported by Golden Ram Imports, NY
279451

Champagne Brut Rosé ^ This is fresh and
brisk, mineral to its core, with lingering spice
to its splash of red-cherry flavor. The blend
focuses on chardonnay (40%), with equal
parts pinot noir and pinot meunier making
up the balance. A crisp mint note cools the
red fruit and lasts.
279343

93 | Christian Busin

$40

92 | Gaston Chiquet

$54

92 | Gaston Chiquet

$40

2008 Champagne Grand Cru Brut (Best
Buy) ^ This is a blend of pinot noir (70 percent) and chardonnay from Verzenay, where
the clay-limestone soils grew a wine of depth
and complexity. Seven years on the lees gives
this a savory caramel richness layered over
pale limestone minerality, the fruit aged to
a caress. It's romantic Champagne, compellingly delicious.
279452

Champagne Tradition Brut (Best Buy) ^
Notes of tart apple and tarte tatin combine
in this classical Marne Valley wine. It's mostly
red grapes (65 percent), bringing flavors of
sour cherry and cherry pit. This is fresh, with
a sculptural beauty to its texture that lends
the feeling of polished stone.

$40

Récoltant-Manipulant in Ambonnay (Montagne de Reims); founded in 1890; owns 23
acres: 70% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay; average vine age: 35 years; oldest vines: 72 years.
Vigneron: Antoine Coutier; 4,800 cases produced. § Imported by Polaner Selections, Mount
Kisco, NY
279425

90 | Christian Busin

Champagne Brut Rosé (Best Buy) ^ This rosé
gains its color from the seven percent Bouzy
rouge in the blend. The wine buzzes with pale
strawberry flavor and mineral notes; it has
the energy to take on Mongolian lamb.

R.H. COUTIER



Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - December 2020

Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 1
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 2
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 4
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 5
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 6
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 7
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 8
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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