Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 54

YEAR'S BEST CHAMPAGNES
93 | Varnier-Fannière

TA I T T I N G E R
Négociant-Manipulant in Reims; founded in
1734; owns 712 acres: 48% pinot noir, 37%
chardonnay, 15% meunier; average vine age:
23 years. Cellarmaster: Alexandre Ponnavoy.
Imported by Kobrand, Purchase, NY
279248

90 | Taittinger

$103

2014 Champagne Brut ^ A quiet, well-structured Champagne, this tightens up the
broad, toasty richness of its texture with a
gentle pull of limestone acidity in the end.
It's a firm and sophisticated 2014, worthy of
several years in the cellar.
279244

90 | Taittinger

$85

90 | Taittinger

$98

Champagne Cuvée Prestige Rosé ^ The mild
and gentle approach of this rosé brought to
mind a range of foods that could accompany it. In particular, the notes of macerated raspberries and wildflower honey with
their mineral undertones of limestone would
readily take on sashimi (one taster was craving amberjack).
279246
Champagne Grands Crus Prélude ^ This is
an equal blend of chardonnay and pinot noir,
only the first press, aged for five years in bottle. The wine's initial sulfidic scents blow off
to reveal fresh aromas of Marcona almonds
and riper notes of baked apple. Lemon acidity holds to a leesy mineral line.

THIENOT
Négociant-Manipulant in Taissy (Montagne
de Reims); founded in 1985; owns 75 acres:
about 50% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay, 10%
pinot meunier; average vine age: 30 years;
oldest vines: 60 years. Vigneron: Nicolas
Uriel; 33,000 cases produced. § Imported by
Thiénot USA, Chicago, IL
279481

90 | Thiénot

$68

Champagne Brut Rosé ^ Lean, spicy and
refreshing, this wine cuts its strawberry and
rhubarb flavors with mineral abrasion. Then
cool juiciness comes up in the end. It's a clean
wine for littleneck clams.

V A R N I E R - FA N N I E R E
Récoltant-Manipulant in Avize (Côte des
Blancs); founded in 1947; owns ten acres
of chardonnay; average vine age: 45 years;
oldest vines: 70+ years. Vigneron: Valérie
Varnier; 3,000 cases produced. § Imported by
Skurnik Wines & Spirits, NY
279341
54

WINE & SPIRITS

DECEMBER 2020

$63

Champagne Grand Cru Brut ^ This wine
has the beautiful creamy richness of a chalkdriven Côte des Blancs Champagne. Half of
the blend is from the 2017 vintage, the first
that Valérie Varnier worked on her own, after
the death of her husband, Denis; the other
half is from 2016. The wine's savor takes
the notes of fresh cream in the direction
of vanilla and fennel, its youthful structure
set to sustain the freshness while the flavors
evolve over the coming years.

JEAN VELUT
Récoltant-Manipulant in Montgueux (Aube);
founded in 1976; owns 14.8 acres: 86% chardonnay, 11% pinot noir, 3% pinot meunier;
average vine age: 30 years; oldest vines: 55
years. Vignerons: Benoît and Denis Velut;
2,300 cases produced. § Imported by Bonhomie Wine Imports, South Orange, NJ

279234

90 | Jean Velut

$50

Champagne Premier Temps Brut (Best
Buy) ^ A ripe wine from the Aube, this is based
on the 2014 vintage, with about 30 percent
of reserves in the blend. The flavors are clean
and fat, touching on kumquat and star fruit,
with a chalk line of acidity tending to the
richness. Clean and fragrant.

JEAN VESSELLE
Récoltant-Manipulant in Bouzy (Montagne
de Reims); founded in 1885; owns 40 acres:
90% pinot noir, 10% chardonnay; average
vine age: 30 years; oldest vines: 50 years.
Vignerons: Delphine & David Vesselle;
12,500 cases produced. § Imported by North
Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, CA
279505

94 | Jean Vesselle

94 | Jean Vesselle

$52

93 | Jean Vesselle

$65

93 | Jean Vesselle

$65

91 | Jean Vesselle

$200

Champagne Grand Cru Réserve Brut ^ Pinot
noir from the chalk soils of Bouzy provides
80 percent of this blend; the balance is chardonnay. What sets this wine apart is its freshness, its stamina and its texture that feels like
the cool polished curves of a marble statue.
That association comes from the pale stoniness of the acidity, the white-flower scent
and the equally floral note of fresh cream.
It's easy to revel in this wine, and isn't that,
after all, what Champagne is for?
279504
Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Friandise
Rosé ^ This pinot noir saignée rosé spends up
to two days macerating with its skins before
it ferments with ambient yeasts in stainless
steel. After three years of aging on the lees in
bottle, the wine is finished with a dosage of
32 grams per liter. The sweetness builds the
impression of ripe fruit, drawing out blackberry and persimmon notes. It's a spicy burst
of flavor, a Champagne for fruit desserts.
279502
Champagne Grand Cru Oeil de Perdrix
Brut ^ Delphine Vesselle's father developed
this wine, looking back to the time when it
took much longer for grapes to be carried
from vineyard to press, and the color from
pinot noir skins would begin to bleed into the
juice of the grapes. Now, Vesselle macerates
her pinot noir for less than a day, making this
not quite a rosé-it's the color of pink gold-
yet it picks up some of the grape-skin tannins
and notes of pomme de terre and white tea.
There's a floral red-apple tone and a darker
cèpe-like tone, the wine rich enough for scallops over a buttery risotto.
279503
2007 Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Le
Petit Clos Brut ^ From a quarter-acre of pinot
noir in a walled vineyard within the Vesselles'
estate in Bouzy, this fermented in oak barrels
and rested on the lees for ten years in bottle.
It has a broad maturity, with nutty richness
and hints of fresh nectarine fruit. Pour it with
Marcona almonds.

VEUVE CLICQUOT

$62

Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé de
Saignée ^ This vinous Champagne's sourcherry flavors carry the meaty flesh and the
crunchy skins of the fruit. It's distinctly dark,
yet acidity keeps it crisp, encouraging the
wine's floral scents. A concentrated 100 percent pinot noir from Bouzy, this could take
on a seared New York strip steak.
279501

Récoltant-Manipulant in Reims; founded in
1772; owns 900 acres: 47% chardonnay, 42%
pinot noir, 11% pinot meunier; Cellarmaster:
Didier Mariotti; Vigneron: Romain Le Guillou. § Imported by Moët Hennessy USA, NY
279275


https://www.bonhomiewine.com/our-wines/france/champagne-jean-velut/

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
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 9
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 11
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 12
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 101
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Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 103
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - 104
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover3
Wine & Spirits - December 2020 - Cover4
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