Goodness gracious, thats another month flown by, and now its time for the next installment of WBW!! The host(ess) this month (http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/2006/08/lovely-jubbly-bubbly.html) has chosen a fantastic subject - Champagne, with extra brownie points for chosing a smaller producer. Ive got no end of ideas for what I wanted to show here, as this is a subject that I got really into quite recently, and boosted the wine-list by quite a few grower champagnes. Ive just added another four champagnes in the last three weeks, including three wines from Francis Egly of Egly-Ouriet. So Im gonnae start off with one of his wines.
Based around the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, the house of Egly-Ouriet farms a modest 9 hectares of vineyards, 7 of which are devoted to Pinot Noir. With the majority of the wines sitting the right side of 30 years old, and a careful yield management which includes a vendage vert if neccessary, the production is kept to around 5 thousand cases, of which surpisingly little gets across to the UK. I was told by the merchant that supplied me, that his allocation of the brut nv is less than a dozen cases, he gets two or three cases of the rose, two cases of the blancs de noir, and about a half dozen bottles of the vintage. I guess Im lucky to have managed to get three bottles of the blancs de noir and rose then!! With this scarecity in mind, I made these notes last week, after selling a bottle (with the guests approval) to share them here today.
Egly-Ouriet Blancs de Noirs Grand Cru, Brut NV - Vielle Vigne de Pinot Noir Lieu-dit "Les Crayeres" a Ambonnay. Degorged July 2005.
It is a dark straw colour with very fine bubbles and a medium persistance of the mousse. On the nose I found an aroma of braeburn apples - those crisp greeny red efforts with a hint of sweetness to the fruit - with an exotic mushroomy character coming behind it. Almost like when the kitchen are prepping the cepes - more foresty wild mushrooms. The aromas were really quite dense with a rye bread aroma coming forward quite frequently. On the palate the bubbles dissolved effortlessly leaving flavours of wild fruits and slightly underipe pears with hints of cocao. The flavours seemed to remain on the palate for over a minute before slowly fading to more autolytic characters. As the back label states this has had 49 months on the lees, and with Egly's practice of minimal intervention in the winery and no filtration or fining of the base wines, the autolytic flavours are expected to be quite dominant, although they were never overbearing. Damn this is a great champagne and quite a bit beyond my means, so I was grateful to the generous customer who allowed me to sample their champagne. Bummer that Ive only got two bottles left!!
PS Im supposed to give some idea of what food this would go with, Sam's website being predominantly foodie, so I would put this wine with something like - Loin of Rabbit, with sweetbreads, seasonal mushrooms (Ceps, Girolles and shi-take) with a redcurrant reduction.