Collection Vintage 2015 Blanc de Blancs
In any other wine region, explaining that a white wine is produced from white grapes may be stating the obvious, while in Champagne, it is really not that simple.
Blanc de Blancs however, crafted exclusively from Chardonnay, (fellow Pinot Noir and Meunier are dark-skinned varieties), more than lives up to its name.
Collection Vintage 2015 Blanc de Blancs bears the remarkable hallmark of both vintage and terroir: mineral-laden (chardonnay from Premiers and Grands Crus vines in the Côte des Blancs); nervous (Vallée de la Marne) and aromatic (Montagne de Reims).
This is a lively, complex wine.
Hot on the heels of 1976 and 2003, 2015 was France's third hottest year since 1951. Drought conditions worsened from mid-May until the second half of August.
So for three months, Champagne was marked by unprecedented temperatures which only marginally slowed the development in the grapes.
Unexpectedly, torrential rain lashed the vineyards for two whole weeks from 15 August. Yet at the same time, and thank goodness, temperatures fell markedly and reduced the risk of disease. The grapes were then able to swell without affecting ripening or disrupting the harvest.
This said, harvesting was scrupulously monitored across the entire vineyard in order to ensure perfect ripeness and adequate sugar levels (potential alcohol).
The grapes were in perfect health and the ripe grape musts promised full, rounded wines.
Vinified in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks.
Aged at least 5 years in the cellars.
Appearance: Attractive pale gold tinged with subtle silver streaks, and lighting up in harmony with the effervescence. Delicate, lively bubbles suggest a wine bursting with promise.
Bouquet: Primary aromas are intensely floral, offering notes of hawthorn, acacia and white peonies. As the wine begins to breathe, new, more intense aromas come to the fore, redolent of fresh figs, white pepper and a hint of clove.
Palate: Lovely burst of flavour on the palate and quite delicious. An explosion of freshness reveals aromas of lusciously ripe citrus fruits and pink grapefruit. Fruit-laden on the attack, reminiscent of fleshy white peaches, and tangy (lemon verbena), the champagne delivers a certain richness, together with mineral notes on the finish to stimulate the tastebuds.
Quite rightly considered an excellent choice as an apéritif, Collection Vintage 2015 Blanc de Blancs also excels when partnered with delicate, seafood dishes, such as scallops, lobster, langoustine and oysters. Hard French cheeses such as Comté and mature Mimolette also work well.
Over time, the champagne will become more rounded in style, gaining volume and richness.
Best avoided: sauce-based dishes (unless made with white wine).
As an apéritif: best served at 8 - 9°C.
With food: best serve at 10 - 12°C.