Tags Posts tagged with "blanc de blancs"

blanc de blancs

1

Remi Leroy

From my recent adventures in France I mentioned wandering my way into Antic Wine shop in Lyon. It’s a wonderful place, a sort of mecca for wine lovers from outside Europe. At least, if like me, it just feels good to be near bottles of wine of that quality. (One of my early experiences in a really mind blowing wine cellar I remember the strange restorative comfort I took just from standing near irreplaceable bottles even if I was unlikely to taste them. I have also long had a strange sort of empathetic encounter where if I turn my attention to another person or a thing in a certain way I’ll get taste-flashes of what that person is tasting, or taste what a thing is like. So, to stand near amazing bottles sometimes feels as though I am experiencing the wine even when it hasn’t literally been opened and poured for me.)

Quite quickly into my multi-hour visit with Georges at Antic it was clear our wine interests overlapped enough and that I respected his palate enough that I would readily take his advice on wine. So, when he found out I love Champagne and had tuned into the kind of wine I like he recommended I buy this bottle of Rémi Leroy Blanc de blancs, and I immediately did.

Getting the bottle back home I was torn. I could feel through the glass the kind of wine it would be. To truly enjoy it all I wanted to do was stay home, drink it on my own, and fall asleep in low light wearing a silk negligee – I just knew it was going to have that sort of silken, delicate, ethereal-with-substance sort of feel to it that can only be captured by such an experience. But as a wine lover in a community of wine lovers it is also important to share unique wines with people that can appreciate it and so too can understand its importance. So, I brought the bottle with me on a recent trip to Canada and drank it with friends on Vancouver Island while visiting them all in Victoria.

The Remi Leroy Blanc de blancs grows, uniquely, in the Côte des Bars of Aube. The area is predominately planted to Pinot Noir, but it is also full of Kimmeridgean soils, which many believe are better suited to Chardonnay. So, some brave souls have risked planting the white grape even as it grows surrounded by the red. Leroy is one. He farms organically, with a focus on cover crops to encourage the health of the soils and then takes a more minimalist approach in the cellar while keeping the focus on clean, stable cuvées at the same time. It would be ridiculous to call a methode traditionelle wine program anything like natural or non-interventionist, as so many steps are integral to just making sparkling wine, but Leroy aims to reduce cellar techniques or inputs that would otherwise be unnecessary. It’s a kind of balance I admire.

So, what of the wine itself?

It is unbelievably beautiful. My original sense of falling asleep in low light, perhaps candles, in a silk negligee captured the feel of the wine. It’s a slower paced, end of the day sort of wine. That softened glow one gets from candles with their flickering light cast across the walls and ceiling resembles the mouthfeel and presence of this wine on the palate.

Candle light, without doubt, has a delicate nature to it but at the same time the mood it casts is powerful. It can change the feel of an entire day, regardless of how things have gone. There is intimacy to it and a calm, sensual openness. Candle light in its qualities resembles the feel of silk used for negligees or nightgowns – soft and smooth, while thin and satiny, exactly what we mean when we use the word silken. It is light, delicate, sensual, and, again, carries its own unique mood.

The Remi Leroy 2009 Blanc de blancs sits in the center of this family of feeling.

If I was to turn to regular tasting notes I’d have to admit in a strange way I don’t remember its flavors – they were chalky and pale yellow, high tone ethereal notes, without being shrill, like what one would hear at high voice from a choir singing in a well-tuned cathedral – the wine was so much more about its texture, mouthfeel, and mood. It’s finish was long.

When I bought the wine from Antic, there were few bottles left of this 2009, it turned out, and it doesn’t get exported from France. The Remi Leroy brut does make it to the United States, for those wanting to try some of the Leroy wines, but I confess I haven’t had it yet. Based on the Blanc de blancs I would be shocked if it isn’t wonderful and I intend to taste it as soon as I can.

Copyright 2017 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com.

2

Salon Champagne: A 6 Vintage Vertical

Pebble Beach Food & Wine culminated in a panel of 9 wines from Salon and Delamotte moderated by Antonio Galloni, and featuring Didier Depond, president of the sister houses. The wines poured from Delamotte blanc de blancs included the non-vintage, 2004, and 1970 out of magnum; from Salon the 2002, 1999 from magnum, 1997, 1995 from magnum, 1988, and 1983 from magnum. To comment on the wines the panel also included Rajat Parr, Shane Bjornholm, and Emily Wines.

Salon Champagne, A Verticalclick on image to enlarge

The Value of Salon and Delamotte

Salon Champagne has long held a special fascination for me. I admire the innovation of Eugène Aimé Salon that originates with his idea to create the world’s first chardonnay-only champagne, age it minimum 10 years, and create it only in the very best vintages. The first Salon vintage began in 1905. Since, only 45 vintages total have been made — 37 of those in the 1900s. A Salon has not been made since 2008 as the vintages since have not stood up to the quality demands held by the house.

Though blanc de blancs appears as a common option in sparkling wine now, champagne’s tradition and history rests more deeply in blending grapes. Salon was the first to imagine chardonnay on its own could offer enough sophistication for the best champagne. Incredibly, Salon champagne utilizes not only chardonnay-only, but also only 100% Grand Cru fruit from a single village within Cote de Blanc, the heart of quality for chardonnay grapes within Champagne. In aging the wine a minimum of 10 years, the silky texture and flavor development of chardonnay deepens. By creating the wine only in steel tank (no barrel usage), the focus remains on purity and freshness.

Delamotte stands as a true sister house, rather than simply a second label, to Salon. Four cuvées are made by Delamotte in order to keep the focus on quality — blanc de blanc non-vintage, blanc de blancs vintage (only in good years), brut non-vintage, and a rosé. Delamotte originates as one of the oldest champagne houses, created in 1760 utilizing only 100% Grand Cru fruit from the Cote de Blanc.

The wines are utterly beautiful. Younger vintages, such as those into the 1990s right now, carry wire-y tension focusing almost entirely on juicy citrus components with light earthy notes. As the vintages age, the flavors deepen bringing the earth elements slightly more to the fore, alongside refreshing saline or olive notes and chamomile tea or bergamot. Throughout, the wines carry a seductive silkey texture and utterly long, mouth watering finish.

The Salon and Delamotte vertical tasting included some of the most special wines I’ve been lucky enough to taste. We were also the first people outside Salon to taste the newly released 2002 vintage. Depond clarified that in the Salon cellars only twenty-three magnums of the 1983 vintage remain. Two of those were opened for our PBFW tasting. Antonio Galloni is widely known as one of the world’s leading wine experts. He described the 1983 from magnum as “one of the most extraordinary wines I have ever tasted.”

Notes from Didier Depond

It was an honor to meet Didier Depond, and taste through the Delamotte and Salon vertical led by his knowledge of the wines.

Rather than interpret his comments, following are quotations from Depond through the tasting.

“The size of bubbles is the elegance of the wine.”

“To make Salon, we want a perfect balance between sugar and acidity. The most important factor is the acidity and pH in the wine.”

“It may be very difficult for you to understand. It is very pleasant right now to drink this wine but tasting vin clair is very difficult for us, even painful.” Vin clair is the still base wine that will then go through a secondary fermentation to become sparkling. The acid levels of vin clair are very high and can literally hurt the mouth as a result. “We have to imagine the wine in 15 to 20 years. It is very difficult to imagine. We keep this wine [Salon] a minimum of 10, 11, 12 years in cellar.”

“We use only steel tank. I don’t like barrel for champagne. It is my opinion. I share my opinion with myself. Champagne is about the freshness, the pleasure, the happiness. I love the cleanness, and the freshness of the wine. For me, it is the definition of the wine.”

“It is easy to drink a magnum. It is the best size for me. It is better if you drink it as two [people], rather than only one.” (laughing)

“Salon is a unique situation. It is a mono-cru. We are chardonnay, and chardonnay from only one vintage, and only one village.”

“It is a very open discussion on disgorgement. For myself, sometimes I open a bottle with a very open disgorgement, and it is very beautiful, a 30-year disgorgement, and no oxidation. Sometimes, I am disappointed, yes? But, the wine is alive. [Explaining] Sometimes, I am disappointed with myself, to see this morning, I am older. But I am rarely disappointed with Salon.”

“All dosage for Salon is at the limit of a brut wine [next to brut nature–that is, very low sugar but still present]. Dosage is very important. Sugar is a preservative. It helps the wine age. If you want to do low dosage, you have to pick your grapes a little later to balance the sugars. It is very easy to make good champagne. If you make a good dosage, you make good champagne.”

“Dosage is like a beautiful woman with just a touch of makeup.”

“Today I know exactly how many bottles we have in our cellar [at Salon] for the next 20 years.”

***

Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews remains ad-free without a pay wall, and takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write. If you enjoy and value the work you find here, please consider supporting this project with a monthly donation, or one in any dollar amount via the form below. Your support is greatly appreciated.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thank you!

Copyright 2014 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com