Without a doubt, Francis Egly's 70 year old, south-facing vines in Ambonnay produce what is the world's greatest Blanc de Noirs, made from low yields, hand-harvested late, and given 5 years on the lees and just a tiny 3g/l dosage, because the base wine is already so rich. Look for a pale onion-skin color, puffs of milk chocolate, brioche, cherries, ginger, cardamom, and redcurrants. This is an incredibly powerful style that will please fans of Bollinger and other avowed hedonists.
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Along with the likes of Selosse, Bouchard, and Vilmart, Egly-Ouriet of Ambonnay is a cult among cults in Champagne. There’s a reason that legions of Champagne enthusiasts have beat a path to Francis Egly’s door over the last 20 years. In a region with scandalously high yields, Egly prunes for very low yields. Where some neighbors pick at the minimum brix, Egly picks at the limit of ripeness. And because he's making ripe wines, he uses little or no dosage. Today Egly is acknowledged as the finest grower in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, with an average vine age of 45 years. Pinot-dominated Champagnes simply don’t get much better, or much rarer. Just ask Swedish Champagne authority Richard Juhlin: “Egly is probably the foremost grower of Pinot Noir in the entire Champagne region nowadays. His much sought-after Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes comes from grapes from Pinot vines grown in 1946. They give this wine extra weight and density. The fruitiness is massive and soft, and the potential for maturation is enormous. He succeeds better and better for each issue. Nowadays this is a Selosse-like, exotic, oaky and biodynamically influenced giant among champagnes. The taste layers are fantastically generous and many-headed.”
Aromatic and spicy, offering notes of pencil shavings, tea rose and star anise, with flavors of blackberry, toast and citrus that glide across the palate. This seamless Champagne is fresh and focused, featuring racy acidity that drives the zesty finish. Drink now through 2025. 100 cases imported.
Bright, floral and lifted, the NV Blanc de Noirs Les Crayeres VV Grand Cru is another fabulous Champagne from Egly-Ouriet. The flavors are remarkably precise in this breathtakingly beautiful, vibrant Champagne. Tension, precision and energy are the signatures. This release is 50% 2010 and 50% 2009. Readers who can find the Crayeres should not hesitate, as it is superb. Dosage is 2 grams per liter. Disgorged January 2017.