Along with the likes of Selosse, Bouchard, and Vilmart, Francis Egly is a cult among cults. He prunes for very low yields, picks at the limit of ripeness, and because he's making ripe wines, uses little or no dosage. Egly is acknowledged as the finest grower in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, with an average vine age of 45 years. The Brut Tradition has a beautiful onion-skin color and that chalky, chocolaty opulence that can only come from old-vine Pinot Noir. 48 months on the lees before disgorgement.
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.”
The NV Brut Tradition Grand Cru is gorgeous. Rich, resonant and expressive on the palate, but with the freshness that is now part of the house style, the Brut Tradition is wonderfully complete. Dried pear, smoke, crushed flowers and chamomile are finely-knit in this super-appealing, mid-weight Champagne. The current release spent 54 months on its lees, which is decidedly on the long side for a wine in its peer group. Then again, long aging is one of the things that distinguishes these very special, artisan Champagnes from the pack. Disgorged: January 2017.
The NV Brut Tradition Grand Cru is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from Ambonnay that is disgorged after four years on the lees. The recent release is based on the 2010 vintage and was disgorged in 2015 with three or four grams of dosage. It is a very clear and finesse-full, but also complex and firmly structured cuvée with grip, tension and a long finish.
Rich and compact, this mouthwatering version opens on the creamy palate, with aromas and flavors of dried apricot, roasted almond, cherry blossoms and honeycomb expanding through the lasting, salty finish. Disgorged November 2021. Drink now.