mid-week magnums: large format champagne poured by the glass, 4pm - until we run out
Why drink out of a magnum? Magnums are one and a half liters, twice a standard 750mL bottle. The reason magnum is the ideal format for enjoying your favorite bubble beverage has to do with the relationship between volume and oxidation. Wine corks are watertight but not airtight. They allow for the slow and steady passage of oxygen gas in and out of the bottles which contributes to the ageing of the wine. Magnums have twice the volume of a regular bottle but roughly the same diameter neck, which means that they age slower and more steadily. You can expect greater freshness from older vintages when drinking champagne from a magnum. Additionally, magnums are usually bottled first with the best barrel selection, so you’re likely to find better juice in there from the get go. Cheers!
August 1: Camille Savès Cuvée Carte Blanche, $17/glass
75% Pinot Noir from Grand Crus in Bouzy, Ambonnay and Tous-sur-Marne, 25% Chardonnay from Premier Cru terroir in Tauxières. The grapes are hand picked and gently pressed. The must is cold-clarified before undergoing thermoregulated fermentation at 18 degrees Celcius without malolactic fermentation. The wine is vinified on the lees for 7 months before bottling with an additional 3 to 4 years ageing in bottle before disgorgement. It receives a 9g dosage.
Intense golden color with very fine and persistent bead. The wine combines the power and structure of Pinot noir with the elegance and finesse of Chardonnay, bringing together red fruit flavors and white flower aromas. Rich on the palate with bright acidity and a crisp finish.
August 8th: Roger Coulon Cuvée de Réserve de l’Hommée, $21/glass
Eric and Isabelle Coulon are the representatives of the eighth generation of the Coulon family to be engaged as recoltant-manipulants, producing Champagne from Vrigny and the surrounding villages in the northwest corner of the Montagne de Reims. Since 1806, this family has gradually increased its holdings so that there are now 10 hectares under vines, almost all located within the 1er Cru rated villages of Vrigny, Coulommes and Pargny, about 10 kilometers distance from Reims.
Production at Champagne Roger Coulon is approximately 90,000 bottles per year. The vineyards are planted 40% to Pinot Meunier, 30% to Pinot Noir and 30% to Chardonnay. The average age of the vines is 38 years, a rarity in Champagne where old vines, and the limited production that is the result thereof, are often considered a curse rather than a blessing. Further, the vineyards are planted by the selection massale process rather than with modern clones. No herbicides are used and harvest is done manually. The juice from the red grapes is fermented and aged in stainless steel but much of the Chardonnay is fermented in small oak barrels (not new). Only the natural, indigenous yeasts are used.
The Réserve de l’Hommée 1er Cru is aged for five years prior to disgorgement; an equal blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, the last of which is barrel aged for seven months; selected from vineyards in Vrigny and Pargny; this cuvée is yeasty and rich with a bold expression of terroir and is named for the ancient measure of vineyard work performed manually by a single person in a single day.
August 15th: Louis Roederer Brut Premier, $22/glass
After the upheavals of the early 1900s, particularly the First World War that destroyed more than half of the Louis Roederer estate, Léon Olry Roederer reconstructed the vineyards. He decided to buy grapes to ensure the continuity of the House during this difficult period and, at the same time, created a multi-vintage wine that would have a consistent flavour, whatever the harvest year. It is now called Brut Premier.
A blend of around 40% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier, Brut Premier comprises wine matured in oak tuns produced from three Champagne grape varieties that originate from various crus selected by Louis Roederer. It is aged for 3 years in Louis Roederer’s cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement.
Striking a perfect balance between youthfulness and maturity, seduction and character, freshness and vinosity, Brut Premier is a champagne that is harmonious and structured, elegant and lively, with a unique exuberancy. Its structured texture, richness, and length are distinctly winey. It is a full, complex wine that is both rich and powerful, whilst remaining a great classic.
August 22nd: Bourgeois-Diaz 3C, $17/glass
Jérôme Bourgeois-Diaz is a 4th generation vigneron who has been making some of the most compelling Champagne in Crouttes-sur-Marne, on the banks of the Marne River halfway between Paris and Reims.
He farms 7 hectares of vines that average 35 years of age in the clay and limestone soils the region is known for. Jérôme is deeply committed to biodynamic farming, having gained certification by Demeter in 2015, meaning herbicides, fungicides, and all other sprayings are strictly prohibited. He allows for native, wild plants to intersperse the rows, which make his vineyards look like an oasis of green in an otherwise conventionally farmed area. Care is taken during the harvest to adhere to Pierre Masson’s lunar calendar and all vineyard work is done by hand. His practices are easily the most old-school approach to viticulture in the region that we know of. The “3C” cuvée is made to reflect all terroirs and grapes at the domaine. A blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay, it has a perfect balance of fruit and minerality. 3g/L dosage.
August 29th: Lallier Grand Reserve Grand Cru, $18/glass
Made from 100% Grand Cru grapes, of which 65% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and Verzenay and 35% Chardonnay from Avize and Cramant, the Brut is an intoxicating blend of 70% of the most recent vintage with 30% reserve wine, matured 24 to 36 months in our cellars. With 9 g/L dosage and 3 to 5 months rest between disgorgement and shipping, the Lallier Brut features a fine golden-yellow color and delicate buttery brioche aromas with hints of apricot and crusty bread. With its creamy mouthfeel, incredible balance, and remarkable minerality, this wine represents a truly remarkable value.