So this Saturday I was invited to my champagne-friends ‘Matthieu’ and ‘Patricia’ are some real Champagne-Nerds … Last summer they gathered a grand collection of Champagnes from producers in Avize.
THE VILLAGES – Avizes eastern slopes are entirely covered with chardonnay. The grapes that come from the steep slopes provide finer and delicate wines, but in a grape mix, the sturdy little wine from the relatively flat land below the village fulfill its function. In general Avize gives a bit heavier wines than the more fragrant Cramant and Le Mesnil. The village is teeming not directly by some top growers besides demo producer Anselme Selosse. Jacquesson’s D.T. is a pure Avize-champagne that showcase the village’s powerful style in a highly concentrated form. In the famous cuvée préstige from the big houses are often much Chardonnay from Avize. The cultivated area is 455 acres and provides more than 1 million bottles a year.
FRANCK BONVILLE ’CUVÉE PRÉSTIGE BLANC de BLANCS’ Avize / Champagne / France / Franck Bonville / Swedish importer: Vinivativa / 100CH / LG 79(83) TASTINGNOTE ‘A mixture of Avize and Oger. A slightly thicker character than the vintage wine, but of course nicely full-bodied and plump.’ See sommelier Worldchampion 2007 Andreas Larsson taste the Champagne.
de SOUSA ’RÉSERVE BRUT BLANC de BLANCS’ Avize / Champagne / France / de Sousa / Swedish importer: Viña Española / 100CH / LG 82(84) TASTINGNOTE ‘A good, nutty, concentrated standard champagne with nice fullness of body and more than decent length. Somewhat more maturity than the blended standard wine. Grapes from Avize and Oger.’
VARNIER-FANNIÈRE ’MILLÉSIME’ 2004 Avize / Champagne / France / Varnier-Fannières / Swedish importer: okänd / 100CH / LG 87(91) TASTINGNOTE ‘An incredibly rich essence of the grape harvest of the oldest 60-year-old vines. Even in a lightweight and stylish year 2004 is struck by the high concentration and intensity of the wine. A heat of ripe apples, spices and caramel pours in and fills the senses. Very good.’
VARNIER-FANNIÈRE ’MILLÉSIME’ 2005 Avize / Champagne / France / Varnier-Fannières / Swedish importer: okänd / 100CH / LG 85(90) TASTINGNOTE ‘Not quite on par with 2004, but still a really good elegant Champagne.’
ASSAILY-LECLERC ’MILLÉSIME’ 2005 Avize / Champagne / France / Assaily-Leclerc / Swedish importer: okänd / 100CH / LG 84(88) TASTINGNOTE ‘From 60-year-old logs gives this wine a sharp and honey dripping sap with delicious dark exotic fruit. More impressive in taste than smell so far.’
PETIT-BAJAN ’NUITS BLANCHE’ Avize / Champagne / France / Petit-Bajan / Swedish importer: okänd / 100CH / LG 87(90) TASTINGNOTE ‘Next door to Anselme Selosse inside Avize. Newly married with a woman from Aÿ. Working with minimization of oxidation. Cool Fermentation at 14-20 degress C. No malolactic fermentation. Dosage 5grams/litre.’
PETIT-BAJAN ’AMBROISIE’ Avize / Champagne / France / Petit-Bajan / Swedish importer: okänd / 100CH / LG 89(92) TASTINGNOTE ‘mediumbodied with rich creamyness. Slightly too short in the aftertaste.’
LE BRUN SERVENAY ’BRUT MILLÉSIME VIEILLES VIGNES’ 2003 Avize / Champagne / France / Le Brun Servenay / Swedish importer: okänd / 100CH / LG 75(78) TASTINGNOTE ‘This grapes are picked from the 40-80 year old vines. In 2003 80% of their crop was destroyed the 10 & 11 april and then there was a very hot summer. No malolaktiskt fermentation. Dosage 6 g / l. Initially interesting nose but over time it becomes a little awkward and insipid.’
FRANCK BONVILLE ’LES BELLE VOYES’ (2000/2001) Avize / Champagne / France / Franck Bonville / Swedish importer: Vinivativa / 100CH / LG 90(92) TASTINGNOTE ‘Somewhat more sophisticated even than the first edition of this wine, in fact. I am fascinated by how beautifully the clean, new, oak barrel tone plays its distinctive instrument without influencing the purity of the wine in any way apart from that. That is to say it is not an integrated oakiness as one normally strives for, but a separated oak tone, which most often gives wines that are too oaky and porridgy. In this case, however, it simply provides some lovely, uplifting spice.’
de SOUSA ’CUVÉE de CAUDALIE ROSÉ’ Avize / Champagne / France / de Sousa / Swedish importer: Vinovativa / 10PN 90CH / LG 78(92) TASTINGNOTE ‘With 100% oak barrel fermentation. De Sousa wanted to give power to this creation. Radiant floral, intense smoky and roasted colorful wine. Buy if you come across it, age it!’
FRANCK BONVILLE ’ROSÉ’ Avize / Champagne / France / Franck Bonville / Swedish importer: Vinovativa / 12PN 88CH / LG 58(60) TASTINGNOTE ‘As usual when skilled growers from Chardonnay Villages are tempted to make a rosé is the firm’s worst wine. Where did the elegance go? A few moments in the glass, freshness and alertness, but pretty quickly it has nice primary fruit that is turned into a little unclear and earthy clumsiness. Very candy-flavored and similar raspberry soda despite the 12% Pinot Noir grapes come from Dethune in Ambonnay.’
SELOSSE ’VERSION INITIAL’ dégorgement 23juillet’12 Avize / Champagne / France / Selosse / Swedish importer: Franska vinlistan / 100CH / LG 92(93) TASTINGNOTE ‘The same wine as Tradition with a new name. Selosse’s youngest Champagne needs a few months after being disgorged for it to develop those Selosse aromas that are so hard to describe. Undoubtedly a great Champagne which with time will both taste and smell of Brazil nuts. As refreshing as an Arctic sea breeze. Oaky and potent, with pear, apple, and oriental spice aromas.’
SELOSSE ’VERSION ORIGINALE’ dégorgement 23juillet’12 Avize / Champagne / France / Selosse / Swedish importer: Franska vinlistan / 100CH / LG 93(94) TASTINGNOTE ‘RJ’s own house Champagne! Disgorged after five years in the cellar and without any dosage, this wine demands one more year in the bottle to round off that sharp malic acidity. Loads of peaches, mango, and nutty barrel tones. No one knows how good this wine can become, but between ten and fifteen years after disgorging should be a perfect period of storage. An exceptional nonvintage Champagne. The same wine as Extra Brut with a new name. As yet, a little too young, but with an enormous integral power and fantastic acidity. Too oaky for some. Some bottles fully matured.’
SELOSSE ’SUBSTANCE’ dégorgement 23 novembre’11 Avize / Champagne / France / Selosse / Swedish importer: Franska vinlistan / 100CH / LG 95(95) TASTINGNOTE ‘The first Champagne to be wholly vinified in new oak barrels—a practice that, as you know, many others have now adopted. After decanting, the oak was integrated and the wine became much like a white Burgundy. A new name for the Solera wine from Selosse. First Origine, then Substance—why not just call it Solera? There is, of course, a certain difference, because the wine changes slightly from year to year, depending on the youngest and most recent vintage used as an addition. The wine is still somewhat oakier and younger, but has a very clean and pure tart base to stand on. It would be wonderful to have a tasting with all of the different Solera blends made by Amselme, ever since the ’87 was poured into the steel tank in which all the wines are mixed. Better and better!’