We didn't get around to properly toasting the New Year with bubbly until noon today, popping the cork on a deluxe bottle from a favorite Récoltant-Manipulant producer, Cécile Grongnet.
She's based in the village of Étoges, just south of the Côte de Blancs, where she and her father Guy have a small property, just under 35 acres. She's a member of the Club Trésors de Champagne, a group of 26 like-minded grower/makers who occasionally produce a prestige cuvée called “Special Club.” Click here to find out how the club works.
Champagne Grongnet Special Club 2008: This was fermented in foudres (1,200 gallon oak casks) and left on the lees for a good long while before bottling. I don't know the exact proportions, but since Grongnet is highly regarded for Chardonnay, I'll guess it is the highest proportion of the blend. On the nose: orange zest, fresh pear, dried honey, almond, and lots of lees-y, toasty notes, followed by flavors of pear, lemon, and honey, a strong core of acidity, mouthfilling texture (thanks to time on lees), and a long mineralic finish. Like her regular NV bottling, the attraction is one of balance and finesse more than power. It was a fine brunch accompaniment, and the feeling that we had begun 2014 well brightened the outlook of all at the table. Happy New Year! (This is about $60 at the Asheville Wine Market.)