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Our “Champagne of the Month” for December 2017 comes from sister and brother Aurélie and Loïc of Champagne Barrat-Masson, located in the village of Villenauxe-la-Grande in the Sézannes.
Cultivating 7 hectares of vines in the villages of Villenauxe-la-Grande and Bethon, approximately 13,000 bottles are produced annually. The vines are worked biodynamically and in the winery, a mixture of stainless steel – Cuve Inox and oak – fûts and demi-muids are used. Partial malolactic fermentation is carried out and the wines are neither fined nor filtered. Disgorgement is carried out by hand in the traditional method known as à la volée.
Grain d’Argile is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the emphasis on the 2012 harvest. The wine is bottled as extra brut but there is no added dosage. Alcohol is 12% abv.
Tasted: 23rd November 2017
Appearance: Clear, pale, lemon.
Flavour characteristics: Medium (+) intensity with primary notes of green and red apple, grapefruit, lemon peel, gooseberry, baked pear, mirabelle plum, raspberry, hawthorn and baobab. Secondary aromas of brioche, short crust pastry and yeast from autolysis along with vanilla and butterscotch from oak. There are tertiary notes of honey, toffee, almond and hazelnut.
Acidity is high with medium body, a creamy mousse and a medium (+) finish. The wine is still developing and whilst it drinks perfectly well now, it could benefit from some further ageing in a cellar. It is ideally suited as an aperitif with its racy acidity and would also partner dishes such as veal in lemon butter sauce.
Grain d’Argile is delicious and whilst we try not to use the term “value for money” – at around €27.00…..well it certainly is!