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Our “Champagne of the Month” for June is produced by Agnès Corbon from the village of Avize on the Côte des Blancs. Whilst she has 6 hectares at her disposal it is the 1.1 hectares behind the family home in Avize that takes centre stage for this wine; the average age of the vines here is 43 years. Whilst her Avize wines have the finesse you would expect having been crafted from this famous terroir, they also pack some serious flavour. Agnès is a warm, open and gregarious person and it is fair to say that her champagnes suit her personality perfectly!
Les Bacchantes 2009 is playfully named after her father Claude’s favourite facial accessory and the moustache is depicted on the label. A vintage 2009 consisting of 100% Chardonnay from Avize, vinification took place in oak barrels where malolactic fermentation was allowed to occur. The wine did not undergo cold stabilization and was neither fined nor filtered; it was bottled after 10 months in July 2010. At this point the wine takes two different paths: 844 bottles were sealed with a Mytik cork and aged for 6 years and 7 months sous liège whilst the remaining 867 bottles were sealed with a crown cap. The wines were disgorged in February 2017 with 5gl dosage before being laid down for a further 15 months prior to release. Alcohol is at 12% abv.
The idea of sealing a bottle with a cork during the second fermentation is to allow some oxygen transfer to react with the wine. This might be considered a curious option when sealing the bottle with a Mytik cork as the company has produced a practically infallible product. That said, we tasted the two wines side by side with Agnès and they were considerably different so somehow this process still works! You can always tell a bottle which has been aged in this manner as the cork requires clamping with staples and for this reason the bottles are produced with a thicker band around the neck.
Tasted 17:50 Thursday 21st May 2020 (root day in the lunar calendar)
Characteristics: Pronounced intensity with primary aromas of honeysuckle, nettles, green apple, gooseberry, pink grapefruit, lemon zest, lemon juice, mandarin, lychee, passion fruit, mango, pineapple, baked apple, star anise and mint. There are secondary notes of biscuit, short crust pastry, fresh bread dough, toasted brioche, orange buttercream, vanilla, butterscotch and cloves. Tertiary aromas include almond, cobnut, caramel, marmalade, dried apple, dried banana, cinnamon, ginger, hay, honey and candy floss. The mousse is delicate and the finish is long.
Whilst this champagne is drinking excellently now it would definitely be suitable for further ageing.
Another cracking wine from Agnès, she still has some 2009 left and the 2010 incarnation is expected to be released sometime in 2021. This champagne is well worth seeking out; it is well suited for gastronomy or simply taking the time to sample the pleasure that Les Bacchantes 2009 delivers.
Price circa €45.00