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Our “Champagne of the Month” to welcome in the new decade is produced by Olivier Paulet of Champagne Hubert Paulet. Olivier has around 8 hectares at his disposal all located within the village limits of Rilly-la-Montagne on the Grande Montagne de Reims. He currently produces around 25,000 bottles per year with his remaining grapes being sold. However, plans are afoot to increase production with building works taking place when we visited in April. This will enable Olivier the space and facilities to increase storage. Good news as his excellent wines are often in short supply!
We first tasted Olivier’s Pinot Noir 2004 when we visited at his domaine at the conclusion of Champagne Week 2019. We have long been fans of his unctuous cuvée Risléus and indeed his style is very much one of generosity with wines that are deep and full-flavoured. Extra aging is certainly one of the defining factors and dosages that are a little higher than perhaps is the norm among his contemporaries. Partial malolactic fermentation gives the best of both Worlds and 9 months vinification in fûts provides that rich deliberate oxidative style. Having said all that, the wines retain an abundance of minerality and therefore the balance is bang on. The Pinot Noir 2004 is still an extra brut with around 5-6gl. Disgorged in 2016 it has spent 11 years evolving on the lees. Less than 1000 bottles were produced. Alcohol is at 12% abv.
Tasted: 25th December 2019 at 15:30 (flower day in the lunar calendar)
Appearance: Pale, gold.
Characteristics: Pronounced intensity with primary aromas of lemon rind, orange peel, chamomile, violet, red apple, raspberry, wild strawberry, red cherry, bramble, blueberry, cantaloupe melon, lychee, passion fruit and mineral. There are secondary notes of shortbread biscuit, bread dough, freshly baked bread, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, butterscotch, toast, charred wood, chocolate, carob and coffee. Tertiary aromas include dried apple, marzipan, hazelnut, walnut, marmalade, hay, honey, tobacco, earthy, toffee apple and chausson. The mousse is delicate and the finish is most definitely long.
This is a truly hedonistic champagne, an utter joy to savour. It is drinking perfectly now and will probably be at is best for the next two years. That said; we would be curious to see its evolution over a longer period of additional aging.
Price circa €47.00