Œnothèque: Our library of previous Champagnes of the Month

August 2013

 

Our cuvée of the month for August comes from a wonderful champagne creator: Jérôme Prévost located in the pretty village of Gueux at the foot of the Petite Montagne de Reims. Champagne La Closerie, Cuvée Les Beguines is a wine of true class and artistry.

 

Before describing this stunning wine in more detail, it is first important to understand its birth. Jérôme Prévost inherited the family holdings of 2.2 hectares in 1987 when aged just 21. For the first eleven years he had to sell his grapes to the local cooperative before boldly taking those first steps to produce his own champagne in 1998. As a student of the legendary Anselme Selosse, he was assisted in the early years by the man himself and also with the use of his Avize winery. From early in the millennium, winemaking has taken place back at Jérôme’s small estate in Gueux.

 

The aged vines, planted in the 1960’s are worked biodynamically, the soil by plough and fermentation takes place in fût de chênes. Dosage is negligible and malolatic fermentation is allowed to take place naturally. The wine is predominantly Pinot Meunier (93.1%), a variety that can be much maligned by many in the champagne World. It is completed with a little each of Chardonnay (2.3%), Pinot Noir (2.3%) and Pinot Gris (2.3%).

 

Having read write-ups of his wines, we keenly searched for a bottle but were unable to track any down for a number of years. For us it had begun to take on mythological powers, our “holy grail” if you like, such was our desire to taste it. Our quest was finally accomplished thanks to the superb Épernay shop Le 520 in April this year. Finally we had our hands on some bottles of what had been our most sought after cuvée.

 

Despite the consistent rave reviews, our feeling was akin to meeting a hero or idol. Would it live up to the hype and our exalted expectation? Our date with destiny was Monday 22nd July, when I eased the cork from the discreetly decorated bottle to be greeted by wonderfully rich and complex aromas. The wine is intense and decadent with a spicy exuberance yet remains sophisticated. Deeply gold in colour with an almost pinkish hue it has buttery brioche and toasty hints.

 

Dare I say that Cuvée Les Beguines was everything we could have hoped for and more. It is a truly great champagne capable of stopping time, becoming the very heart of the moment for when you taste it; nothing else matters.

 

In the right hands Pinot Meunier can be sublime and Jérôme Prévost certainly has the right hands!

 

Purchased for €49.00 (now €57.00)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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