Our cuvée of the month for January which helped us see in the New Year comes from Champagne Vilmart of Rilly-la-Montagne on the Montagne de Reims.
The Vilmart vineyards at Rilly-la-Montagne and Villers-Allerand are “only” rated as Premier Cru but the grapes are grown organically and their wines are simply superb. The 1997 Grand Cellier d’Or was produced in a year that was not regarded as one of the better vintages but this wine defies its origins.
Consisting of 20% Pinot Noir and 80% Chardonnay from vineyards in Rilly-la-Montagne, this wine is extremely rich, intense and unctuous yet with good acidity helped by an avoidance of malolatic fermentation.
Vinification is mostly carried out in large oak barrels for 10 months where the technique of bâtonnage is used to bring richness to the wine. It is aged for a minimum of 5 years and dosage is 9 grams per litre. Giving hints of spice it fills the mouth with a flavour reminiscent of fig tart.
We purchased this cuvée from Champagne Vilmart in 2006 and it has kept superbly despite our lack of a cellar. The current vintage (2006) is available direct for €32 and represents fantastic value for money.
For any Champagne enthusiast: Vilmart is a house that must be experienced. Every cuvée is delicious and the vintages offer a real treat.
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