On Thursday last week we held the launch of Champagne J.M.Labryuere – I’ll be honest it wasn’t like a “normal” Champagne launch – no glitz or gizmos! We simply hosted a lunch and a dinner and let Edouard Labruyere tell the story of a new estate. For quite a few write-ups on other estates in this select “famille” have a look HERE.
The house as a whole – The vines are 100% family owned making them a recoltant manipulant. The term they use on the label of “Proprietaire de Vignes” will have been hard fought and emphasises that they are making wines from terroir (all these wines are only from Verzenay – a village of 500ha where 85% is sold to the big houses) rather than blending (the mainstay of Champagne). The vines they own and use are 100% Grand Cru. The team is made up of Edouard himself, Nadine Gublin (oenologist) and Vincent Van Waesberghe (chef de cave and chef de culture). All three of these wines could have been released as 2012 vintage (a lauded vintage already) as they are made of 90% 2012, and 5% each 2010 & 2011. All were served from bottle, magnums will be released later (I guess 18-24months time but that is TBC). These are Champagnes with a low dosage which emphasises the minerality and drive of them (many of the “big” houses are in the 7-11gram range and sometimes higher for rose…different from what you’ll see below). There is masses more I could say but lets get to the three wines – in the order we served them.
Champagne J.M.Labryuere Page Blanche, Blanc de Blancs NV – 100% Chardonnay, from Les Rochelles (in Verzenay) which is 1.5ha with 65yr old vines, the dosage is 3.2grams with 2 years lees ageing. Only 10 barrels made. Really refined and lazer focused. This really needs time in the glass now but has a really effortless persistence and moreish saline element. There is a real depth.
Champagne J.M.Labryuere Prologue Brut NV – 70% Pinot Noir & 30% Chardonnay, from Verzenay, the dosage is 4.8grams with 3 years lees ageing. This is a style I love, good zippiness from the Chardonnay and a richer, more substantial edge from the Pinot. The balance is superb and this is a great wine with food as well as alone. Where the Page Blanche has a hint of Grand Cru Chablis about it this is firmly Cote D’Or Grand Cru – Batard-Montrachet possibly. As an aside I took a bottle that was 80% full home after the dinner (Thursday) and had glass on Friday and Saturday night to follow it – it was only getting better! Serve in a wine glass and allow to come up gradually in temperature. Pretty special.
Champagne J.M.Labryuere Anthologie Rose NV – This is made in the assemblage method which means it is 93% Prologue (above) blended with 7% red wine from the Champagne village of Bouzy (“the” renowned red wine village of Champagne). The dosage is 6.4grams with almost 3 years lees ageing. This immediately makes you think of redder fruits and fruit in general but then the structure and the nice dryness make you very aware that with is chewily moreish and not a purely flirtatious wine. It manages to avoid the two “mistakes” (as I see it) of rose Champagne – it is neither two “sweet” nor is it a normal Brut with just a different colour. I really like this. I kept re-tasting…complexity in spades.
As ever I am biased but this is a very exciting arrival on the Champagne scene!
At both meals we started with a DJP white and ended on a Domaine Labruyere Moulin-a-Vent:
Beaune Blanc 1er Cru 2013, Domaine Jacques Prieur – The whites from DJP in 2013 are amongst the most balanced and appreciable I know (in general many 2013 White Burgs have rather searingly high acidity). This has a lovely generosity of fruit and texture but with a lemon and lime acidity that keeps it focused. Drinking it now on its own feels nicely hedonistic. I think it would probably be perfect with more richer dishes and would work very well with cheese too.
Moulin-a-Vent Champ de Cour 2013, Domaine Labruyere – This was universally liked, in one way this is because many people do not expect so much moreish complexity from young Gamay but also because it is just so earthy and fruited in a degraded sense…I’d love to age some of this but if it ends up at home it will just get drunk! (a good sign).