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Champagne - New, Notable, Not Much of It
Bollinger PN VZ 16 + Thomas Perseval
October 2, 2021
This season nature and economics have created a perfect storm of factors that have lowered stocks and raised prices of nearly all champagnes. A year ago, many producers anticipating lower demand due to Covid reduced their bottlings. With market rebounding, they are now caught short.
Frost and mildew have severely reduced yields in the last few vintages. This last year some small producers were wiped out. All are raising prices to cover their future losses.
COVID-induced transport bottlenecks have increased shipping costs, made arrival dates uncertain, and reduced supplies from Europe (not just champagne.)
We are stocking and securing as much champagne as we can, but supplies of some will not last through the holiday season. As we become more certain of supply, we will be sending out a series of emails for our best choices for value and quantity at our Holiday discounts.
If you have any favorite champagnes, we suggest you secure them at offer. We will do our best to fill any special requests.
This week rarer wines from three unique houses of top quality, All are definitely in short supply.
Bollinger PN VZ 16
"Readers who enjoy Blanc de Noirs will adore the PN VZ 16"
Our offer of the PN VZ 15, the first release of this wine, sold out quickly. We have less than we would like of this cuvee's second release. It is all Pinot Noir – hence PN. Half of the grapes come from Grand Cru Verzenay – VZ. The base year is 2016, November Arrival.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous "Soft, open-knit and wonderfully inviting PN VZ 16 is a worthy follow up to the sublime 2015 that launched this new Blanc de Noirs in the Bollinger range last year. Sweet red cherry, Mirabelle, spice, mint, and dried flowers all grace this wonderfully translucent, expressive Blanc de Noirs. North-facing sites in Verzenay that confer tension and energy make up about half the blend, with wines from Aÿ, Bouzy, and Louvois playing supporting roles. Vinification is done in equal parts steel and oak. This release is based on 2016 (50% of the blend), with reserve wines that go back to 2006, including 23% from reserve magnums. Readers who enjoy Blanc de Noirs will adore the PN VZ 16. I find the interplay of vibrancy and the creamier notes that are so typical of the house style to be incredibly appealing. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.
Bollinger Brut PN VZ 16 Reg $130
Prearrival $115, Special Case of 6, $630 ($105)
Arrival Scheduled for November
We Have Some More of One of Our Favorite Growers
"Generous with a capital G, full of gourmandise and authenticity."
We shy away from the wine press catchphrases "like "emerging superstar," but Thomas Perseval might well be that. You may not have heard of him – he makes only about a thousand cases a year of all cuvees.
Perseval is in the third generation of a vine-growing family in Chamery, a 1er Cru village in the Montagne de Reims. In the 00s, he returned from winemaking school and a stage in Burgundian biodynamics with ideas that put him in the forefront of the younger generation's revolution in winemaking, one that is interested in a more natural, more vinous champagnes that better express terroir and vintage
He is both organic and biodynamic, a laissez-faire" minimalist in the cellar. Healthier grapes reduce the need for sulfur and dosage, the sugary additive that covers over nature's flaws but mutes the expression of grape and land. Thomas leaves his wines at least eight months of élèvage on lees in barrel.
This year we still have bottles of four of his five cuvees. All are Brut Nature, with no dosage. His Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier champagnes have the power and precision Agrapart or Laval express in Chardonnay or Meunier, a vibrant minerality surrounded by ripe fruit. Malolactic fermentation happens naturally with these wines, yet they maintain good acidity and superb balance due to Thomas's efforts in the vines.
His Premier Cru Tradition.blends pinot noir, pinot Meunier, and a bit chardonnay. Raised in enamel and barrel, it shows great depth and complexity for a primary assemblage, emphasizing minerality, structure, crisp acidity, and breadth on the palate.
Gault & Millau– "superb pure and direct fruit. Fine spicy notes emerge with air. The absence of dosage permits a beautiful evolution showing white fruits (apples & pears). The mouth is as inviting. The approach is more authentic than complex, the winemaking in the spirit of burgundies, without reserve wines. $65 Four cases left pack of 6 $330, $55
Grand Cuvee is a non-vintage reserve, with a third of each of the grapes. "The mouth is sapid and saline. A chalky finish follows beautiful notes of fresh-cut apple and pear. Very ripe, this would go nicely with brasserie cuisine" Gault et Millau$85 bottles only
Perseval Single Vineyard Wines
2017 La Pucelle, at the same time, is the finest and the most rigorous of his cuvees. It is a Blanc de Noirs of 85% Pinot Meunier and 15% Pinot Noir. The vineyard is 70-year-old vines planted on clay and limestone. Perseval ages it in barrel for eight months and then gives it just shy of four years on the lees. It is a compelling wine with great intensity and assertive minerality. I would decant it to drink now, but it will age and get better for five to 10 years if well stored. $95 Net Bottles only
2015 Le Hazat Blanc de Noirs, all Pinot Noir grown on sand clay & limestone some cherry and forest floor notes. Five years on the lees. $95 Bottles only
Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: email@example.com
- Len Rothenberg
downtown on orders more than $75;
in Greater Boston on orders more than $175