Georges Vesselle makes one of my favourite NV Champagnes. From Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy they craft a Champagne with depth and power. Generous flavours and long finishing. Georges Vesselle uses 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The deep, chalky subsoil is the key to the quality of the Georges Vesselle Champagnes.
[box]Georges Vesselle Bouzy Brut Grand Cru NV and all wines are eligible for at least 5% off any six bottles. And 10% off any 12 bottles. Some wines will be at a more significant discount and not subject to further discounts.[/box]
At the foot of the Montagne de Reims, Domaine Georges Vesselle has 17 hectares. The Georges Vesselle holdings are spread halfway up the hillside around the village, the exposition being perfect to ensure optimal wine quality. All of their vineyards are Grand Cru which shows in the final quality.
Georges Vesselle was Mayor of Bouzy for 25 years. Georges was also vineyard manager for Mumm, Perrier-Jouet and Heidsieck Monopole. The innovations Georges introduced include spraying by helicopter, laser-driven planting machines, in-vitro cultivation. In the 1980s, he pioneered the introduction of vineyards in India. Two of Georges Vesselle’s children now run the family estate.
Georges Vesselle Bouzy Brut Grand Cru NV Winery Notes
Must be served between 7 and 9° C. Golden-colour, very fine bubbles, it expresses mineral freshness, followed by strong aromas of matured fruits. The noble origin of the grapes gives a powerful and fine feeling in mouth. A racy, simple wine. To enjoy now for the liveliness and the exceptional freshness of its aromas.
A wine region of France approximately 160km East of Paris. It is also the name of the wines produced from the area. Most famously, it is a sparkling wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and aging on lees (the dead yeast cells). Although there is the occasional still wine, you can find around, particularly Pinot Noir. The fantastically named Bouzy Rouge is one such example. There are very few single vintage, single vineyard, single variety Champagnes. I can only name one – Salon. And it was produced only 47 times between 1900 and 1999. Why? Due to the large area the region covers and the challenging weather, the houses blended wines to produce a consistent and reliable product every year. This is where the growers come in. They relish the chance to show off vintage variation and small plot wines.
These wines are based on one vintage but will contain ‘Reserve Wine’. Reserve wine old stocks that they keep specifically to blend into the Non-Vintage wine. The purpose is to have a consistent and reliable drink every time someone buys their NV. NV Champagne must spend 12 months on lees at a minimum and 15 months in the bottle before releases. Most quality houses age their Champagne for much longer than that to achieve the desired level of Autolysis.
The NV style came to be as a way to use the grapes that weren’t perfectly ripe. Champagne was so marginal of climate that it was unlikely they would get a drinkable wine every. Holding on to that wine and blending it across multiple vintages allowed them to use the grapes and make an agreeable style.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one-trick pony; it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too. Adding body, perfume and richness to Champagne, it also adds red berry and floral/rose petal notes along with spice and subtle layers.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to, and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool-climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring, as can malolactic fermentation. In a Champagne context, Chard can add mineral flavours, stone fruits and acidity along with some weight of fruit.
Meunier is most famous for adding body and richness to the wines of Champagne. The trade-off is it tends to make the Champagnes age quicker and is therefore often left out of Prestige Cuvées. Not usually found in still table wine production.
The land that so many New World (not European) wine producers look to emulate. To generalise about French wine, I would say it is savoury, lighter-bodied wines. They are the definition of elegant, complex. There are many styles, though. And there is a French wine for every palate. They lead the world in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. Sparkling Wine in Champagne. Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux. Syrah(Shiraz) and Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley. Gamay in Beaujolais.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fizz, bubby, bubbles. It is a wine with bubbles in it. There are many ways to put the bubbles in and many styles and flavours you can find. Important to know that you should never buy cheap Sparkling. Champagne is still the quality leader of the world. But great Sparkling can be found in Moscato (sweet), Prosecco, Franciacorta (Italy), Cava (Spain), Australia, New Zealand, Loire Valley and Burgundy Cremant (France).
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I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.