The Grande Reserve Brut is a non vintage wine that spends four and half years on lees then a further six months post disgorgement before being released. This helps to balance out the taut acidity that comes from not putting the grapes through malolactic fermentation. This wine is lean, crisp and citrusy with hints of white flowers and just a touch of toastiness. This is the quintessential aperitif style Champagne.
Established in 1584, Gosset is one of the smallest Grande Marque Champagne producers. Whilst the Champagne that they produce has never been plentiful in quantity, they have distinguished themselves with the consistently superb quality. This is true throughout the entire range of Champagne they produce. Remaining a family owned house, the Gosset family sold the business to the Cointreau family nearly 20 years ago.
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 is aged on lees. 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 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.
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 often found in still table wine production.