2014 Vilmart & Cie, Grand Cellier d’Or, Brut Champagne, Blances Voies, Rilly-la-Montagne 1er Cru, France.
The thrilling 2014 vintage Brut Grand Cellier d’Or by Laurent Champs of Champagne Vilmart & Cie is a gorgeous wine that proves this is going to be a much better year for top bubbly than people may have thought, it shows bright intensity, fine detail, mineral tones and vinous grace on the palate. This latest collection of Vilmart is simply gorgeous stuff with amazingly pure flavors and delicacy along with lively freshness, especially this stunning 2014 vintage Grand Cellier d’Or Brut with its vivid apple and lemon fruits and subtlety divine leesy character and ultra fine mousse. This beauty gains with air and fill out richly on the palate and the beading bubbles are invigorating and creamy helping with the impression of energy and luxuriousness, while liquid mineral, brioche, hazelnut and white flowers all add to the depth and complexity. This one, with its vitality and wet stones or chalky finesse was may favorite of the main line of this set of bottlings imported by the famous grower fizz guru Terry Theise and while outstanding own its own it has the substance and structure to be a center piece wine with food, as are all of Champs’ bubbly, it is of course tasty with spicy prawns and or briny/salty caviar.
Laurent Champs is an absolute master at his craft and his Champagne is one of the world’s great wines, it was a great pleasure and honor to have tasted with him on many occasions, including as recently as last month when I sampled his current releases, and as mentioned they are all delicious, elegant and sophisticated sparklers that offer terroir driven brilliance and stylish opulence. The Vilmart Champagnes are true grower producer wines and this one comes from estate grown organic vines from a single Lieu-Dit “Blances Voies” in the Premier Cru Rilly-la-Montagne area. Laurent, who is the fifth generation at Vilmart, which was founded by Desire Vilmart in 1890 as a recoltant-manipulant, used 65 year old ungrafted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to craft this cuvee, fermenting and aging the grapes in a combination of wood vessels including large foudre, demi muids and some barriques. Champs chose 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and allowed it to age on the lees for 48 months and used zero malo to preserve its laser like freshness, while being wonderfully pleasing, exotic and deep, it should age incredible well, this is special stuff. Enjoy this with your favorite people and or family for any celebration, it is a thrilling and rewarding vintage Champagne.
($120 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive