Wine of the Day February 16, 2014

VilmartRubisN.V. Vilmart e Cie. Cuvee Rubis Brut Rose Premier Cru Champagne, a Rilly la Montagne, France.
The latest release of Vilmart’s Cuvee Rubis is terrific, Laurent Champs is making some of the finest and most sought after wines in Champagne. Since 1989 Laurent has been been the head of this wonderful Champagne house, he is the fifth generation to run the family business and has certainly left a historic mark. Vilmart is basically totally organic, and while not certified biodynamic, he practices sustainable viticulture and is a member of Ampelos, he has never used harmful herbicides or chemicals in the vineyards, his holdings include 11 hectares with 60% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Noir and some Pinot Meunier, he only makes estate based wines, and only makes around 8,000 cases. He magic is the use of fantastic small yielding fruit and ultra fine craftsmanship in the cave, his style is similar to Krug, with the use of wood, every cuvee sees at least 10 months in cask and on the lees. This makes for depth, richness and texture as well as exotic flavors and aging potential, Champs considers himself a vintner first and foremost, each wine is lovingly created, he is a master of the blend and his wines are both powerful expressions and unbelievably detailed, elegant throughout. The Cuvee Rubis is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay and included a few recent vintages and lots of wine, this new release was disgorged in July of 2013 and is still very young and tight, but without question a glorious wine, I still believe this is the best and most interesting Champagne under a $100, in fact it is better than most up to $200 and beyond. The Vilmart Rubis Rose is rich, entertaining and has a super long finish, the nose is staggeringly beautiful with perfume, toast, yeasty notes and mineral tones, this Champagne has a dynamic Pinot Noir character, in fact as mentioned before you can almost smell Cru Burgundy in the glass, I have more than once closed my eyes and imagined Musigny was filling my senses in this wine, while the palate is pure Champagne at it’s best with precision and lazar like focus with hints of strawberry, lemon, leesy notes, bioche, vanilla and rich currants, along with a touch of fig, spice and chalky stones with a seriously joyous mousse, the Champagne is vivid, vibrant, racy, sexy and polished. You can’t get much better than this, drink over the next decade or more, overtime I taste Vilmart I’m even more impressed with what I find.
($95 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive