Grapelive Wine of the Day
By Kerry Winslow
2006 Vilmart & Cie. “Grand Cellier d’ Or” Premier Cru, Brut Champagne, Rilly-la-Montagne, France.
Thanks to Terry Theiese and Hiram Simon (Winewise/Vienna Wine Company) I have through the years had a chance to try these fantastic Champagnes from Laurent Champs and the Vilmart Champagne House, it is always a great highlight in my yearly tastings and this year was no exception with the whole lineup of Vilmart Champagnes showing amazing. Vilmart is a small grower/producer in the Champagne hamlet of Rilly-la-Motagne and they craft some of the most exotic and sublime wines in the region, and they are often compared to Krug because of the depth and complexity found it their cuveees and that they use oak barrels and have extended time on the lees. The artisan practices here make for wonderfully rich and deep Champagnes. Last year I completely lost my mind over the 2004 Rose that smelled like a field of violets and the famed Grand Cru of Burgundy “Musigny” and while that still ranks as an all time favorite bubbly, the new 2006 “Grand Cellier d’ Or” is a stellar Champagne of great detail and heavenly character. To be honest all the Vilmart Champagnes are utterly mind blowing, and it would hard to ever pick a favorite, and it might change day to day, if I was lucky enough to try them daily! The 2006 “Grand Cellier d’ Or” impresses with an intense nose of tropical fruits, brioche, mineral and citrus flowers before a nervy palate of bread dough, yeasty toast, green apples, lemon curd, banana peel and figs with smooth bubbles and vigorous acidity giving life and structure to this wonderful Champagne. While coming together nicely, it would be best in 3-5 years, so get some and be patient, oh yeah, the rewards with be worth the wait. Also, the 2005 is almost as good, may just be drinking better and I rated it 94, and still can be found, a bit less expensive too…
($102 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive