nv Vilmart & Cie. Grand Cellier, Premier Cru Brut Champagne, a Rilly la Montagne, France.
Laurent Champs’ grower producer Vilmart Champagne’s are some of the greatest wines in the world and they seem to get better and more elegant with each vintage and collection he reveals and I especially love the latest disgorgement of his Premier Cru Brut Grand Cellier that comes from his organic estate vines in Rilly la Montagne 1er Cru “Hautes Grèves” with its precision and vinous sex appeal. This Champers at this price is outrageously good and incredibly well crafted in the house style, which is luxurious, but structured with delicacy and wonderful detail throughout on the medium bodied palate with layers of white flowers, mineral, crushed stones, lemon, peach and hazelnut all flowing seamlessly and caressingly in the mouth, finishing with lovely leesy/yeasty brioche, while staying invigorating and taught, this is fabulous bubbly in the same class as Krug, but maybe less obvious in form. The majority of Vilmart’s 11 hectares of vines, as noted by his famous importer Terry Theise, who was one of first to recognize the quality in site expression Champagnes, lie in Rilly-la-Montagne, although there are a few plots just over the border in the neighboring village of Villers-Allerand. Vilmart, Theise adds, is a member of Ampelos, an organization that promotes organic and sustainable viticulture in the region, and Champs has never used any herbicides or chemical fertilizers since taking over the helm heree.
The latest Vilmart Grand Cellier 1er Cru is a cepage blend of about 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir with the Assemblage being from 2012-2013-2014 vintages with a minimum of 10 months in used French oak cask, which adds that voluptuous feel, while still having that zest acidity and core grip of tension that makes this beauty stand out. The Grand Cellier can almost stand up to decanting as it is ever changing in the glass with creamy mousse that seduces and it certainly can and should be paired with cuisine, such is the grace and complexity found here, like all the Vilmart offerings it is something exotic and special to enjoy. Champagne Vilmart, which dates back to 1890 when it was founded by Desire Vilmart and it has always been focused on grower fizz, being a récoltant-manipulant, making champagne exclusively from estate-owned vines since the very beginning. Since 1989 the estate has been in the hands of Laurent Champs, one of France’s great winegrowers and cellar master, he is the fifth generation of his family to lead this exceptional and prized estate. Champs, who declares he is a vintner first and a Champagne maker second says he does wine first, then afterward we do Champagne, and these age amazingly well changing with dramatic effect in bottle after 3 to 5 years, even the non-vintage bubbly like this one, and especially the Rubis Cuvee Brut Rosé, which is like drink sparkling Grand Cru Burgundy! Happy #ChampagneDay
($60 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive