nv R.H. Coutier, Cuvee Tradition, Grand Cru Brut Champagne, Ambonnay, France.
The unique and individual personality of R. H. Coutier’s Cuvee Traditional Grand Cru Brut make it irresistible, it is impeccably well crafted and luxurious and it’s price make it a must have grower producer Champagne, especially this latest disgorging which is graceful and elegant in the glass with a fine beading mousse. There’s a lot to like with these Coutier bubbles, usually I gravitate to their Rosé and the more rare Blanc de Blancs, but the Tradition Brut has a ton of charm and is easy to love, it goes with anything you might think of food wise, as well as being a sublime celebration sipper. I opened this bottle to share with childhood friends and while we had plenty to talk about, this Champagne did make us pause in gratitude and really enjoy the moment. The Courier family is based in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, which is legendary, as it produces some of the greatest Champagnes in the world. Located in the heart of the region’s prestigious Montagne de Reims, vigneron René Coutier’s family has been part of the fabric here in this small prestigious hamlet since 1619, and René is the fourth generation to run and work the family estate, along with his talented son Antoine, who is making a name for himself now. No wood is used here, on the Tradition Cuvee, relying only on stainless steel for fermentation and aged, with the grape clusters being pressed with their stems, as the winery explains, to act as a natural filter, facilitate drainage, and to best obtain clear juice from the Pinot Noir. They add that to best safeguard the freshness and natural acidity of the Champagnes here, only about half of the Coutier wines go through malolactic fermentation, although it also depends entirely on the vintage.
René’s father was the first in the village to plant Chardonnay here in 1946 and it has given Coutier added depth and character over the years and is very important for the house style. This has come to define the Coutier family’s collection, as seen here in the Tradition Brut, which as the winery notes, marries the traditional richness of Ambonnay’s Pinot Noir (70%) with the pure, racy crispness of its Chardonnay (30%). The brilliant R. H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut Tradition, coming estate grown grapes, from this Pinot leaning village of Ambonnay, that has more clay in the soils, along with the classic limestone, making for a structured, concentrated and textured expression. Coutier is an all organic and grower Champagne and they farm with great respect for the land and the environment. This effort impresses for its depth and decadence, while being also crystalline pure and full of energy, it’s wonderfully dry on the palate and rich in personality. The youthful Antoine Coutier and team are making some amazing all Grand Cru grower fizz these days, making a tidy collection of sparklers, in particular this Brut Tradition, with, as I’ve mentioned, the most recent disgorgement is performing beautifully. The nose here, as always, has plenty of yeasty charm and white flowers with a hint of wet stones and short bread biscuit, which leads to an opulent palate with it’s ultra fine mousse, providing class and energy, and it has a nice vinous textural elegance, showing an array of classic flavors, apple, lemon and doughy biscuit notes with a hint of chalk and subtle hazelnut. I really can’t find a flaw in the latest releases here and the low (sugar) dosage(s) allow the these wines to shine, displaying their crisp and dry detailing and lets the chalky terroir to take the stage. Deeper fruit density comes through with food, and this wine went great with salmon in pastry, I highly recommend this quality and value packed Champagne.
($45 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive