n.v. Bernard Tornay, BT Cuvée Brut Champagne, A Bouzy, Montagne de Reims, France.
The brilliant 70% Pinot Noir (all Grand Cru fruit) and 30% Chardonnay BT cuvée from Bernard Tornay is a gorgeous Champagne that possesses delicate details, a graceful palate and an underlying structure that reminds you of the prestigious terroir that it comes from, this is seriously put together bubbly from a producer that I knew absolutely nothing about until it was in my glass! Lightly golden and with a lovely energetic and creamy mousse this fine Champagne delivers a stellar performance with layers of mineral led flavors with racy citrus, green apple, zingy quince and white fig fruit, a rich yeasty note and clove spice. The Bernard Tornay sourced this beauty from the great amphitheater of vines that rises up above the Grand Cru village of A Bouzy, in the Montagne de Reims zone. Bouzy is one of the most famous Pinot Noir vineyards in the world outside of Burgundy. Bouzy has been notable for its Pinot Noir production since the early 1600s, which the winery says, giving birth to wines characterized by their richness of flavor and powerful bouquet. Bouzy also is the only village with the right to produce a Grand Cru Pinot Noir still red wine. The Champagne region is characterized by its chalky ancient limestone sub-soil and high acidity that provides a great base for these sparkling wines that were refined by the famed Monk Dom Perignon centuries ago, but we are still seeing innovation here and wines like this Bernard Tornay certainly gives enthusiasts reason to keep exploring and finding new gems here.

The Champagne House of Bernard Tornay dates back to the 17th Century in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy in the Montagne de Reims under the Barnaut family who ran it until Bernard Tornay created his eponymous Champagne house in 1950. This came about when he took over the estate and winery from his father-in-law Gaston Barnaut, though his family had had a long history in there region already, In fact both his family and his wife’s family were heavily involved in Champagne production going back a long time, at least since the 17th century. This was a tradition handed down through the generations, with the family still running this grower producer organic property set in one of Champagne’s best terroirs. The Bernard Tornay winery as it is today was built in 1957, with an underground cellar that keeps things cool and steady, which the winery claims, reduces their energy costs by some 80%, keeping their carbon footprint down. Today the Champagne cellars are run by Bernard’s daughter Nathalie and her husband Rudy Hutasse, who is a talented vintner in his own right and a third generation Champagne maker. Rudy twas rained at the famous Lycée Viticole d’Avize, then spent 17 years working at the Grand Marque Champagne house of Laurent Perrier for before he became the cellar master here back in 1997. This cuvée was inox fermented and matured exclusively in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats and bottle with 36 months on the lees and saw just 8g/L of dosage keeping things delightfully dry with steely precision. Thanks are due my friend Parker Fisher who introduced me to this Bernard Tornay bubbly, it’s elegant stuff with just the right amount of tension and chalky thrill.
($49 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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