N.V. Nicolas Maillart, Extra Brut, Platine, Premier Cru Champagne, France.
I was recently introduced to the exciting Champagne of Nicolas Maillart with his lovely Brut Rosé, but this extremely precise and exceptional Platine Extra Brut really hit my sweet spot and went gloriously with a selection of briny fresh cool water oysters, making a perfect way to end a warm Summer celebration. I am in particular fond of Extra Brut and or non dosage energy filled bubbly and this Maillart has wonderful balance with plenty of depth and richness on the palate to with the crisp and mineral detail, it also has a luxurious mousse and multidimensional mouth feel. There’s hints of white blossoms, racy lemony citrus, leesy/yeasty roundness, clove spice, salty chalk and lingering stone and apple fruit. Everything is alive and brisk without being severe or austere, but there is a fine Pinot Noir based structure here in Maillart’s Extra Brut that delivers the goods, again this is exactly what I was hoping for in a Champagne, stylish and with real substance, this is well worth searching out and very much priced right, I’ll be enjoying this label and this wine more often in the future. This wine comes from vines in Villers Allerand 1er Cru, Ecueil 1er Cru and Bouzy Grand Cru, all are set on ancient calcareous soils with a vine age over 30 years on average, giving concentration and plenty of terroir influence!
Nicolas Maillart’s nicely aromatic Extra Brut Platine Premier Cru Champagne saw three years of aging on the lees, with this edition coming from a batch disgorged in 2020, which I believe is consistent with what lots now found on the US market, though I doubt with the quality of the blend of reserve wines available that there will be much of a difference between lots. Nicolas ferments in small lots in a combination of tanks and wood with gentle handling, with a soft pressing, of the grapes and with long elevage on the fine lees. The Extra Brut, with a dosage of only 3 grams per liter, as noted, is Pinot Noir dominant, but just, with a good complement dose of Chardonnay that brings, as the winery says, a sense freshness and maybe a touch of creaminess to the blend. The is a high percentage of reserve wines used here as well, up to 40% and these are aged in barrel, not unlike Krug or Vilmart, which, as the winery continues, offers dependable consistency and (a) classy style to this Extra Brut Platine. It should also be noted, that only Grand and Premier Cru vineyard fruit is used in this wine, with the grape origins being in the prestigious Montagne de Reims region of Champagne, home to some exceptional Pinot Noir. While not actually a total grower producer, the vines are all on vineyard sites that are either owned and or managed by the Maillart family, which are farmed to exacting standards, using some biodynamic techniques and small yields for absolute quality, which certainly shows in these Champagnes.
($50 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive