FranckPascalBrutn.v. Franck Pascal, Reliance, Brut Nature Champagne, Vallee de la Marne, France.
One of the most interesting Champagnes of the last year has to be this Reliance Brut Nature, a Pinot Meunier based sparkler from Franck and Isabelle Pascal and their tiny 10 acre estate in Basilieux-sous-Chatillon. Franck’s vines are all biodynamic and he is all organic and natural in the cellar, he even uses pure organic cane sugar to dosage his wines, and the native yeasts add to the unique terroir and flavor profile of his wonderful Champagne. The Reliance cuvee is made up of 75% Pinot Meunier, 23% Pinot Noir and 12% Chardonnay, which was tank raised, no wood used, and this lot was disgorged in March of 2013, and it is a vigorous and intense sparkler with zero RS (sugar) per liter, a Brut Nature, but severely dry like an extra extra Brut, making for some serious drinking rather that special occasion celebrating bubbly, though there is plenty to hold your interest on it’s own, and this is down right righteous stuff. The nose is brioche/lessy with earthy notes, citrus and white tea leading to a tension filled palate, that is not at first generous, of fine apple, pear, white peach, quince and cherry essence along with loamy earth, hazelnut, mineral, river stones and racy lemon and marmalade. This is vibrant and high energy Champagne, but it gets more dense with food and air, opening up and giving more charm, it is a thinking man’s (or WOMAN’S) sparkler and a superb effort, not for everyone with it’s earthy/austere side, but be sure to invest in Franck Pascal’s latest set of bubbles, both this Reliance Brut Nature and the Rose are terrific and gloriously fun, especially with good company and good cuisine!
($58 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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