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Tradition and History in Champagne

Tradition and History in Champagne
We have been reasonably regular visitors to the range of wines produced by Champagne Aubry. Indeed, we have offered their wines twice in the past: one cuvée (the Le Nombre d'Or Campanae Veteres Vites) on two occasions and another (the Ivoire et Ebène) once. 
 
This is a producer who walks to the beat of a different drummer. 
 
By far the majority of those from Champagne would tell you that champagne is about three grape varieties and three only. And it is accurate to say that, should you want to plant a vineyard in the region, your only options would be the three they had in mind i.e. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
 
Yet it wasn't so long ago that Champagne had plantings of a number of other grapes and those with such plantings are still entitled by law to use them in their wines. Not that many do…
 
In terms of champagne in the bottle, we all understand that the wine is pressurised. That's what lends the opening of the wine that air of occasion - occasionally danger - and what makes sabrage such fun. 
 
That pressure is more-or-less standardised at six atmospheres and by far the majority of wines you will come across adhere to that norm. Yet here at Aubry, they have a range - Sablé - that are bottled at four atmospheres, much more like the Crémant de Cramant wines of old, and lending the finished wine a beautifully polished texture in the mouth. 
 
And I have added one great classic vintage wine below solely for the reason that I tasted it recently and it was utterly, utterly fabulous.

The Wines

2013 Le Nombre d'Or Campanae Veteres Vites, Champagne Aubry
£201 in bond per 6  Drink 2019-28
N.B. This is a blend of 25% Pinot Gris, 25% Pinot Blanc, 20% Petit Meslier, 20% Arbanne, 5% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier.
 
N.B. I sold a couple of cases of this wine to a UK-based client who was on the cusp of planting a vineyard in Sussex. Having tasted this, he altered his plans to include Pinot Gris and now produces an award-winning wine from that vineyard.
 
A lovely rich nose, a touch toasty, of salted orchard fruits, all very nutty. Across the tongue the mousse is fine but supportive with orange-like acidity within. A very fine, long and juicy wine with an incisive citrus ending. Fabulous stuff. 
 
"Resonant and expressive on the palate, with striking freshness,
the 2013 is remarkably vivid in every way.
" Antonio Galloni


2012 Sablé Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, Champagne Aubry
£228 in bond per 6  Drink 2020-30
So, not only is this wine bottled at four atmospheres, rather than the usual six, but it is also bottled with no dosage i.e. it is completely dry.
 
Again, this is a little toasty, of pear fruit and accompanying nuts. There's a puff of fine, supportive mousse on entry and then it gathers its intent and drives directly through the palate with a lemon intensity. This is very fine, very long and very fresh. The combination of low pressure and no dosage make a winning, fascinating combination. 
 
"Vivid, tense and brilliant…Simply put,
the Blanc des Blancs is fabulous. Don't miss it.
" Antonio Galloni


2009 Aubry de Humbert Brut, Champagne Aubry
£195 in bond per 6  Drink 2018-23
N.B. This is 30% each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with small doses of Arbanne and Petit Meslier and is bottled without dosage.
 
Aromas here are broader (as one would expect from this warm vintage), ginger-inflected, with red fruits showing. The mousse really is super-fine and satin textured. I find red fruits again holding a texture of chalk within. Long and, like all these Aubry wines, completely delicious.


2007 Grande Année, Champagne Bollinger
£321 in bond per 6  Drink 2018-30
The '07 vintage in Champagne wasn't considered all that clever, so how on earth Bollinger have managed to pull this out of the hat I have no idea. At a London tasting recently I sampled it really because it was there (I mean, you would, wouldn't you?) and was stopped in my tracks. Subsequently, I have found that other observers have had the same thoughts, with Richard Juhlin, champagne guru, commenting, "One of the three best champagnes from this vintage". 
 
Utterly entrancing nose: an umami spread of ceps and salt. A rich Marmite-like aroma adding salted nuts. This is a really dense-but-elegant wine with firm and direct core of acidity. Very long thing, this, and utterly delicious. Ripe but structured and there's big grip here. Fabulous GA!
 
"Highly elegant, fine and pure but complex on the palate, this is a full-bodied and well-structured Grande Année with a long, intense yet dry, salty, beautifully clear and cleansing finish with lingering citrus flavors and a persistent mineral structure…its elegance, finesse, freshness and promising complexity are fabulous." Stephan Reinhardt
 
 
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