This Week's Must-Try Wines from Vinous

Welcome to this week's Vinous Top Ten! Each week we compile a list of top ten wines from the Vinous database that you need to add to your wine wish list. With all the various regions, producers, and grapes, no week will be the same! All of the wines listed in this feature are available for purchase on Banquet . This week's must-try wines are from Antonio Galloni’s article Champagne: 2020 New Releases . Enjoy an excerpt from his article and his notes for this week's top ten below! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “For the first time in a dozen years, this past spring I was unable to travel to Champagne to taste the new vintage and survey the latest releases. Given the extraordinary challenges this year of both traveling and collecting hundreds of samples in a timely fashion, we will be publishing Champagne reviews within this article in a continuous stream over coming weeks and months, as I taste the wines. This latest installment covers wines tasted in October and November 2020. The best way to stay up to date on additions is to make sure you are receiving our emails and turn on notifications within the Vinous app. Readers will see a number of compelling wines in the market. Some of these are releases that had originally been scheduled for spring and that were pushed back because of COVID-19. Understandably, demand for Champagne has dropped precipitously as the world grapples with a number of crises that are unfolding simultaneously. As of this writing, in November 2020, the global outlook continues to be uncertain. Champagne sales are forecast to be down 25% in 2020 by volume. That strikes me as a bit optimistic, but we will see. Anecdotally, sales for the most prestigious wines seem to be holding up better than sales for mid and lower-tier bottlings, mirroring the state of the wine market more broadly. Current market dynamics are likely to create significant opportunities for savvy consumers. One of the results of the current situation is that yields for the 2020 harvest were lowered from the standard 10,800 kilos per hectare to 7-8,000 (the final number will be determined by the sale of bottles in 2020). Producers can either use production above the maximum to replace lesser-quality reserve wines in their cellars from the previous year or send their excess wines to be distilled. I am reminded of the popularized saying: ‘May you live in interesting times…’” --Antonio Galloni, Champagne: 2020 New Releases, November 2020 1. Agrapart NV Brut 7 Crus 2. Bérêche et Fils 2016 Les Beaux Regards 3. Billecart-Salmon 2006 Cuvée Nicolas François 4. Bollinger 2012 Brut Rosé La Grande Année 5. Cédric Bouchard-Roses de Jeanne 2016 Blanc de Noirs Presle 6. Chartogne-Taillet NV Brut Cuvée Ste.-Anne 7. Gaston Chiquet 2011 Brut Spécial Club 8. Georges Laval 2016 Brut Nature Les Chênes 9. Jacquesson 2009 Extra-Brut Vauzelle Terme 10. Vilmart & Cie 2012 Coeur de Cuvée

Vilmart & Cie

Coeur de Cuvée 1er Cru Champagne Blend 2012

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2012 Coeur de Cuvée is magnificent. In this vintage Laurent Champs balances the natural intensity of the year with tremendous energy and vibrancy, making for a Champagne of remarkable beauty. Like all the Vilmart wines, the 2012 Coeur de Cuvée is super-refined. Even so, it is also incredibly tight and nowhere near ready. I find its depth, power and tension absolutely compelling. Bright saline notes, spice and floral accents extend the eternal finish. The 2012 is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Disgorged: February 2019. Don't miss it! (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

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Cédric Bouchard

Roses de Jeanne Presle Blanc de Noirs Champagne 2016

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2016 Blanc de Noirs Presle is an explosion of aromas, flavors and textures. A Champagne of tremendous aromatic intensity, the Presle screams with Pinot character, certainly more so than the earlier wines in this range. The Presle emerges from a tiny parcel of measuring 0.25 hectares planted with 10 different Pinot clones over 15 rows. It is beguiling, nuanced and so full of character. I love the energy here. Zero dosage. Disgorged: April, 2020. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

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Billecart-Salmon

Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart Brut Champagne Blend 2006

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2006 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine, but it needs time to be at its best. I am surprised by how tightly wound it is. But that only makes me think what it might develop into with time in the cellar. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint, crushed rocks and sage meld together in a bright, crystalline Champagne endowed with terrific purity. The 2006 is 60% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, mostly done in steel, with just a touch of oak, around 5%. Dosage is 6 grams per liter. (Originally published in August 2020) (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

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Jacquesson & Fils

Aÿ - Vauzelle Terme Extra Brut Champagne Blend 2009

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2009 Extra-Brut Aÿ Vauzelle Terme, 100% Pinot Noir from a south-facing slope, is surprisingly ethereal in its first impression, before the natural power of the vintage makes itself felt. Mirabelle, crushed flowers, spice, mint and sweet dried cherry add pretty shades of nuance. The personality of Pinot from Aÿ comes through loud and clear. Disgorged May 2019 and bottled with no dosage. (Originally published in August 2020) (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

Gaston Chiquet

Special Club Brut Champagne Blend 2011

Delectable Wine
9.3

The 2011 Brut Special Club is superb, especially within the context of this very challenging harvest. Brisk, precise and wonderfully nuanced, the 2011 has so much to offer. Bright saline underpinnings and lively acids push a core of citrus fruit forward. The 2011 is a bit nervy and lithe. I wouldn’t push my luck on aging, but boy is it beautiful today. Disgorged: February, 2019. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

Bollinger

La Grande Année Brut Rosé 2012

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2012 La Grande Année Rosé is airy, gracious and so wonderfully inviting. Crushed flowers, mint, white pepper and red berry fruit are all gracefully woven together. Today, the 2012 is naturally quite young and still shows the tension of a Champagne that was disgorged just a few months ago. Readers who prefer Champagnes with softer edges and a bit more flavor complexity will want to cellar the 2012. I have to admit, I very much like the wine today, in its youthful state, where its energy and focus are front and center. The 2012 is a blend of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay taken from 21 villages built around a core of Aÿ and Verzenay Pinot Noir and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry Chardonnay, crus that are quite complementary. Disgorged January 2020. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. (Originally published in August 2020) (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

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Georges Laval

Les Chênes Brut Nature Cumières 1er Cru Champagne 2016

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2016 Brut Nature Les Chênes is rich, powerful and explosive. The purity of the Chardonnay is compelling. Yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, mint and white pepper are all buffered by the austerity of the Brut Nature style. The Chênes is not the easiest Champagne in the world to understand. It can seem a bit austere and unyielding - and to some degree it is - and yet there is so much character and pedigree to discover. Disgorged: February 21, 2020. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

Chartogne-Taillet

Sainte Anne Brut Champagne Blend

Delectable Wine
9.2

The NV Brut Cuvée Ste.-Anne is one of the best Champagnes readers will find in its price range, or any price range, for that matter. Bright and beautifully focused, the Ste.-Anne has so much to offer. The purity of the flavors is just remarkable. If anything, it needs more time on the cork to soften, as it is quite reticent at this stage. This release is based on 2017, with reserve wines from 2016 and 2015. The blend is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Meunier, with the Chardonnay very much in evidence at this stage. Dosage is 5.15 grams/liter. Disgorged: February, 2020. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

Bereche et Fils

Les Beaux Regards Chardonnay Champagne 2016

Delectable Wine
9.1

The 2016 Les Beaux Regards (Chardonnay) is a punchy, bold wine. Lemon confit, dried herbs, marzipan, spice, chamomile and a touch of reduction give the Beaux Regards a good deal of nuance. Even so, the 2016 comes across as a bit disjointed and lacking the finesse of the very best editions. Aeration helps, especially with the reductive notes (which I don't find objectionable), so I would either open the 2016 in advance or give it time in bottle. Dosage is 3 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2020. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

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Agrapart & Fils (Pascal Agrapart)

7 Crus Brut Champagne Chardonnay

Delectable Wine
9.1

The NV Brut 7 Crus is an attractive, easygoing wine that will drink well upon release. A touch of Pinot softens the edges nicely, giving this Chardonnay-base Champagne tons of accessibility. Lemon confit, chamomile, mint and white pepper all open in the glass, but it is the wine's textural feel that makes the 7 Crus so rewarding to taste and drink today. This release is equal parts 2017 and 2016, from parcels in Avize, Oger, Oiry, Cramant, Avenay Val d’Or, Bergères les Vertus and Mardeuil. About 25% of the wine was done in neutral oak, the rest in cask. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged: April, 2020. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, November 2020) — 10 months ago

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