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Champagne Is Not Burgundy

by Tom Wolf

Buy this collection (10 bottles)

$904.80
Champagne Is Not Burgundy - Tom Wolf
Champagne Is Not Burgundy - Tom Wolf

These days much of the wine world outside the Côte d’Or is after Burgundy’s luster. That often translates to producers beginning to bottle wine from isolated parcels in the hopes of giving drinkers a taste of each and every microsite. No other region may be trying to catch up faster in this respect than Champagne.
     This trend of single-vineyard Champagnes isn’t inherently good or bad. It is often fascinating, and it certainly makes sense in the cases of outstanding vineyards. But Champagne’s history—and many of its best wines—revolves around blending juice from different vineyards. In his benchmark 2017 book, Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region, Peter Liem writes: “For me, as a devotee of Burgundy, it’s thrilling to be able to experience Champagne in a similar way, comparing the wines of one parcel to the next. But Champagne is not Burgundy. Its soil is not as diverse, nor is its climate as accommodating . . . when you taste vins clairs* in the spring after the harvest, it’s immediately apparent that not all parcels in Champagne are able to produce a wine that’s complete enough to stand on its own. Dom Pérignon knew this, even in the seventeenth century.”
     The Champagnes below are liquid proof that blending can result in stunning wines. Whether you favor Veuve Fourny’s chiseled, Chardonnay-focused blends from chalk-and-limestone terroirs, the lusher wines of J. Lassalle that complete malolactic fermentation and extended bottle aging, or the powerful, Pinot Noir–focused, grand cru Champagnes of Paul Bara, you will perceive the beautiful balance in each that says, “Just the right touch.”

* Fully fermented, still wine that is used to create the final blend for Champagne before the second fermentation in bottle.





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