CHAMPAGNE BERNARD BRÉMONT
With the generous assistance of a very talented and passionate former colleague of mine we have been very lucky to access a limited amount of some extraordinary champagne just in time for the summer! We have three grand cru classified wines available, one of which is a ‘Blanc de Noirs’ vintage wine that has spent a stunning 9 years on lees, developing bountiful brioche-like champagne character.
Champagne Bernard Brémont are based in the famously Pinot-strong Ambonnay commune on the most heralded calcareous clay geology of the Montagne de Reims. In fact Bernard and his father cut their own caves into the famous white chalk in 1965, by hand! The commune Ambonnay may resonate with some through Krug’s illustrious single vineyard ‘Clos D’Ambonnay’, one of the most coveted champagnes at circa $4000 a bottle, which actually abuts one of Brémont’s top Pinot Noir vineyards.
Bernard’s children Anne and Thibaut now run the domain that has 10ha of Pinot and 3ha of Chardonnay, all of which is classified ‘grand cru’ (98% Ambonnay and 2% Bouzy). For perspective, there are over 300 communes in the Champagne AOC, only 17 of which are entirely grand cru classified (Ambonnay being known for its Pinot Noir in particular). While many négociant producers buy grapes, expressed juice or even finished base wine to build their blends, Brémont only uses grapes from their own vineyards and the wines are produced entirely within the estate which affords them the title ‘Récoltant-Manipulant’ (You will see a little ‘RM’ on the back label). These are also known as ‘grower’ or ‘vigneron’ champagnes. (Notably, through Anne and Thibaut’s stewardship the house has acquired HVE certification, the highest of three levels of environmental certification for farms under France’s Ministry of Agriculture).
Champagne production is enormously difficult to do well and requires deep understanding and scientific precision. Many of the ‘grower’ champagnes lack this acumen leading to rustic and flawed wines that lack true champagne finesse and character, leaving them a bit like a clunky and bubbly table wine. Not so for Brémont whose wines show mastery and refinement often experienced in the top wines of the larger négociant houses yet with entirely grand cru pedigree - a very scarce product!
The Brut Rosé - A core base wine from the 2018 harvest, which is considered a great vintage already, with above average ripeness and richness. The blush comes from an addition of dry red Pinot Noir adding pith and richness without forsaking elegance. This wine has enough body to marry with meals.
Vintage 2012 Blanc de Noirs - 100% Pinot Noir. Disgorged in June 2021 after 9 years on lees showing the marvellous potential of grand cru wine. Harmonious, fragrant, with great length, complex fruit, sweet brioche, and remarkable freshness after a long élevage sur lees.
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