On Sunday, Neal departed for his final grower visits of the season. He continues to chronicle them here on the blog.
“I am on the train departing from Nantes destination Bordeaux – finally a free moment to pen a few words about my current visits with our growers.
News from Coulon: the family has purchased a parcel in the Cotes des Blancs just beneath Chateau de Saran (situated at the crossroads of Chouilly and Cramant) from which they will produce a Grand Cru Blanc des Blancs. For 2014, the “Tradition” will be based upon the 2010 harvest and the Reserve de l’Hommee has 2008 as its base, with the additional two years for this cuvee “sur lattes” (ed. note: “sur lattes” refers to a system of wooden slats used to stabilize a stack of almost-finished Champagne while it rests in the cellar). I have reserved as much as they would permit (252 bottles) of the Blanc de Noirs 2005 to ship with the first shipment of 2014; then they and we will move to the 2006 vintage. Esprit de Vrigny will be assembled from 2005+2006; and the Coteaux de Valliere is a blend of the 2002+2003 vintages. All are excellent based upon my tasting of Monday – looking forward to expanding the Coulon footprint in the USA, which will be our goal for 2014!
News from Larmandier: this ship is “steady as she goes” – no surprises, always top quality. The Vertus Brut 1er Cru next year is a combo of 2010 non-dosage and 2010 with a dosage of 8 grams; the Cramant spends a year more in elevage and the next shipments will be a 2009+2010 blend (magnums will be pure 2008!). The Cramant Prestige Vintage will be replaced with the first issuance of a special cuvee from the 2007 vintage to be known as Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru “Signé Francois” – ultimately a blend of grapes principally from Cramant but to some degree from their neighboring vineyards in Chouilly, thus no mention of Cramant on the label.
I will catch you up with more chatter in a little while … Neal”