Mission Codename E-mangin that
Happy Long Weekend Operatives!
We had altogether given up on Champagne deals really…
Shortage, inflation, logistics… and suddenly finding your average Champagne under $50 started to look near impossible.
Then we made a new, TINY importer friend who secretly, like us, was sneaking the good stuff in at prices that would embarrass LVMH.
You do have to think outside the box a bit to find Grower Champagne bargains these days. If you open your mind to just outside of the Reims-Épernay corridor, away from the dominance of the corporate rule of two dozen ‘Les Grandes Marques’ with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and towards Vallée de la Marne in the Western flanges where Pinot Meunier rules, your open minds may be blown, like ours did.
This grower gem of a pure 100% Meunier Brut is 80% from the outstanding 2016 harvest (Vinous: “the personality and potential quality of the vintage is evident”) - so it’s essentially a vintage Blanc de Noirs - an alpha wolf of a sparkling, in sheep’s clothing. Think of it like that $100+ frou-frou cuvée you’ve never heard of that patronizing Michelin-starred sommelier pulls to blow your bill up when all you wanted to do is stay at home and chill with oysters.
It’s a remarkably ‘vinous’ Champagne too, first and foremost a great ‘wine’ just as well as being a delicious Champagne. The red fruits dominate the nose and the luxurious feel of the palate, with leafy raspberry, cranberry, and nectarine being front and center. There’s rich and flamboyant yeastiness that is a hallmark of much pricier Champagnes. The bubbles are fine and chiseled, the dosage is plentiful and balanced between boisterous fruit and minerally acidity. Pairing potential is limited to your imagination.
When a certain top-selling formulaic Champagne with a certain ubiquitous yellow label sells for twice the price of what you’re paying for this distinctively unique and drinking like $100 bubbly today, not only your mind but your eyes too open, to a discovery that will make this, and you, a hit at any party.
Okay, there is some bad news, the importer and its inventories are both small, won’t last the day.
91 Points – Decanter
“Pronounced nose of raspberry and plum skin with a touch of lemon. Vivacious palate with shortbread richness and lovely autolytic depth with well perched fruit. Drink 2020-2025.”
What the Winery Says
Le Chêne la Reine Brut
- Cédric Mangin
- 100% Pinot Meunier
- 80% 2016, 20% 2015
- Vallée de la Marne, Champagne
- Harvest dates
- September 15-30, 2016
- Disgorgement date
- December 14, 2019
- Total acidity
- 4,8 g /L
- Brut, 10g/L (6g/bottle)
- 30 months on lees
- 100% neutral French oak