Mission Codename Gold & Sapphire
There’s sparkling wine, and then there’s Champagne. There’s your average, corporate non-vintage Champagne, then there’s your boutique, grower vintage cuvée. That last kind is what we have here to offer today, dear Operatives. Considered the honorary queen of Champagne, Lily Bolinger is famously quoted for saying; “I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I’m thirsty!” While highly limited in availability, this is as scrumptious as a sub-$30 sparkling could get, and up for the grabs at HALF its release price, until sold out, as our small allocation is destined to deplete fast.
Golden and glowing with platinum highlights, a persistent bead, and a fine mousse. A luxurious and refined nose, with Bosc pear, bright raspberry, and freshly baked biscuit really sets this bubbly apart from others. The palate offers mouthwateringly tart lemon zest, mandarin orange, and a chalky minerality. Long and lacy on the finish, with quince, subtle ginger, and almond, resonating harmony throughout. Caviar, crème Fraiche, and blinis would be the ultimate classic accompaniment and the briny, creamy and doughy flavors and textures would be elevated by this, or you could just savor this fine Champagne on its own.
Wine Spectator’s Alison Napjus has been a fan of this wine since her discovery of it back in 2013; “Champagne continues its reign as the premier wine region for sparkling wine, backed by its rich history and tradition, as well as its overall high quality… I recommend the Brut Saphir from Louis Barthélémy, fresh and elegant, with subtle black cherry and white peach fruit notes.”
Wine Spectator also deems 2008 the highest rated Champagne vintage since the mythical 1996, just like it’s British peer Decanter that rated it 5/5 stars, and boasts; “Vivid, well-structured wines in a classic style, with fine textural finesse; potentially long-lived. The classicist 2008 was in keeping with conditions typical of vintages 30 or 40 years ago. The resulting wines are firm and focused, but there’s a lovely viscosity to their texture, which plays nicely with the acidic backbone.” Tom Stevenson, author of the World Encyclopedia of Champagne echoes that; “2008 is one of the greatest Champagne vintages of my lifetime, so fine and focused, unbelievably long, with great precision, purity and intensity, yet barely perceptible weight.”
For far less than your mainstream NV (non-vintage) supermarket top shelf bubbly, you can steal this 2008 Vintage showstopper, if you - a la Mme. Bolly - have any reason to drink Champagne, don’t hesitate!
What the Winery Says
2008 Brut Saphir Millésimé
- Jean-Barthélémy Chancel
- 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay
- Aÿ-Champagne, Marne, France
- 100% stainless steel
- 6 years on the lees prior to disgorgement