Vinopolis Champagne Primer – 5-21-2020

In Today’s Newsletter:

(2016) Vouette et Sorbee Fidele

Best Price Buys from
Pierre Paillard, Bereche, Diebolt-Vallois & Gaston-Chiquet
Plus Best-in-PDX Pricing on Pierre Peters!


This Just In!

2016 Vouette et Sorbee Fidele

The wine industry has experienced some wild swings this year. The ill-advised tariffs almost seem like a quaint problem now that most restaurants are closed. In Portland, one of the leading cities for Champagne (shout out to Pix!) and home to multiple fantastic importers, there’s a back log of bubbles looking for a good home. Now is the ideal time for the savvy buyer to adopt/stock up on favorites. What once was rare, fine-dining treat can now become a house pour. 

Enter one of our long-time favorite producers at the shop: Vouette et Sorbee. After some gentle nudging from Anselme Selosse, grape grower and recent convert to biodynamics, Bertrand Gautherot, decided to produce Champagnes from his vineyard holdings under the aforementioned name. The cuvee Fidele is all Pinot Noir. It is primarily a blend from two vineyards grown in Kimmeridgian marl: Vouette and Biaunes. It’s mostly from one vintage, with roughly 5% reserve wine from a perpetual reserve begun in 2001. The wine has been fantastic long before it was discovered, and discovered it was. Ever since the 2012-base year garnered 95 points from Antonio Galloni, this Champagne has had a rabid following at the shop.

How does the 2016-base taste? Given the similar soil types, one can easily compare it to Chablis but through a decidedly Pinot Noir lens. It’s on the savory side, with bright acidity, red fruit and spice, and a mineral backbone. The splash of reserve wine adds a complex, oxidative note (the reserve is held in oak foudre). For the lover of Grower Champagnes, it seems to hit all the right spots. It’s vinous like Ulysse Collin, nearly as hard to find as Cedric Bouchard, as elegantly austere as Marie-Courtin, and distinctively savory as Bereche. That it has a cult following is no surprise. 

“The champagnes of Vouette et Sorbée are uncompromisingly original, possessing deep, vinous aromas and assertive personalities, and their intensity of character makes them more suitable to contemplative drinking or to accompanying food than to casual sipping. They are clearly the products of a natural philosophy of viticulture, with all that that implies in the French wine world, and while this may put some tasters off, those wine aficionados who enjoy the wines of other natural growers in France such as Emmanuel Houillon, Marcel Lapierre or Claude Courtois will find an affinity here. These are not champagnes that will please everyone, but there is not enough quantity to go around anyway, and those of us who do appreciate Gautherot’s wines will seek them out wherever and whenever possible.”
–Peter Liem, Champagne Guide

There are no reviews published for this beauty yet, but if prior years hold any indication, it will do quite well. And at the lowest listed price in the country, when the wine is averaging $82/bottle, you’ll do quite well, too.

In Stock Now:

Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Fidele Extra Brut, Champagne (2016) NV 750ML ($89.95) $54 special, 40 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2016-base. The following are for reference.
2014-base review: Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The NV Brut Nature Fidèle (R14) is a Blanc de Noirs from Pinot Noir on Kimmeridgian soils and is entirely based on the 2014 vintage. Disgorged in October 2017 the oak-fermented wine shows a golden-reddish apricot color and opens with a very delicate, floral and herbal yet intense and vinous bouquet of red fruits, with warm, dry earth and spices and just a hint of oak. Bone dry (of course), fresh and elegant on the palate, this is an impressively delicate and filigreed Champagne to be enjoyed as a still wine rather than a fizz. The finish is long, clear, dry and well-structured (even with fine tannins) and reveals discreet salinity. In fact, Fidèle drinks like a Burgundy-inspired Coteaux Champenois with very fine but not effervescent bubbles, persistent lemon juice and a touch of oaky flavors. Don’t use a flute to enjoy this young, gastronomic wine; instead, use a wine glass or one of the rounder, more voluminous Champagne glasses like the Lehmann Jamesse (which stresses the finesse rather than the vinous character). Don’t serve the Fidèle too fresh, either, but if you must, wait a bit and don’t worry if the wine is suddenly 12 or even 14 degrees Celsius—it’s still delicious and even more vinous then! (To be honest, when tasted at 15 or 16 degrees Celsius, I even got some Gewürztraminer notes (lychees) on the nose…!)”
2013-base review: Antonio Galloni 93 points “The amber-colored NV Brut Nature Fidèle is gorgeous. Lifted, precise and nuanced throughout, the Fidèle possesses a captivating aromatic. Medium in body and tense in style, the Fidèle is super-expressive today. It could use another year in bottle to soften a bit, but it is nevertheless striking.”
2012-base review: Antonio Galloni 95 points “The NV (2012) Extra Brut Fidele is another fabulous wine from Vouette & Sorbée. Here, the richness of Pinot Noir comes through loud and clear in the wine’s depth and overall richness. Creamy and beautifully layered throughout, the 2012 hits all the right notes. Red berry, mint, flowers, sweet spices and candy fill out the wine’s broad frame effortlessly. What a gorgeous wine this is. Simply put, the 2012 is a total knock-out.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $82



Champagnes Arriving Tomorrow

Friday, May 22nd:

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $40.90 pre-arrival special
L17 base. Disgorgement date varies.
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “The latest release of the NV Brut Réserve was disgorged in October 2019 with seven grams per liter dosage, and it’s based on the 2017 vintage. Exhibiting a glass bouquet of citrus oil, oyster shell, fresh peach and toasted nuts, it’s medium to full-bodied, racy and tensile, with lovely depth and concentration, fine energy and a long, penetrating finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Pierre Paillard ‘Les Parcelles’ Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($54.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Vintage may vary. Review provided for reference.
Wine Advocate 92 points “The NV Bouzy Grand Cru Les Parcelles XIII is based on the 2013 vintage plus roughly 40% of reserve wines from 2012, 2011 and 2010. The assemblage consists of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, fermented in stainless steel and in a few demi-muids. The nicely colored wine (white gold with a pink reflection due to the late harvest and no fining agents) offers a very clear, precise and delicate bouquet of cherries and red berries. Pure and filigreed on the palate, this is a beautifully pure, clear, fresh and delicate blend that reveals impressive mineral structure and length. Simply fascinating. Dosed with 3.5 grams per liter and disgorged in October 2017. Tasted in April 2018.” 

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today for any vintage!

Diebolt-Vallois Brut Tradition, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Bright, with citrusy acidity, this harmonious Champagne offers a creamy mousse and a minerally underpinning layered with flavors of apricot, honeysuckle, salted almond and biscuit. A crowd-pleaser. Drink now through 2020. 125 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $57 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“Disgorged in June 2019, the latest rendition of Péters’ NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cuvée de Réserve offers up a lovely bouquet of citrus oil, pear, pastry cream, dried white flowers, hazelnuts and crushed chalk. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and elegant, with ripe but racy acids, a delicate pinpoint mousse and a long, saline finish. As usual, this is an immensely refined Champagne that exemplifies the timeless style of this Mesnil-based Chardonnay specialist.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Cuvée de Réserve (base 2016) is absolutely delicious and also shows the greater natural harmony of 2016 vis-à-vis 2015. Creamy and open-knit, the 2016 will be easy to drink pretty much upon release, as it is a Champagne of absolutely exquisite balance. White orchard fruit, crushed rocks, flowers and mint all grace this sublime, wonderfully nuanced Champagne from Rodolphe Péters. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.”
Gaston Chiquet Or Premier Cru Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Bright and lacy, this harmonious Champagne offers a minerally, chalk-tinged underpinning and a delicate bead, with a crowd-pleasing array of nectarine, lemon sorbet, ground ginger and spun honey flavors. Drink now through 2028. 150 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2008 Brut Vintage Or is relatively open and accessible wine for the year. There is good depth to the dried pear, candied citrus and floral notes, but it is without question the resonance of Ay that carries the wine. Hints of graphite, smoke and slate add lovely underpinnings of minerality. The Vintage is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. Disgorged: July 2017.”
John Gilman 90 points “The 2008 Gaston Chiquet “Or Premier Cru” Brut Millésime is composed of a blend of sixty percent pinot noir and forty percent chardonnay and was disgorged in July of 2018, after a bit over nine years aging sur latte. The bouquet is excellent here, offering up scents of apple, peach, brioche, a fine base of soil and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is bright, fullbodied and nicely complex, with good, but not great depth at the core, pinpoint bubbles and lovely balance on the fairly long finish. This is a very tasty wine, but it does not quite have the mid-palate core or backend length to be in the very top division. That said, this is drinking very nicely right now and still provides plenty of pleasure for the relatively near-term. 2019-2030.”
[Disgorgement date on bottle may vary]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $69.99

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