Champagne AR Lenoble Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru MAG 17 NV

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At the northern end of the Cote de Blancs, the Grand Cru vineyards of Chouilly have always given richer, riper, Chardonnay that is found further south. Skillful use of oak for aging about 25% of the base wines gives welcome complexity (although no oaky flavors), but it’s the addition of 30% reserve wines aged nearly 5 years on fine lees in magnum to the 2016 base vintage that delivers the clarity, precision and drive that’s so exciting here. Three years on the lees and finished at just 2 g/l dosage- so technically “Extra Brut.”

The aromas are bold and refined, with green and yellow apple, under-ripe pineapple, yellow citrus, toasted hazelnut, mint and brioche showing on first pour and gaining depth and power as the wine warms. The balance of rich ripeness and driving, salty, minerality on the palate is captivating, showcasing bold flavors of white orchard fruits, citrus, toasted nuts, butter, brioche and more. And the finish is a dream – broad, rich and lifted by a generous dose of freshening acidity and chalky minerality that leave lemon, hazelnut, and chalk flavors lingering. A touch more vivid and intense than the Mag15 edition with even more length. Stunning value here.

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