Saber Club

Saber Club is for all of our members who can’t get enough sparkling in their lives. We’ll focus on Grower Champagnes including other outstanding bubbles from all over the world.

Archived Selections

Note: Saber Club provides selections every other month.

February 2022

NV

Maison Brimoncourt Extra Brut

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Maison Brimoncourt

Maison Brimoncourt was Purchased in 2008 by Alexandre Cornot. Passionate about history and fascinated by the tireless quest of men for excellence, admirer of nature, lover of the land of Champagne and its wine, he breathes this particular touch of personality and his almost obsessive requirement into each of the creations of the House.

Brimoncourt is based in Aÿ, in the historic heart of the vineyard, in buildings and gardens that will soon be two hundred years old.

Composed of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, the Extra-Brut cuvée is born from a rigorous selection of the best grapes from exceptional years, from 6 Grand Cru classified villages. After 4 years spent in the cellar, this wine dosed at 2g with the pure expression of the expertise of Maison Brimoncourt.

NV

Champagne Lamiable “Graine d'Etoiles” Brut Nature

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Lamiable

Lamiable Champagne is a family business situated in Tours-sur-Marne, a great village situated in the heart of Champagne. Ophélie and Jean Pierre are at the helm of today’s family estate.

The family settled in Tours-sur-Marne during the 18th century. The current house was built in 1859 by Louis Hippolyte Lamiable. The Lamiable family were just farmers before getting into the wine industry. At the death of their father Hippolyte during the first world war, the four young Lamiable brothers worked very hard to provide for the family during those tough times. After the second world war, Pierre wanted to diversify, so he planted the first vines.

The Grand Cru blends of Maison Lamiable are declined according to the dosages and blends around the 4 elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire and the 5th element: Quintessence.

NV

Champagne Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Champagne Le Mesnil

Founded in 1937, the house Champagne Le Mesnil gets its name from the vineyards and co-op of farmers from where they obtain their fruit. The vineyards of Le Mesnil sur Oger have a truly excellent terroir as 100% of its vineyards are ranked as "Grand Cru". The vineyards are situated at the heart of the prestigious "Côte des Blancs", so called because of the omnipresence of superb Chardonnay. The white wine made from this grape, with its white skin and flesh is the reason why the appellation is known as the "Blanc de Blancs". The quality of our vineyards comes from the fact that they are east-facing. With vineyard topsoil over a base layer of chalk the vineyards have excellent hydric qualities thus allowing the chardonnay grape to reach their full potential.

This particular cuvee is made by blending various parcels of Chardonnay grown in Le Mesnil sur Oger. The wines used are specially selected for their finesse and ethereal qualities which give the wines their complex and mouth-watering flavors. This seductive Champagne is a reflection of the house style of Le Mesnil and is perfect throughout a meal, from aperitif to dessert and indeed at any time of the day or night.

100% Chardonnay Grand Cru
Harvest 2018 with 90%, 5% harvest 2017 and 5% harvest 2016
Minimum 3 years of aging in cellar
Disgorging: 2021
Sugar dosage: 9 g/L

NV

Champagne Chapuy “Tradition” Rose

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Chaput

The Chapuy family has deep roots in the Grand Cru village of Oger, and while Chardonnay is more the focus in these parts, this Brut Rosé shows off a deft hand with Pinot Noir as well.

The Chapuys themselves refer to their wine as “premium-quality Champagne at an ‘owner’ price,” which, in a region so readily associated with luxury branding, is an appealing motto to say the least. Most important of all, the wine delivers: It’s full of vibrant red fruits and backed with chalky minerality that drives a wildly refreshing finish. If you’ve got any upcoming celebrations you’d like to elevate without going broke, or if you believe, like we do, that a weeknight dinner is just as plausible a scenario for a delicious wine like this, Chapuy has you covered.

December 2021

2016

Dautel Pinot Sekt Brut Nature

WÜRTTEMBERG, GERMANY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Dautel

Though Württemberg is not yet well known in the states, the Dautel family is a leading producer with grape growing history going back 500 years. Like many estates, the previous story was one of mixed agriculture. The region is protestant and reformation dictated that property be divided between all children; individual parcels of vineyard land got smaller and smaller with each passing generation. Co-ops were founded and came to dominate the area, the idea being that the smaller plots of land could be reunited through production rather than ownership.

The region itself is marked by ancient, very steep terraced vineyards, among the most beautiful and forbidding you’ll see in Germany, including the Mosel-terrasen. These steep vineyards hug the Neckar and Ahr rivers while the rest of the region, similar to Austria’s Weinvertel region, consists of a rolling landscape with isolated steeper hillsides. Soils range from calcareous marl, Gipskeuper (deeper clay with a high gypsum content, which is common in Franken), a rare soil called Schilfsandstein (reed sandstone) which is a hard yellow-ish sandstone often used in building construction, and our old pal Muschelkalk which, as you know, means “fossil-bearing limestone.”

Ernst Dautel, Christian’s father, was the first generation in his family to attend winemaking school in Geisenheim in the 1970s. When he returned home he decided to stop working with the coop, though his father was one of the founding members of the coop in Meimsheim. Ernst didn’t want to “throw his fruit in with all the rest and get some bad quality wine out of it.” Ernst is an iconoclast and one of the first producers in the Württemberg to estate bottle wines. His wife Hannalore was from Bönnigheim, where the winery is located now, and; they were married in the late 1970s. Their eldest son, Christian, was exposed to wine at a very young age, recounting picnics in the vineyards and family vacations that always included visits to great estates.

Christian is a thoughtful winemaker repeating the refrain we always hear from quality minded growers – “the wines are made in the vineyards”. Like other top winemakers from his generation taking over successful wineries from their parents, he has a huge amount of respect for what his father accomplished and sees no need to tear down the work that has been done by making abrupt changes.

Today, Christian farms four Grand Cru (Grosse Lage) sites, Michaelsberg Grosse Lage (colored marl), Steingrüben Grosse Lage (Schilfsandstein), Schupen Grosse Lage (Gipskeuper, weathered limestone) and Forstberg Grosse Lage (colored marl and stony clay with limestone inclusions), and two 1er Cru (Erste Lage) sites Sonnenberg Erste Lage (Schilfsandstein, Gipskeuper) and Wurmberg Erste Lage (Muschelkalk).

Christian’s goal is to continue to bring out the specific character of each terroir without losing the inherent flavor of the grape variety planted to each vineyard. Wines are not made by formula, but by taking in to account the feeling for each site and variety. These are singular wines, unlike anything we’ve come across in Germany.

2012

Louis Roederer Brut Nature "Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck"

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Louis Roederer

When he inherited the Champagne House in 1833, the aesthete and entrepreneur Louis Roederer took a visionary approach to enriching his vines, aiming to master every stage of the wine’s creation. He forged the wine’s unique style, character, and taste. In the mid-nineteenth century, Louis Roederer acquired some of Champagne’s grand cru vineyards—an approach that contrasted sharply with contemporary practices..

While other Houses bought their grapes, Louis Roederer nurtured his vineyards, familiarized himself with the specific characteristics of each parcel, and methodically acquired the finest land. Louis Roederer’s guiding principle was that all great wine depends on the quality of the soil, a passion for tradition, and an astute vision of the future; the fame and reputation of the House of Louis Roederer was firmly established. His heir, Louis Roederer II was equally enlightened and adopted his father’s conscientious approach to the production of champagne, patrimonial estate management, and instinctive audacity.

2017

Crocker & Starr Blanc de Noirs Brut

CARNEROS, CA

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Crocker & Starr

Pam Starr has been the co-owner, manager and winemaker of Crocker & Starr since its inception in 1997 when she helped resurrect the vineyards on the Crocker Estate in St. Helena and established a winery to create world-class wines. After toiling as a winery employee for 18 years, Pam’s transformation at a relatively young age into owner, manager and winemaker was unique and remarkable. It required a special mix of skill, passion and dedication. All of which describe Pam Starr. Charlie Crocker, co-owner of Crocker & Starr and owner of the Crocker Estate, descends from one of California’s old families. His great grandfather, also Charlie Crocker, spearheaded construction of the Central Pacific railroad, completed in 1869, which began the extraordinary growth that transformed California into an economic powerhouse.

A San Francisco businessman, Charlie has had a life-long love affair with the Napa Valley as well as an enduring interest in wine. In 1971, Charlie and his wife Lucinda acquired the historic Dowdell property in St. Helena that included both vineyards and old stone buildings from the 1870s, and decided to bring it back to life. Charlie began by replanting and selling grapes, making wine for family and developing vineyards he sold to other wineries.

Desiring to complete the resurrection of the old wine estate, in 1997 Charlie established Crocker & Starr with Pam Starr whose Bordeaux-style wine he greatly admired. During his many years in business, Charlie founded, managed and grew two public technology companies. The first, BEI Technologies, specialized in high tech electronic sensors, including those developed to provide electronic stability control in automobiles. Today electronic stability control is required in every car sold in the United States. The second, BEI Medical Systems, developed sensor based proprietary medical devices for women’s health care. A few years ago, Charlie sold both companies and today he serves as director of a number of public and private companies and charitable organizations in the Bay Area.

October 2021

2020

Domaine Andre et Mireille Tissot Cremant du Jura Blanc

Jura, FR

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Antica Fratta

In the mid-1800s, a local merchant named Luigi Rossetti fell in love with the land around Monticelli Brusati and decided to turn a farmhouse into an elegant mansion and winery, thereby establishing Antica Fratta. By digging into the rocky hill behind the Villa, he built a beautiful wine cellar with four tunnels arranged in the form of a Greek cross to store his prized Franciacorta wines.

In 1979 the property was bought by Franco Ziliani of the Berlucchi family, who was charmed by the unique cellars and beautiful vineyards. Berlucchi was and is one of the major names in Franciacorta, but they wanted to expand into boutique production. The 1.7 kilometers of caves on the property stay at a constant 16°C with 60-70% relative humidity resulting in the perfect environment for aging sparkling wines. With Ziliani at its helm, Antica Fratta embraced the traditional method of producing high quality Franciacorta that is true to the terroir of Lombardia. Between 250,000 and 300,000 bottles are produced in a given year. All of the wines, with the exception of the entry level Brut, are vintage dated.

Lying to the south of Lake Iseo in the heart of Lombardy, Franciacorta is characterized by a cool climate mineral-rich, granular-sized, calcareous gravel and sandy moranic soils over a limestone bedrock, making it well suited to the French varietals of Champagne, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Antica Fratta’s commitment to honoring the land is evident in the exceptional wines they produce, which truly embody the essence of Franciacorta.

2011

Schramsberg “J. Schram” Brut

NORTH COAST, SONOMA, CA

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Frederic & Rodolphe Miniere

A new emerging grower in Hermonville – north of Reims in Massif Saint Thierry.

This area is the most northerly part of the Champagne region and has had an interesting history. Champagne is a huge region stretching 200km from north to south, and Hermonville is way north. Ravaged by phylloxera and the world wars, many vineyards were replanted in the mid sixties. 

Frederic and his brother, Rodolphe, are the fourth generation to lead their estate. The domaine was founded in 1919 by their great-grandfather but they never bottled Champagne under their own name. For generations, the Minières preferred to sell all of their fruit to larger houses. Frederic Minière worked with Anselme Selosse for two harvests in the late 90s. It was then that Fred fell in love with barrel aged Champagne and saw the benefits of organic viticulture. At the time, he was in the middle of his oenology studies and was at an impressionable age. This experience was formative for him and it convinced him to bottle Champagnes under his family name. This dream would not be realized until 2007 when his father retired and the two brothers were able to chart a new course for the domaine.

“If I hadn’t met Anselme I would not be making the wines I make today.” - Frederic Miniere

To say that Frederic and Rodolphe are focused on making only the highest quality Champagne would be an understatement. With almost eight hectares of land in Hermonville, they are purposefully limiting their production to the best and oldest vines isolated from only two hectares. They are also choosing to barrel age their wines entirely in oak barrels and releasing vintage specific cuvees only after years of sur lie aging. On average, their Champagnes are spending six or more years in barrel. (They didn't release their first vintage till 2014!) 

2013

Gusbourne Estate Brut Rose

Kent, GB

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Richard Petit

Richard Petit’s family roots in Avize go back centuries, caring for Chardonnay on the chalk soils of the Côte de Blancs. Véronique Bajan’s clan hails from Pinot Noir terroir in Verzenay, grand cru land on the Montagne de Reims.

Love, then marriage, came first in 1997. In 1999, Richard took over his family’s winery in Avize, and the idea that they might create wine together began to take root. Yet their vision wasn’t just to “make” Champagne, but to push farther, seeking to truly understand what their grand cru soils could give.

With Richard’s attention to detail in the fields and Véronique’s tasting prowess in the cellar, the small-batch, grand cru wines of Petit & Bajan are very much the voice of Champagne’s new generation.

Like their neighbor and mentor in Avize, Anselme Selosse, Richard and Véronique start by harvesting perfectly ripe grapes. At every step in the winemaking process, no detail is too small to be further perfected.

This attention to detail, to the soil and soul of true Champagne, is more than evident in the glass. Theirs are bold, aromatic and vinous wines that set a higher bar for grand cru Champagne.

Domaine Petit & Bajan crafts “grower” Champagne, a récoltant-manipulant house that grows its own grapes and makes its own wine all on site. This qualitative difference is crucial for those seeking the ultimate in Champagne flavor and character.

The estate’s vineyards are split between the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, with just over two acres of Chardonnay vines in Avize, Cramant and Oger, and five acres of Pinot Noir in Verzenay. All vineyards are rated grand cru and are cared for sustainably.

Crucially, the estate aims to harvest only perfectly ripe fruit, resulting in many local growers finishing the harvest before they even start. (A telling anecdote from the couple: most years, the very last two winemakers to finish the harvest in Avize are Richard Petit and Anselme Selosse.) Grapes are harvested by hand, and sorted in the fields and cellar.

Grapes are pressed in a traditional, upright wooden press in small batches, immediately after harvesting. Juice is settled naturally, and fermented on selected yeasts. Malolactic conversion is allowed. Wines are aged in bottle for a minimum of three years. Dosage as a rule is low, no more than 3 grams/L for all Champagnes.

August 2021

NV

Antica Fratta “Cuvee Real” Brut

FRANCIACORTA, LOMBARDY, ITALY

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Antica Fratta

In the mid-1800s, a local merchant named Luigi Rossetti fell in love with the land around Monticelli Brusati and decided to turn a farmhouse into an elegant mansion and winery, thereby establishing Antica Fratta. By digging into the rocky hill behind the Villa, he built a beautiful wine cellar with four tunnels arranged in the form of a Greek cross to store his prized Franciacorta wines.

In 1979 the property was bought by Franco Ziliani of the Berlucchi family, who was charmed by the unique cellars and beautiful vineyards. Berlucchi was and is one of the major names in Franciacorta, but they wanted to expand into boutique production. The 1.7 kilometers of caves on the property stay at a constant 16°C with 60-70% relative humidity resulting in the perfect environment for aging sparkling wines. With Ziliani at its helm, Antica Fratta embraced the traditional method of producing high quality Franciacorta that is true to the terroir of Lombardia. Between 250,000 and 300,000 bottles are produced in a given year. All of the wines, with the exception of the entry level Brut, are vintage dated.

Lying to the south of Lake Iseo in the heart of Lombardy, Franciacorta is characterized by a cool climate mineral-rich, granular-sized, calcareous gravel and sandy moranic soils over a limestone bedrock, making it well suited to the French varietals of Champagne, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Antica Fratta’s commitment to honoring the land is evident in the exceptional wines they produce, which truly embody the essence of Franciacorta.

2010

Champagne Miniere F&R Brut Zero

HERMONVILLE, MASSIF SAINT THIERRY, CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Frederic & Rodolphe Miniere

A new emerging grower in Hermonville – north of Reims in Massif Saint Thierry.

This area is the most northerly part of the Champagne region and has had an interesting history. Champagne is a huge region stretching 200km from north to south, and Hermonville is way north. Ravaged by phylloxera and the world wars, many vineyards were replanted in the mid sixties. 

Frederic and his brother, Rodolphe, are the fourth generation to lead their estate. The domaine was founded in 1919 by their great-grandfather but they never bottled Champagne under their own name. For generations, the Minières preferred to sell all of their fruit to larger houses. Frederic Minière worked with Anselme Selosse for two harvests in the late 90s. It was then that Fred fell in love with barrel aged Champagne and saw the benefits of organic viticulture. At the time, he was in the middle of his oenology studies and was at an impressionable age. This experience was formative for him and it convinced him to bottle Champagnes under his family name. This dream would not be realized until 2007 when his father retired and the two brothers were able to chart a new course for the domaine.

“If I hadn’t met Anselme I would not be making the wines I make today.” - Frederic Miniere

To say that Frederic and Rodolphe are focused on making only the highest quality Champagne would be an understatement. With almost eight hectares of land in Hermonville, they are purposefully limiting their production to the best and oldest vines isolated from only two hectares. They are also choosing to barrel age their wines entirely in oak barrels and releasing vintage specific cuvees only after years of sur lie aging. On average, their Champagnes are spending six or more years in barrel. (They didn't release their first vintage till 2014!) 

NV

Domaine Petit & Bajan "Obsidienne" Brut Blanc de Noirs

AVIZE, CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Richard Petit

Richard Petit’s family roots in Avize go back centuries, caring for Chardonnay on the chalk soils of the Côte de Blancs. Véronique Bajan’s clan hails from Pinot Noir terroir in Verzenay, grand cru land on the Montagne de Reims.

Love, then marriage, came first in 1997. In 1999, Richard took over his family’s winery in Avize, and the idea that they might create wine together began to take root. Yet their vision wasn’t just to “make” Champagne, but to push farther, seeking to truly understand what their grand cru soils could give.

With Richard’s attention to detail in the fields and Véronique’s tasting prowess in the cellar, the small-batch, grand cru wines of Petit & Bajan are very much the voice of Champagne’s new generation.

Like their neighbor and mentor in Avize, Anselme Selosse, Richard and Véronique start by harvesting perfectly ripe grapes. At every step in the winemaking process, no detail is too small to be further perfected.

This attention to detail, to the soil and soul of true Champagne, is more than evident in the glass. Theirs are bold, aromatic and vinous wines that set a higher bar for grand cru Champagne.

Domaine Petit & Bajan crafts “grower” Champagne, a récoltant-manipulant house that grows its own grapes and makes its own wine all on site. This qualitative difference is crucial for those seeking the ultimate in Champagne flavor and character.

The estate’s vineyards are split between the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, with just over two acres of Chardonnay vines in Avize, Cramant and Oger, and five acres of Pinot Noir in Verzenay. All vineyards are rated grand cru and are cared for sustainably.

Crucially, the estate aims to harvest only perfectly ripe fruit, resulting in many local growers finishing the harvest before they even start. (A telling anecdote from the couple: most years, the very last two winemakers to finish the harvest in Avize are Richard Petit and Anselme Selosse.) Grapes are harvested by hand, and sorted in the fields and cellar.

Grapes are pressed in a traditional, upright wooden press in small batches, immediately after harvesting. Juice is settled naturally, and fermented on selected yeasts. Malolactic conversion is allowed. Wines are aged in bottle for a minimum of three years. Dosage as a rule is low, no more than 3 grams/L for all Champagnes.

June 2021

2007

Le Mesnil Champagne, Grand Cru, Cuvee Prestige

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Le Mesnil sur Oger

Founded in 1937, the vineyards of Le Mesnil sur Oger have a truly excellent terroir, 100% of its vineyards are ranked as "Grand Cru". The vineyards are situated at the heart of the prestigious "Côte des Blancs", so called because of the omnipresence of superb Chardonnay. The white wine made from this grape, with its white skin and flesh is the reason why the appellation is known as the "Blanc de Blancs". The quality of our vineyards comes from the fact that they are east-facing, with vineyard topsoil over a base layer of chalk, thus allowing the Chardonnay vines to reach their full potential.

Every step of the vinification process is carried out with the utmost thought and respect for the land and environment. The cellars at Le Mesnil are modern and well-equipped, allowing their winemakers to not only respect traditional techniques but also make the best wines possible with the latest monitoring technology.

After vinification, the wines are rested in the cellars for at least a minimum of three years, with many cuvees exceeding the legal time requirements to age wine, allowing for aromatics and blends to fully develop. Their "vinothèque" is the sanctuary where all of their wines are kept to age, with vintages dating back to 1969. It’s through thoughtful aging practices that allow the wines to gain complex aromas of toasted almonds, chocolate shavings, citrus rind, stone fruits, and subtle hints of earthy notes.

With the combination of their exceptional terroir and superb quality of grapes from their farming partners, Le Mesnil makes Champagne of the highest levels of refinement and freshness beyond compare! Especially when it comes to the other “big houses”, you can’t beat Le Mesnil on QPR. Champagne collectors around the world drink and collect the wines of Le Mesnil on a regular basis since the juice in the bottle is so dang good. 

NV

Pierre Cellier Champagne Brut Prestige Rosé

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Pierre Cellier

In 1977, following a request from a loyal customer, Philippe Gonet created the Pierre Cellier brand, naming it after his eldest son and his wife’s family name. The request was for a younger, more vivid wine than the current Gonet releases. It wasn’t until Pierre and his sister, Chantal, took over the business that this special brand was made available to other customers, starting gradually in 2001. The main difference between the two family estate labels is the aging on lees in bottle. The Gonet wines see a minimum of three years on the lees before disgorgement, whereas the Pierre Cellier wines will spend a minimum of two years on the lees. The shorter amount of time on the lees generally allows for a fruitier, more ‘crowd pleasing’ style, yet it is still longer than the standard requirement in Champagne of 15 months. The Prestige wines were started by the late Philippe Gonet, crafted specifically for a friend and restaurateur back in the 70s in Paris. Named after his son, Pierre (now the winemaker), and his wife's maiden name, Cellier, the wines showcase an approachable fruity style only recently made available in the U.S. market. Made with the same precision and care from certified sustainable vineyards, HVE.

NV

Bousquet Sparkling Charmat Brut Rosé

UCO VALLEY, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Jean Bousquet

A 1990 vacation in Argentina was all it took. For third-generation winemaker Jean Bousquet, it was love at first sight. The object of the Frenchman’s desire: the Gualtallary Valley, a scenic, remote, arid terrain high in the Tupungato district of the Uco Valley in Argentina’s Mendoza region, close to the border with Chile. Here, where the condors fly and not a vine in sight, Bousquet discovered his dream terroir, an ideal location in which to nurture organically-grown wines.

With altitudes ranging up to 5,249 feet, Gualtallary occupies the highest extremes of Mendoza’s viticultural limits. Fast-forward to the present and wine cognoscenti recognize it as the source of some of Mendoza’s finest wines. Back then, it was virgin territory: tracts of semi-desert, nothing planted, no water above ground, no electricity and a single dirt track by way of access. Locals dismissed the area as too cold for growing grapes. Bousquet, on the other hand, reckoned he’d found the perfect blend between his French homeland and the New World (sunny, with high natural acidity and a potential for relatively fruit-forward wines).

Bousquet’s daughter, economist Anne Bousquet, and her husband Labid Al Ameri, a successful trader with Fidelity in Boston, found themselves increasingly drawn to the cause, including the opportunity it offered to put their shared philosophy on sustainability into effect. After a 2002 trip to Argentina, the couple began to invest in Domaine Bousquet. In 2005, Al Ameri joined his father-in-law full time, helping with the construction of the winery. Anne continued her work as an economist, before joining the company in 2008. In 2009, the couple moved to Tupungato full-time, assuming full ownership of Domaine Bousquet in 2011.

The family is all about organic farming and sustainable production….Organically nurtured vine roots penetrate deep into the soil where they absorb the trace minerals that help give our wines their authentic regional taste. For this reason, organically grown grapes can express the purity, intensity and varietal character of the local terroir.

Their organically grown grapes offer a quality of fruit and vibrancy of taste that is unparalleled in the world of ordinary wines. Organically tended vines tend to produce lower yields with greater concentration of flavor (unlike chemically fed grapes), which allow their unique flavors to shine through.

Organic crops are grown in harmony with nature without using chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Organic agriculture uses natural fertilizers such as compost.

April 2021

2014

Laherte Frères "Les Empreintes" Extra Brut

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Jean-Baptiste Laherte

Jean-Baptiste Laherte set up the family estate in 1889, planting most of the vines in the village of Chavost, which was to become Chavot.

The estate gradually grew over generations, and covers today over 11 hectares through the Champagne region. The sixth and seventh generations are now working together to create wines that are just like them - pure, sincere and authentic. They share their experience and combine their efforts to make the most of this beautiful heritage.

Since 2005, Aurélien Laherte - the seventh generation - has been giving a new dimension to the estate, while following in the footsteps of his father Thierry and his uncle Christian, the Laherte brothers. Passionately, they promote the family’s values and continue to bring the best out of the terroir.

NV

Benoît Dehu "Cuvee Initiation"

CHAMPAGNE

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Déhu Père et Fils

The Champagne house of Déhu Père et Fils was founded in 1787, two years before the French Revolution. The passionate and pensive Benoit Déhu represents the eighth generation of vignerons at this historic, but under the radar estate located on the far western edge of the Vallée de la Marne. After a fruitful stint at Bollinger, Benoit returned to the family domaine with a strong vision for the future.

Because the family Champagne house is well established, Benoit has the unique opportunity to both manage the estate and explore his passion for naturally farmed, handmade, artisanal Champagnes under his own label, Champagne Benoît Déhu. In 2011, he peeled off 1.70 hectares of choice vines that he farms biodynamically, 0.40ha of which are worked with a horse. From these vines he crafts a single-vineyard, single-vintage, single-variety Champagne called “La Rue des Noyers”, named for the parcel that was once bordered by hazelnut trees (Noyers). The wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels, many of which are made from trees in the nearby forest of Fossoy. From this same parcel, Benoit also produces a Coteaux Champenois white and red. All three wines are made from 100% Meunier. This extremely focused micro-project allows Benoit to gain a better understanding of the Meunier grape via three distinct expressions of Meunier from the same terroir.

In the 2015 vintage, Benoit introduced two new Champagnes to his arsenal: "Initiation" and "L'Orme". Initiation is a blend of Meunier from La Rue des Noyers, and Pinot Noir from a small parcel dominated by clay and sand at the bottom of the hill, which Benoit planted using massale selection Pommard clone from Burgundy. The second addition, L'Orme, is made of 100% Pinot Noir from a tiny parcel previously planted with elm trees (Orme), and captures the attributes of complexity, personality and class that make Déhu Champagnes so alluring.

The style of Benoit’s low- and zero-dosage wines is intense, urgent and energetic, with beautiful tension and fine minerality. Though production is miniscule – less than 4,000 bottles – fellow vignerons and wine professionals are taking note of Benoit's work, earning him an enthusiastic underground following. He has quickly established himself as a vigneron to watch in one of France’s most dynamic and progressive wine growing regions.

NV

Hattingley Valley "Classic Reserve" Brut

GREAT BRITAIN

  • About

  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Hattingley Valley

Hattingley Valley was founded in 2008 by Simon and Nicola Robinson in Hampshire, England with its chalky soils and climate ideally suited for sparkling wines. They planted their first 7.3 hectares on a south-facing site with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier using laser-guided planting technology. Today, the team manages over 24 hectares (60 acres) of vines across two well-situated sites. Led by winemaker Emma Rice, Hattingley sparkling wines are all made in the traditional method with the highest quality standards – leading the charge for the English Sparkling wine movement.

2019

Renardat-Fâche Cerdon du Bugey

BUGEY, FRANCE

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  • Tasting Notes

  • Food Pairings

Alain Renardat

The Bugey, halfway between Lyons and Geneva is one of the tiniest and most obscure wine areas in France. Although the altitude is modest, the terrain is very mountainous, the roads are steep and winding as in the Alps and the villages are built for cold winters – the houses made of gray/white limestones all bunched together on narrow streets.

The vineyards are hard to detect, little patches here and there on steep slopes looking southeast or southwest, lost in the midst of fields with grazing cows and dense forests. The total surface of vineyards in the Bugey covers about 170 hectares and the varietals are borrowed from all the surrounding areas:

  • Gamay, Poulsard (a grape from Northern Jura), Roussette,
  • Mondeuse (both from Savoie) and Chardonnay.
  • Many still wines are produced, but the region's star wine is the Cerdon
  • Méthode Ancestrale,a demi-sec, pink bubbly made by spontaneous but incomplete fermentation.

Alain Renardat is a respected vigneron in Cerdon, and was a long-time supplier of Alain Chapel's restaurant in the Dombes.The Dombes, which, like the Bugey is in the Ain department, is an area of ponds and marshes, known for its fish and small birds. Alain Chapel, who died several years ago, was a chef beloved among chefs, and famous for his love of wine and winemakers. A vigneron selected by Chapel was guaranteed to have great personality and wines. And while the restaurant is now closed after a long run under the helm of Chapel's widow and sons, the winemakers he'd bring together annually to treat them to dinner remain great friends.

Alain, though technically retired for years, is active as ever. Along with his son Elie, they make their Cerdon from Gamay and Poulsard and follow the technique of méthode ancestrale (as opposed to Méthode Champenoise plain old carbonation, the preferred method used for supermarket wines). The grapes are picked by hand, pressed and fermented in cold vats until the alcohol reaches about six degrees of alcohol. After a light filtration that leaves most of the active yeast in the unfinished wine, it is bottled and continues its fermentation in the bottle, reaching about 7.5 or 8 degrees of alcohol and retaining a fair quantity of its original sugar. It is more vinous (with grapey primary aromas) than most Champagne, since there is neither dosage nor addition of yeast before the second fermentation. Cerdon is to be consumed throughout the year following the vintage.It is fragile and requires excellent cellaring and transporting conditions. Renardat's is delicate, berry-scented, refreshing, and makes a delicious aperitif or dessert wine (even chocolate goes well with it).

Who's Making These Great Selections?

Sommelier

Clare Gillette

Clare Gillette joined Classic in 2017 as our Director of Wine Sales to manage and grow the wine merchants operations for all three of our Classic locations. Before moving to Texas, Clare spent a significant time in the wine importing and distribution side of the business working with some of the most sought out, collector-worthy wineries and portfolios from all over the world. It was during college that she caught the wine bug, leading her to graduate with a Viticulture & Enology degree and to pursue Sommelier studies.

From Willamette to Burgundy, the Rhone Valley to Napa, or Piedmont to Champagne, Clare has travelled to meet winemakers and visit iconic vineyards as a forever student of the vine. Her expertise and relationships in the wine industry have been integral in elevating our Classic wine community and providing a higher level of value and service to you as our client.

Sommelier

Chester Cox

Chester brings over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Chester has worked in Fort Worth since 2003 where he spent 11 years as a sommelier at Del Frisco’s. That experience and level of customer service led Chester to spend the next handful of years creating experiences and finding hard-to-get wines for clients at Kent & Co. Wines and Ellerbe Fine Foods. During this time he also started a cellar management business that allowed him to organize, manage and stock cellars from 200 to 90,000 bottles.

As his consecutive, five-time award of "Fort Worth’s Best Wine Expert" by Fort Worth Magazine can attest to, Chester's level of expertise combined with years of concierge style customer service will help elevate your experience as a client with us.

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