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Vilmart & Cie.
January 30, 2019
Champagne Vilmart & Cie.
Unless you’re a Champagne collector, you may not realize that there are two worlds existing side-by-each in the region. Most obviously there are Les Grande Marques – the great houses, the names everyone knows like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Perrier-Jouët, et cetera. They produce millions of bottles each, and while they own many vineyards they can also buy fruit from all over the region and some Grande Marques buy base wine to keep up with global demand.
Then, there are the family-owned, much smaller Estate wineries that grow their own fruit and make their own wines. These are the “Grower-Producers” or “Grower Champagnes”. This is where real value lies. Vilmart & Cie. is the greatest Grower-Producer of all.
“When I first tasted Vilmart in 1981 it was nothing special. But after it introduced oak in the late 1980s, a sea change in quality occurred. By 1991, I declared Vilmart to be ‘Poor man’s Krug’, ‘Mini Krug’ and ‘The greatest grower Champagne I know.’ “ Tom Stevenson, Decanter, 2007
“For almost 30 years (since 1989 in fact), Laurent Champs has been in charge of Vimart & Cie., one of the finest addresses in the Montage de Reims. Most of his holdings-11 hectares spread over just 12 parcels planted with 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir are around the domaine in Rilly-la-Montagne, south of Reims. All parcels are south or southeast exposed, so quite warm. Champs ferments all of his wine in wood, with the non-vintage wines in large oak casks and the vintages in barriques. Malolactic fermentation is blocked, which gives the bright and shining, very alluring wines of Vilmart a racy-fresh and finessed character. The rosés are among my favourites, especially the 2011 Grand Cellier Rubis.” Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, July 2018
We are extremely excited to offer this opportunity to reserve the following wines from Vilmart.
These wines will begin arriving in Spring 2019. Prices are best-estimates at this time and subject to change due to currency fluctuation. No payment is necessary until we arrange your purchase. Prices are inclusive of taxes, exclusive of bottle deposit. Cases are limited, so we will do our best to distribute. Offer closes February 15th, 2019, or as stock allows. Please inquire.
Please visit us on the web for more on Vilmart. We have over 300 wines available at all times, many of which are in short supply and not available at LCBO stores. You can also call or email me to “talk wine”: 647 955 8872 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you.
“This wine emphasizes the white-flower scents of Chardonnay (70 percent of the blend, the balance Pinot Noir). The wine’s searing acidity wasn’t softened by malolactic fermentation, and its fleshy apple and pear flavours were concentrated and enriched by aging for eight months in large oak casks prior to bottling. Brian Long of NYC’s Ai Fiori drew a parallel between the wine’s “laser-like” malic acidity and the bright acidity of a young Mosel riesling. The fine mousse calms that acidity a bit, and age will build up the flavours to surround it. A Champagne for cellaring.” 94 points, Wine & Spirits, Dec 2018
“A mouthwatering, seamless Champagne that caresses the palate like raw silk, with vibrant acidity framing rich and finely meshed flavours of nectarine, chopped almond, fleur de sel and honey. Offers a long, chalky finish of lime blossom and spice. Disgorged December 2015. Drink now through 2022.” 93 points, Wine Spectator, Dec 2017
“The NV Cuvée Rubis, a blend of 2014 and 2013, is unusually strict and severe. Those are not bad qualities at all, but this edition is especially focused and pulsing with energy. The cranberry, white flowers, grapefruit and white pepper notes are finely cut. In many years, I find the Cuvée Rubis to be airy and even a touch diffuse, but in this release, the wine is finely etched and sculpted, not to mention a huge overachiever. I loved it. The Rubis is 90% Pinot Noir (of which about 15% is still red wine) and 10% Chardonnay. Disgorged November 2016. Dosage is 9 grams per litre.” 93 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, July 2018
“A mouthwatering rosé Champagne, with a fine, lively mousse and a delicate skein of spice unraveling through the flavors of white peach, blood orange granita, saffron and almond biscotti. Offers a lingering, chalk-tinged finish. Disgorged November 2016. Drink now through 2022.” 93 points, Wine Spectator, Nov 2018
“I don’t remember a better version of this. Blends 2014/2015 (and shows zero grassiness), deg 11/2016, shows a fantastic elegance and almost ethereal fruit; it’s both hedonic and firm and has a rare equipoise of height and depth. A tomato-water note in an animated, flowery Rosé. Honestly this is almost silly it’s so miraculous.” Terry Thiese, 2018
This blend is composed of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir hand harvested from Premier Cru vineyards’ 60+ year old vines in Rilly-la-Montagne. The fruit is brought into the winery where the head and tail (the first 350 litres and the last 350 litres) of the pressed juice is directed away . Only the “heart” of the juice makes it into tanks to ferment. Once complete, the base wine ages in oak barriques for 10 months, followed by five years on the lees sur-lattes.
This is one of the greatest values in the realm of world-class wine. The 2011 is a new release that has yet to be reviewed. The 2010 garnered the following:
“One of the things I admire most about Laurent Champs is his ability to turn out not just good – but great – wines in challenging years in which other growers struggle. Vibrant, nuanced and breathtakingly beautiful, the 2010 is simply mesmerizing. A kaleidoscope of aromas, flavours and textures dazzles all the senses in a taut, vibrant Champagne that will stop readers dead in their tracks. The 2010 is every bit that good. A few years in the cellar should help the wine soften a bit, but it is incredibly beautiful today. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2017. 2020-2032.” 95+ points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Nov 2018
“This elegant version offers seamless integration, draping a vivid frame of acidity with a fine, satiny texture and layered flavours of black currant, chopped almond, candied lemon zest and biscuit. Focused and graceful throughout, with a lasting, spiced finish. Disgorged January 2017. Drink now through 2028.” 94 points, Wine Spectator, Oct 2018
“No surprise: This is gorgeous. Will there be a better 2010? And will Laurent always make the best wine in normal or “difficult” vintages? Not his best wines, mind you – the best in all Champagne? This is another in a noble chain of manic vintages (2001, 2007) as separate from the rich sedate vintages (2006, 2009). It’s electric, quivering, goose-fleshed, shimmery yet hedonic yet weightless yet as energetic as a kitten jumping after a laser.” Terry Thiese, 2018
“From 55-year-old vines and aged for ten months in small oak barrels (no malolactic fermentation done), the rare 2011 Premier Cru Grand Cellier Rubis displays an orange shimmering rosé colour and has a deep, rich and complex bouquet with toasty brioche and nutty notes intermixed with lovely red fruit and floral aromas. Full-bodied but pure, fresh and very elegant on the palate, with concentrated fruit and good structure, this is a highly delicate but persistent cuvée of 60% Pinot Noir (saignée) and 40% Chardonnay. It is complex and long on the vinous finish. This sample was disgorged in April 2016. Tasted in April 2018.” 93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Aug 2018
“The 2011 Grand Cellier Rubis is a very pretty wine, with attractive hints of dried flowers, mint and dried cherry. In this tasting, the 2011 comes across as a bit compact, with the fruit pushed into the background and a slightly dry textural feel. It will be interesting to see if the wine gains a bit more mid-palate depth and body. At this stage, it looks like Laurent Champs successfully avoided the pitfalls of 2011, specifically the vegetal quality that afflicts so many wines. Even so, I would not push my luck with aging. Champs adds that 2003, 2007 and 2011 were all harvested in August, which is highly unusual in Champagne, but that in 2011 he waited an additional five days for the fruit to be as phisiologically ripe as possible before he brought it in. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir (all saignée) and 40% Chardonnay. Disgorged January 2017. Dosage is 7 grams per litre.” 92 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, July 2018
Ratafia is an exceptionally rare sweet wine from grower Champagne house Vilmart et Cie. Its unique character comes from blending the unfermented juice of hand-harvested Pinot Noir from Vilmart’s Premier Cru Champagne vineyards with Champagne brandy. As it ages, Ratafia acquires a warm profile, full and velvety and round. Five years spent in wooden barrels yields ginger-bread, rose flower jelly, and bitter orange marmalade flavours on the palate.
This is a unique, magical wine: fresh and bright, balanced by a concentrated, slightly heady finish. Enjoy chilled as an aperitif, or serve with food. Not just for dessert, consider it a sumptuous match for foie gras, tagines, charcuterie, or the richest cheeses (try Maroilles, Livarot, Munster, Epoisses, Roquefort, or Gorgonzola).