Chiquet’s Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ is composed entirely of Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards around the village of Aÿ in the Valle de la Marne. The vines grow in mineral-rich clay, limestone, and chalk soils that retain the day’s heat through cool nights, promoting ripeness in the fruit and richness in the wine. This wine consistently highlights the unique character of the terroir rather than the qualities of a particular year, and is somewhat unusual as the product of a region best-known for Champagne dominated by Pinot Noir.
Grapes are always harvested by hand and vinified by vineyard parcel in small tanks. Following secondary fermentation, the wine aged on lees in bottle for three years prior to disgorging.
“Gaston Chiquet is one of the larger of the artisan producers in Champagne, with a total 23 hectares under vine spread across 45 parcels in Hautvillers, Aÿ, and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. While grower Champagnes have become all the rage in recent years, brothers Fernand and Gaston Chiquet were among the first, if not the first, growers to bottle and sell their own wines, something that was groundbreaking all the way back in 1919. Gaston Chiquet is unique for the relatively high percentage of Pinot Meunier in their vineyards (40%) as well as for their Blanc de Blancs grown in Aÿ, believed to be one of just two 100% Chardonnay Champagnes being made in this village famous for its Pinot Noir. Nicolas Chiquet favours malolactic fermentation for his wines and levels of dosage that tend towards the lower end of the spectrum. These are wines imbued with extraordinary personality and character.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate on Gaston Chiquet, Dec 2008
“One of the hidden gems in this range, the Brut Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ is striking. It is also pretty tightly wound, so a year or two of cellaring is absolutely essential. Citrus peel, white flowers, mint and crushed rocks abound. I have to say, I am pretty surprised how taut the Blanc de Blancs is. Time in the glass releases attractive tropical accents that add character and also provide some hints as to where the wine is headed. More than anything else, the texture and persistence are so alluring. As always, the NV Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ, is in reality a vintage wine, in this case 2014. Disgorged: November, 2019.”
92 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Nov 2020