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Champagne Vilmart et Cie. is arguably the greatest of the smaller Champagne houses that own and maintain their own vineyards (an arrangement known as “grower Champagne”). This bottling of Vilmart’s non-vintage “Grand Cellier” combines 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. Some Champagne is quiet and subtle, a whisper. Vilmart, however, is audacious and luxurious and exotic, a bit flamboyant even.
The still wine at is aged for ten months in oak casks prior to secondary fermentation.
Incredibly expressive, the palate is layered with green and gold tropical fruit, a creamy mouthfeel, nutty brioche, and a vibrant finish.
“Laurent Champs grows this fruit at his vineyards in Rilly-la-Montagne, a premier cru village in the Montagne de Reims. He farms his estate without any chemical inputs. Blending 70 percent chardonnay with pinot noir, he ages the base wine in large neutral-oak vessels, then leaves it for 30 months on the lees, in bottle. The wine’s limestone minerality reminded several tasters of white Burgundy, a firm structure balanced by sweet notes of honey and puff pastry. Dense, floral and layered in its complexity, this would be delicious decanted with a salmon soufflé.”
94 points, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Dec 2020
“A classy Champagne, with a lovely, viscous creaminess on the palate, carrying finely detailed flavors of peach skin, spring blossom, steeped raspberry and slivered almond. Long and mouthwatering, with a well-spiced finish. Disgorged December 2017. Drink now through 2025.”
93 points, Wine Spectator, Dec 2020