2011 Champagne Fleury, Cepages Blancs, Extra Brut
About this WINE
Champagne Fleury has been in the business of winemaking for over 125 years and is respected as one of the region’s first pioneers of biodynamics. Despite its long history, Fleury has remained a family winery. It is located in the far south of Champagne, in the Côtes des Bar, where the terroir has a huge amount in common with the Grand Crus of Chablis.
Fleury has never stopped innovating. In 1989, they committed fully to organic and biodynamic practices, the first in the region to do so. The winery prides itself on personifying the “art of being natural”. In this spirit, Champagne Fleury isn’t afraid to go against the grain in the interest of coaxing the very best out of the terroir.
Perhaps due to this, Fleury cuvées have a distinctive vinous quality and display outstanding precision, thanks to the care taken by the team in growing them. The mature Champagnes are a conversation piece at any gathering, managing to balance an ethereal purity of fruit with an earthy sense of place.
Brut denotes a dry style of Champagne (less than 15 grams per litre). Most Champagne is non-vintage, produced from a blend from different years. The non-vintage blend is always based predominately on wines made from the current harvest, enriched with aged wines (their proportion and age varies by brand) from earlier harvests, which impart an additional level of complexity to the end wine. Champagnes from a single vintage are labelled with the year reference and with the description Millésimé.
Non-vintage Champagnes can improve with short-term ageing (typically two to three years), while vintages can develop over much longer periods (five to 30 years). The most exquisite and often top-priced expression of a house’s style is referred to as Prestige Cuvée. Famous examples include Louis Roederer's Cristal, Moët & Chandon's Dom Pérignon, and Pol Roger's Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.
Recommended Producers : Krug, Billecart Salmon, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Salon, Gosset, Pierre Péters, Ruinart
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
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The Cépages Blancs cuvée from Maison Fleury is now a 100% Chardonnay. Grapes are grown on Chablis-esque Kimmerigian clay soils, resulting in a wine that is noticeably Burgundian in character. 40% of the blend was vinified in oak, which has added a hint of almond to a palate rich in white flower and dried fruit flavours. Although this is an Extra Brut wine, there is a delightfully honeyed note on the finish. This is a wine to be enjoyed alongside chicken dishes, over the next 10 years or so.
Davy Żyw, Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (Sep 2022)
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