This is why I immensely adore Champagne, even though I don’t drink it on an everyday basis. Why? Well, first, I’m not Bill Gates’ long forgotten grandchild, and secondly, I love the surprise these wines give every time I taste them. While reading my impression of this bottle, you’ll come across two terms that are not so popular in the world of still wines – brut and NV. To make things simple, brut indicates the level of sweetness and literally means ‘dry’ (contains no more than 12 g/L of residual sugar). NV translates into ‘non-vintage’ which tells you that a Champagne, or any other sparkling wine, is a blend of different vintages (years). Winemakers do this in order to draw out the best quality of all the selected years and bring you a top-notch product.
Now, imagine yourself in a bakery, eating some fresh pastry, drinking a lager and gulping down on aspirins. Just imagine that, don’t try it at home (nor in your local bakery). This is how Château de l’Auche Brut Cuvée du Chapitre NV tastes like. Golden in the glass, from color to taste, showing spectacular aromas of dough, granola, cashew, green apple, pear, tropical fruit (lychee, mango) and splashes of chalk and wet stone. Dry with striking acidity, medium alcohol and a beautiful structure. Not too pushy with the fruit-yeast combo and complexity, but showing exquisite regional expression (mistake this for a Prosecco or Cava and you’re heading towards a red card). How much I cherish the minerality this wine is showing cannot be put into words. With this element prevailing through the whole experience, you can really imagine yourself drinking it on the chateau’s limestone-chalk terrain, while listening to Black’s Wonderful Life, surrendering to the ocean breezes and letting them air-dry your hair. Girl, sit down. I just got started. When taking into consideration food pairings, I know some of you will scoff me for choosing a raspberry fruit cake with a brut instead of a demi-sec, but hey, it was my 26th birthday, so I can pair it with cream cheese foie gras dipped in Satan’s blood if I damn well please.
Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Meunier
Aging: 5 years in cellar, 6 months in bottle
Average price: 35€
GN score: 93/100
Region: France – Champagne – Montagne de Reims
In 90% of cases, Champagne is recognizable as a classic blend of three grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In this cuvee of different vintages (and probably different plots of land), Pinot Meunier is the only grape used, which makes me a happy man. Although this is the least famous of the three, it accepts the most cold and harsh conditions of the region, contributing with higher acidity levels and joyful fruitiness.
Founded in 1961, Château de l’Auche highlights the extraordinary personality of Pinot Meunier and delivers with 110ha of vineyards across Champagne (including some classified as Premier Cru). Sustainable viticulture is in focus, so if you cherish terms like terroir and healthy environment, this is the winery to go for. Needless to say, the world of wine is definitely turning more to boutique houses such as this one, so don’t miss a chance to sip this delicious bubbly bliss.
Written by Aleksandar Draganić.
I’m a WSET certified grape juice drinker, and yes, I’m that 1% of people that love their job. I drink wine, write about it, preach about it, even take pictures of it. Find me at @grapenomad