Grower Champagne Club – December 2014

2005 Domaine Lancelot-Royer, Cramant Blanc de Blancs
This Champagne can be summed up in one word: elegant. But if you’d like to know more, we can also tell you that it comes from the 100% Grand Cru Côte des Blancs village of Cramant (not to be confused with the French term crémant, which refers to any sparkling wine made outside the Champagne region). The chalky soil of Cramant is some of the best there is for growing Chardonnay and this one, from the 2005 vintage, shows that to perfection. Lancelot-Royer is a small, family estate, created by Pierre Lancelot in 1960 and now managed by his daughter Sylvie and her husband, Michel Chauvet, who is the winemaker. Everything is still done by hand with meticulous care here, in the vineyard and in the winery itself, including riddling, bottling, and disgorging. They do not use any oak, prefering to ferment in enameled stainless steel tanks, which Chauvet feels produces a purer reflection of the fruit and the chalky terroir. The age of their vines (averaging over 30 years), contributes a refined complexity to the wines, all of which are stored in their traditional cellar, carved into the chalk hillside where temperature and humidity are perfect for aging Champagne. As for this one, we knew from the first sip that it was the perfect choice to put in the club for the month of December, with all its holiday festivities. It is vibrant and complex, with beautiful texture and depth, and layered aromas of honey and toast. In a word, elegant. It is also very limited. The distributor got only 24 bottles, at $71.50 each, and we grabbed half of them. Enjoy it anytime, to mark a special occasion or just when you want to treat yourself.