Grower Champagne Club – January 2015

2005 Pierre Moncuit-Delos, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs
The Champagnes of Pierre Moncuit are quintessential examples of pure, terroir-driven wine, beautifully expressive of the local Kimmeridgian limestone soil of the Côtes des Blancs. They own 20 hectares of vineyards, about 15 of which are in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger where they are based. Although vines in Champagne are typically replanted every 25 years, most of Moncuit’s vines in Le Mesnil, all Chardonnay, average thirty years in age. They feel that these older vines are better able to express the nuances of the chalky Le Mesnil soil to the wines. The family had been longtime growers in the region, but Pierre Moncuit only began bottling Champagne from their fruit in the 1950s. Since 1977 his daughter, Nicole, has overseen the vineyards and winemaking while his son, Yves, has been in charge of the commercial side of the winery. Moncuit wines are always produced from a single vintage, although only those from great years will carry the vintage date on them, such as this one. Nicole feels that single-vintage wines express the characteristics of thier unique growing season more precisely than blends and are more fascinating as they evolve in the cellar. She doesn’t age her wines in wood which she feels gets in the way of the inherant delicacy and minerality of the Le Mesnil fruit, though they do go through malolactic fermentation. The inherent intensity, structure, and balance of the 2005 vintage allowed her to bottle this Champagne without dosage, yet it is is still amazingly elegant and aromatic. Like all Moncuit wines, it is delicious even when young, with zesty acidity and pure fruit flavors of pears and apples, and inviting biscuity notes. But it also has the structure and complexity to age in the cellar. It is $65 and the winery suggests pairing it with grilled sea bass.