Grower Champagne Club – May 2017

Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, “Oenophile,” 2008, $70
Pierre Gimonnet is a relatively large (by grower standards) domain, located in the village of Cuis, with about 28-hectares (60 acres) of Grand and Premier Cru vines, mostly in the Côte des Blancs. 70% of the vineyards are over 30 years old, and the oldest parcel, in Cramant, is 100. The winery is now headed by Didier Gimonnet, whose family has been growing grapes since 1750. Pierre, his grandfather, first began bottling estate Champagne from their fruit in 1935. Didier has described himself as “unfashionable,” which importer Terry Theise is quick to point out, refers to the fact that he is not swayed by fashion; Didier is faithful to his winemaking experience and principles, rather than chasing current trends, and he continues to make his very classy and elegant Champagnes, vintage after vintage. 2008 was an excellent vintage (“the best of the decade, after 2002,” says Theise). Didier’s 2008 Cuvée Oenophile is 100% Chardonnay sourced from about one third each Cramant and Chuilly, plus Oger, Cuis, and Vertus. It is an Extra Brut (so there is no dosage) and it sees no oak so this one is all about pure fruit flavor. Terry writes, “I don’t know when I’ve tasted a better bone-dry Champagne…. A really fine fragrance; about as grand as can be imagined… and what complexity, seamless balance, crushed oyster-shell, length, lemony splash and suave stoniness.” So stunning, in fact, that he put it on his his list of four “great wines of this year’s offering.” Enjoy it any time over the next five to eight years, on its own or with appetizers or seafood, such as lobster or scallops.