Grower Champagne Club – March 2019

Bérêche et Fils, Reflet d’Antan, Brut, $115
This Champagne is a “reflection of the past” (reflet d’antan) in several ways. For one, we put a previous bottling of it in the club back in 2011. It was at the upper end of our club price limit at the time, and this one is even higher—but not to fear. We got it at an amazing price from the distributor for the club and your cost is still just $80 plus tax (although further bottles and the shelf price will be $115). But there was no question in our minds that this Champagne was destined for the club! As we wrote before, the name of this Champagne notes its ties to the traditions of the past. For the Bérêche family, a Champagne house since 1847, this wine honors the winemaking traditions passed down by their forefathers. Bérêche began with only a few hectares in the Montagne de Reims, and over the years expanded their holdings through marriage. In the 1990s they bought property in the Vallée de la Marne, so they now own vineyards in several areas in Champagne, which they plant roughly equally to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. Reflet d’Antan is basically one third of each varietal and to produce it, they use several unique practices. They are one of only a few producers in Champagne to use the labor-intensive solera process, more often associated with Sherry production. They store the wine in 600-liter demi-muids (twice the size of a typical barrel) and remove a portion of it each year for their current Champagne, replacing it with wine from the new harvest: a perpetual blending system. The result is an astonishingly beguiling wine, golden in color, and richly aromatic with beautiful texture, endless depth, and notes of toasty brioche. Savor it on its own or with richer seafood dishes.