Grower Champagne Club – May 2020

Chapuy, Blanc des Blancs, Grand Cru, 2012, $55
Chapuy is a small, eight-hectare family estate with a long history in the Grand Cru village of Oger, in the Côte des Blancs. One of their ancestors, they point out, was mayor of the village just after the French Revolution. Serge Chapuy created the brand in 1952 and his son Arnold succeded him in 1981. Since 2008 Arnold’s daughter Aurore has been in charge of both the vineyards and winemaking, while her sister Élodie is their overseas ambassador (she visited the shop several years ago to pour their wines for us). Most of Chapuy’s vineyards are located in the Côte des Blancs with three hectares in the Grand Cru village of Oger, all planted to Chardonnay. They also source fruit from family plots in the Côteaux Sud d’Épernay, on the left bank of the Marne River in the Vallée de la Marne, from which they get Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Because this is technically purchased fruit, albeit from a family member, they are labelled NM (or négociant-manipulant). But they are definitely a grower producer in spirit. This elegant offering comes from the excellent 2012 vintage and is 100% Chardonnay from their vineyard holdings in Oger. Aurore blocks malolactic fermentation in this wine in order to preserve the fresh crispness of the fruit, but she does add about eight grams dosage, resulting in a Champagne that shows the clean, freshness of Côtes des Blancs fruit without the austerity those wines can sometimes have. It is soft, elegant, and very inviting, with a creamy texture, fine bubbles, and hintss of white summer fruits and buttery brioche. Enjoy it anytime over the next few years, on its own or with lobster, crab, or duck. They suggest Monkfish with a lemony cream sauce.