2009 L. Aubry Fils, Aubry de Humbert, $62
Aubry is based in the Montagne de Reims village of Jouy-lès-Reims. It is run by twin bothers Philippe and Pierre Aubry, descendants from a line of winegrowers dating back to the 1700s, along with their brother-in-law Noël Poret. Terry Theise has called Aubry one of the most original estates in Champagne. They are fastidious about and devoted to their work, with a philosophy based on a few core principles: rigor, respect for traditions, originality, and creativity. They keep their yields low and use only the coeur de cuvée (the “heart” of the free run juice from the first pressing) for their vintage wines. They grow all three major Champagne grapes, as well as the much less common, Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau (aka Pinot Gris), all from Premier Cru vineyards. The different soil types, exposures, and grape varietals allow them to perpetuate their signature house style.
Aubry de Humbert is their “basic” vintage wine, named for the bishop who laid the cornerstone for the cathedral in Reims. It is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier and, depending on the vintage (there is conflicting information on the 2009) 5% each Petit Meslier and Arbanne. The wine is aged in neutral barrique (for the Chardonnay) and stainless steel and it sees some lees aging, adding a nice touch of warmth, despite its modest dosage. It is clean and fresh, with complex notes of pastry, white fruit, and a hint of nuttiness and spice. With its pleasant, mellow rusticity, it’s a great Champagne to enjoy with food, especially shellfish, crab, or lobster.