Grower Champagne Club – March 2021

Phillippe Fontaine, Cuvée des Lys, 2015, $62
The Fontaine family has been cultivating their land in the Côtes des Bar, in the southern Aube region, for centuries. Their estate is based in Balnot-sur-Laignes and today it is run by Philippe, along with his daughter Salomé and her husband Louis-Antoine. Their vineyards, mostly located in the Les Riceys part of the region, are sustainably farmed and planted about 80% to Pinot Noir and 20% to a mix of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.

We see very few Champagnes that are 100% Pinot Blanc, and certainly not vintage versions, so this one is a rare fine. It is made in very small amounts and is sourced from 30-year-old vines, grown on chalky, marl soils formed in the Jurassic era. Cuvée des Lys is aged three years sur latte before release and is a fresh and fruity, yet very complex Champagne, with expansive aromas of white flowers, exotic fruits, and orchard fruit, such as pears and apricots. It is a distinctive Champagne with its own unique character. Its subtle notes of savory biscuit and baking spice linger on the long, evolving finish. It would be lovely just to savor on its own, or you could enjoy it with seafood, such as oysters, scallops, ceviche, or perhaps even octopus or squid dishes.