Camille Savès, Grand Cru Carte d’Or, NV, $72
The history of this producer in the Montagne de Reims village of Bouzy began in 1894 when Eugène Savès founded Champagne Eugène Savès and began bottling his own wines. His grandson Camille changed the name along the way, and today the house is in the hands of great grandson Hervé, who oversees ten hectares of vineyards, mostly in the Grand Cru villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay. Hervé eschews the use of pesticides and herbicides and strictly controls yields in order to maintain utmost quality. He ferments his Champagnes in enamel-lined steel tanks then ages them in a combination of steel and neutral oak. All of his wines receive a minimum of four years on the lees, which provides the characteristic richness and depth that Savès Champagnes are known for. He does not let them go through malolactic fermentation though, because he feels that fruit from Bouzy has enough power and richness on its own and doesn’t need any additional weight. This also preserves the fresh minerality and bright fruit flavors of his wines. The balance of deep, rich texture and sleek, elegant freshness is a hallmark of Savès’ style. The Carte d’Or is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, all from their Grand Cru Bouzy vineyards. It gets eight grams dosage and is bottle-aged on the lees a minimum of four years before disgorgement, giving it beautiful texture and complexity. It opens with rich, toasty, briochy flavors and aromas, and evolves in the glass, developing fresh notes of stone fruits and hints of warm baked apples. With fine, lively bubbles and notes of red fruit from the Pinot Noir, it is perfect with or without food, or for any special occasion.