Champagne, France, WINE

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Champagne is, without a doubt, the world's finest region for sparkling wine, and the producers here guard their brand with ferocity. What was once a catch-all term on sparkling wine labels all over the world, Champagne can now appear only on wines produced in France's most northerly AOC.

Despite the seemingly inhospitable climate, Champagne takes advantage of topography and geography to craft its magical elixir. Situated just 90 miles from Paris on a bed of chalky limestone soils, the gentle, rolling hills of Champagne are ideal for growing early ripening varietals. Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay are the staple grapes, and the majority of wines are blends of two or more of these. However, some producers craft single-varietal Chardonnay wines known as Blanc de Blancs, while others make wines from one or both of the red varietals, known as Blanc de Noirs.

Traditionally, the Champagne export market has been dominated by large negociant houses such as Moët & Chandon, Taittinger, Louis Roederer, Bollinger, and Krug. In fact, these behemoth brands control only 10% of the vineyard land, and recent years have see the emergence of "grower Champagne," which refers to a number of small growers producing exceptional examples of terroir-driven wines from the AOC's grand cru and premier cru villages. Just southwest of the AOC's epicenter of Reims sit the red-dominant crus of Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay, and Bouzy, while further south, just across the Marne River near the village of Epernay is the Côte de Blancs, home to the impeccable Chardonnay vineyards around Cramant, Avize, Oger, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.

As the wines here increasingly showcase their respective terroir, and as the producers are increasingly driven by achievements of quality rather than quantity, Champagne is moving beyond the world's greatest sparkling wine region to become one of the world's greatest wine regions, period.

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95 points Tyson Stelzer (The Champagne Guide): (2010 base; 40% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir, 30% meunier; full ML fermentation; 9g/L dosage)... As precise and pretty as ever... gorgeously restrained rose petal, red cherry and strawberry hull fruit... lees age contributes great texture and mouthfeel,… ...

TCG 95
JS 94
WS 93
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Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne NV  (#6042)

Non-Vintage Rosé Sparkling Wine from Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
TCG 95
JS 94
WS 93

93 points Tyson Stelzer (The Champagne Guide): (30% saignée macerated fruit, 60% white, 10% red wine; of the white, 40% is 2013 reserves aged in barrels; fermented and aged for 6 months in vats, foudres and old demi-muid barrels)... Meunier speaks with bright expression of cherry, strawberry and red… ...

TCG 93
AG 92
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Laherte Freres Extra Brut Champagne Rose de Meunier NV  (#332401)

Non-Vintage Rosé Sparkling Wine from Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 10 available
$39.95
$56.00
Save $16.05 (29%)56.00
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97+ points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): ...striking, especially in the way it brings together elements of ripeness and freshness in a hypothetical blend of the 2002 and 2004. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the 2006 is all about texture. There is a real feeling of density and weight... All the… ...

AG 97
TCG 97
DE 97
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Taittinger Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne 2006  (#324810)

Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
AG 97
TCG 97
DE 97
$124.95
$199.00
Save $74.05 (37%)199.00
Save $74.05 (37%)

92 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): A cool, pure and very yeasty nose combines notes of brioche, citrus, apple and a whiff of petrol. There is a wonderfully refreshing character to the utterly delicious and impressively complex flavors that are supported by a firm but not particularly refined… ...

AM 92
WS 91
W&S 91
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Hebrart Brut Champagne Cuvee de Reserve 1er Cru NV  (#318390)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
AM 92
WS 91
W&S 91
$41.95
$50.00
Save $8.05 (16%)50.00
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92+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...60% pinot meunier, 30% chardonnay and 10% pinot noir... dosage of 6 to 8g/L... outstanding, offering up a very refined, meunier-dominated constellation of white peach, loads of spring flowers, chalky soil tones, gentle smokiness and a dollop of… ...

JG 92
WS 92
AG 92
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Laherte Freres Brut Champagne Ultradition NV  (#331696)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available
JG 92
WS 92
AG 92
$33.95
$50.00
Save $16.05 (32%)50.00
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This is a non-vintage blanc de blancs blended from four different years and sourced exclusively from the Grand Cru villages of Avize, Oger and Cramant, where Patrick s average vine age is an impressive average of 40 years old. The base vintage is 30-35%, reserve wines roughly equal parts of 3 prior… ...

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Le Brun-Servenay Extra Brut Champagne Melodie en C Grand Cru NV  (#701779)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Côte des Blancs, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 8 available

92+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): ...60% pinot meunier, 30% chardonnay and 10% pinot noir... dosage of 6 to 8g/L... outstanding, offering up a very refined, meunier-dominated constellation of white peach, loads of spring flowers, chalky soil tones, gentle smokiness and a dollop of… ...

JG 92
WS 92
AG 92
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Laherte Freres Brut Champagne Ultradition NV  (#331698)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JG 92
WS 92
AG 92
$21.95
$25.00
Save $3.05 (12%)25.00
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95 points Tyson Stelzer (The Champagne Guide): (Roughly equal proportions of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Avize and Cramant). 2007 immediately declares its magnificence, its pale straw hue and introverted demeanour promise a bright future. It's energetic in its fresh grand cru chalk mineral drive and… ...

TCG 95
WA 93
JS 93
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Delamotte Brut Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2007  (#327406)

Vintage Sparkling Wine from Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
TCG 95
WA 93
JS 93
PRE-ARRIVAL
$59.95
$112.00
Save $52.05 (46%)112.00
Save $52.05 (46%)

92 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The NV Blanc de Blancs shows the more powerful side of Chardonnay in its overall intensity and broad-shouldered frame. Scents of chamomile, lemon oil, white flowers, mint and pastry find resonance on the palate, where the wine offers crystalline purity and tons of… ...

AG 92
AM 92
WS 91
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Dhondt/Jose Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV  (#318308)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Côte des Blancs, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
AG 92
AM 92
WS 91
PRE-ARRIVAL
$34.95
$64.00
Save $29.05 (45%)64.00
Save $29.05 (45%)

20/20 points La Revue du Vin de France: Nose of plum, malt, linden, chamomile and quince eau-de-vie. The unique palate explore the terra incognita of champagne flavors. Incomparable. Disgorged in March 2013. Dosage: 3 g/l. 3,000 bottles. (Dec 2014) ...

RJ 94-95
WA 93
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Selosse Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne 2003  (#322811)

Vintage Sparkling Wine from Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available

95 points Tyson Stelzer (The Champagne Guide): (A blend of 2004, 2000 and especially 2002; 60% pinot noir, 40% chardonnay; no malolactic fermentation)... intricate definition of mineral texture. A calm sense of completeness sets this blend apart, capturing the wonderful succulence of white summer… ...

TCG 95
WE 94
IWC 93
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Lanson Extra Age X.A. Brut Champagne NV  (#315932)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 2 available
TCG 95
WE 94
IWC 93
$159.95
$250.00
Save $90.05 (36%)250.00
Save $90.05 (36%)

93 points Josh Raynolds (International Wine Cellar): Light gold. Heady aromas of buttered toast, tangerine, poached pear and chalky minerals, with floral and honey notes adding complexity. Palate-staining orchard fruit and brioche flavors are underscored by suggestions of iodine and anise, with a… ...

IWC 93
WE 93
JG 92
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Lanson Extra Age X.A. Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne NV  (#315933)

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available
IWC 93
WE 93
JG 92
$99.88
$125.00
Save $25.12 (20%)125.00
Save $25.12 (20%)
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