2016 Frédéric Brochet Ampelidae Armance B. Prestige Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs, France
Armance B. is a sparkling organic wine made by Vienne winery Ampelidae, and named after its owner Frédéric Brochet’s grandmother who started the family tradition of producing bubbly wines back in 1899.
The Armance B. Prestige is not made every vintage, only when the weather conditions are optimal to allow producing quality grapes on the flint, chalk, and limestone soils they are sourced from.
This is made from 100% organically grown Chardonnay (Ecocert certification), through the Méthode Traditionnelle (Champenoise). After the second fermentation in bottle, the wine is aged on its lees at the winery for a minimum of 36 months before disgorgement and release. Year after year Armance B. uses a stock of old wine with a “Solera” process to insure perfect consistency in the dosage. Being a Brut Nature, there is no added sugar in the dosage.
Only about 4,000 bottles of the Armance B. Prestige Brut Nature are made for the vintages it’s made.
This French bubbly comes in a shiny lemon-yellow color, with hints of gold hues giving it a good intensity and a bright shine, suggesting some oak has been involved in its making.
The nose does suggest it too. Although the aromatic profile first appears primarily fruity with some savory notes.
Tropical notes of ripe pineapple and mango, with hints of passion fruit, come with ripe stonefruit aromas of apricot, for an intense and pleasing fruity smell. You’ll have to add well-integrated notes of sour-dough brioche, and subtle vanilla, caramel and nutmeg from what appears to be oaky scents, to get a complete picture of this sparkling wine’s nose. The typical profile of a mineral yet ripe tropical Chardonnay, aged for quite a while on less (the sour dough element) and with some oak. Deep and harmonious to smell at, with an upfront fruitiness that makes you want to investigate further and find out what it tastes like!
This is clearly a dry bubbly, like often with quality Blanc de Blancs sparkling wines. Round body and generous smooth texture, comes matched by a crisp and mineral acidity.
The flavors are savorer on the palate than the aroma suggested on the nose. While the fruity character dominates the smell, the sour dough savoriness, and the somewhat austere spices are the main component of the palate.
Some saltiness and plenty of aromatic power make for a long, dry and salivating finish.
A complete and complex sparkling wine, with an honest and genuine expression of the ripe Chardonnay grapes it was made from, augmented by a long aging on lees and some oak. Generous fruity tropical characters are here expressed in a rather dry and savory wine, complemented by raw sweet spices and a saline minerality.
A sparkling wine best enjoyed with refined foods, to be paired with gastronomic dishes, delicate creamy seafood or roasted poultry entrees, subtle paté or fish eggs on toasts, or any other dish that will match its salinity and complex savory personality, as well as round up its crisp acidity with some fatty richness.