How Good is Moutard Vignes Chiennes Chardonnay Champagne?
Wine Review of Moutard Père et Fils Vignes Chiennes Chardonnay Brut Nature Champagne, France
This Champagne sparkling wine by Champagne Moutard is a brand-new single vineyard cuvée part of the new Climats de Champagne range, and made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from a plot called Vignes Chiennes (understand ‘bitch vines‘ in French! Probably in the sense that they have been traditionally hard to work with) in Southern Côte des Bar area of the French Champagne region.
The wine was vinified and aged in foudre (large oak vat) for at least 10 months before bottling.
The wine is aged and bottled under the more traditional steel stapple cork closure instead of beer cap for ageing and a cage.
To respect the genuine expression of this special fruit, the dosage (added sugar at bottling) is minimal, limited to 3 grams per liter, hence the ‘Brut Nature’ sweetness level as detailed on the label.
This French Champagne sparkling comes in a bright and shiny lemon-yellow color. With hints of green hues and quite a pale color, it looks clearer and brighter than most Champagne you’re used to, clearly stating its Blanc de Blancs Champagne origin in its appearance.
The nose also appears pure and bright, shining with precise green apple aromas, hints of white flowers, like delicate elderflower tones, and a lactic creaminess to the profile. Pure mineral Chardonnay primary characters, just slightly underlined by some fresh milk lactic notes, perhaps from the malolactic fermentation?
The wine tastes mineral and subtle, introvert almost. A crisp minerality, from a saline acidity drives a refreshing citrusy experience. Bubbles are very fine, quite frothy but more importantly super creamy in their texture. Since the wine is perfectly dry, remember this is a Brut Nature, these oily bubbles backed up by quite a round body provide the whole balancing elements to the mineral acidity. And they do do a good job at it.
Flavors are subtle, dominated by freshly-squeezed lemon and lime, and a neat floral element, somewhat of a pot-pourri with yogurt tones.
The frenzy of acidic and lively bubbles the Champagne creates on your palate, gets tighter and tighter providing more and more tension from the mid-palate on, to eventually deliver a salty and salivating mineral finish.
An unusual and rather spectacular Champagne. But spectacular it is, because of its retrained and pure approach to the Blanc de Blancs style. It’s filled with precise primary fruit and floral characters, solid acidity, no sugar whatsoever, yet it drinks extremely easily and remarkably enjoyably thanks to its purity and somewhat diluted precision.
It uses no artifacts to appear more attractive than it is at heart. No super-long ageing, no obvious oak. Yet, if you taste it carefully-enough, you will certainly find the depth and the salty, mineral, delicately phenolic expression of its Southern Champagne’s Aube terroir.
Like a shy but beautiful young person dressed with austerity. Don’t pay attention and you will very easily overlook its qualities. Give it time to express itself and blossom before your senses, and you will find purity, generosity at heart, and beauty.