Tasting French Champagne wine is always a delight for me. The finesse and elegance given by the local limestone/chalky terroir is a rather rare attribute in the world of wine.
Tasting a Champagne from a small grower that both grow its grapes and makes its wines in small facilities is even more special for me.
‘Grower Champagne’ in French is said ‘Champagne Vignerons’. Not sure why but this resonates with me 😉 The term Vignerons probably… AND the term Champagne tha comes with it here!
Barbier-Louvet is a small Champagne producer based in a small village near the Montagne de Reims area that is particularly famous for the refinement of its Pinot Noir grapes.
Find out more about who’s behind this wine with the Champagne Barbier-Louvet et Fils winery profile.
The Brut Tradition wine tasted here is the classic non-vintage Cuvée by Barbier-Louvet. It is still made from vineyards classified as Premier Cru.
The grapes are harvested manually (like always in Champagne) before being pressed in a 4000kg traditional basket press. 4000kg of grapes give about 2550 litres of must.
The wine is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir with 10% Chardonnay. 35% of the blend is a vin de reserve meaning it is was stored in the cellar for several years before being blended with fresher wines.
Once fermented, the bottles are store for a minimum of 15 months before being disgorged and released.
So How Good is this Premier Cru Vigneron Champagne?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
A very delicate nose. It’s actually hard to pick a single dominant note for it.
It’s filled with a myriad of subtle little fruit aromas like a summery display of freshly-cut juicy fruits: apricots, pineapple, redcurrant, pomegranate, and lemon. As you can tell, it’s quite a variety of fruits with very different expressions, underlining the finesse.
On the background of the aroma profile are discrete notes of hay, nuts and butter, just coating the fruity notes and providing some depth.
Now on to the palate. The best word to describe the first impression is WOW!!
Let me explain…
As much as the nose is delicate and introvert, the palate shows off and reveals the true personality of the wine. This is a Champagne wine that shines by its sheer concentration.
Everything is concentrated. Plenty of fine bubbles make the wine foam abundantly as you pour and gives for a nice and long spectacle of bubble lines raising up the glass through the wine.
The acidity is marked and drives the experience all along the tasting. It is balanced by what appears to be a decent amount of sweetness, and an enjoyable oily texture.
It is hard to believe Pinot Noir grapes (90% of the blend) can produce such a concentrated amount of flavors while vinified as a white wine.
The lemon flavors argue loudly with the petroleum ones in a Riesling-like fashion, while the apricot and elderflower also managing to be heard clearly. The finish brings in nutty and slightly positively-oxidative notes of walnut and green apple (probably the influence of the 10% Chardonnay), together with the typical leesy tones from the wealth of Reserve wine used here: butter, brioche.
The whole flavor profile may well result slightly confused from a lack of single-minded direction.
So does the palate impressions, with concentrated acidity, sweetness, body, and bubbles all pulling the blanket to their own side of the tongue bed. But the whole eventually makes a strong print into your mind if you take the time to analyze the wine thoroughly because it’s unusual in a positive way, driven by quality and concentration of fruit.
I’m tempted to say this is quite a fantastic drink, as it provides such a unique experience (see notes above).
That said, do not expect your pleasing, approachable, and easily satisfying Champagne experience out of this one if that’s what you’re after. The very high quality of fruit, and attention to detail put into producing this beverage one can perceive in the tasting, probably takes a decent amount of experience with wine and Champagne to be appreciated and fully enjoyed.
Beyond the fact that independent producers of the Champagne region are called Champagne Vignerons (grower Champagne) reminding the name of our site, we love the fact that we can all find unusual and unique experiences through passionately-crafted bubblies like this one.
When the huge Champagne houses make everything in their power so anyone can understand their quality and message through their wines, here it’s your turn to open your ears and listen to what the grower is saying with the wine.
Eventually, a stronger experience, of sharing with a vigneron…
Find all info about the producing winery at Champagne Babier-Louvet Producer Profile: