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Anyone who loves great Champagne, and Pinot Noir, recognizes Bouzy as ground zero for the region’s most profound expressions of the variety, with a constellation of blue-chip producers that includes Pierre Paillard, Benoît Lahaye, Paul Bara, André Clouet, and of course Jean Vesselle. The ‘Vesselle’ surname is attached to several different properties within Bouzy, which can get confusing, but Delphine and David Vesselle have distinguished themselves from the pack by (1) reviving the saignée style of rosé, (2) aging their millésime bottlings three times longer than the minimum, and (3) releasing a trendsetting lineup of cuvées. The family’s 15 hectares of vineyards are planted to 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay (a ratio mirroring that of Bouzy as a whole), meaning across the entire Vesselle lineup, Pinot Noir is the star. That said, this “Prestige” does contain 35% Chardonnay, which is of course sourced exclusively from their Grand Cru parcels in Bouzy.
The Vesselles are entrenched in viticulture, working tirelessly in the vineyard to adhere to organic (despite being uncertified) practices. They harvest their grapes by hand and the wine is fermented in stainless steel. The minimum aging law for vintage Champagne is three years, but they generally treat theirs to 8-9 years, minimum! And then you have a special library release magnums like today’s: Delphine and David Vesselle aged this tiny batch nearly 19 years on lees before disgorgement in June of this year and a dosage of roughly six grams per liter.
The staggering patience paid off: there are layers upon layers of rich and savory complexities in this 2005 Grand Cru Bouzy magnum. The wine spills into the glass with deep straw-yellow and silver hues and instantly releases sublime aromas of yellow peach, apricot, grilled pineapple, lemon curd, red apple skin, crushed stones, chalk, oyster shell, lees, brioche, and a soft yet persisting presence of honeysuckle and toasted almonds. The palate is fresh and precise, showing pronounced layers of fruit and pulverized minerals with zero fatigue. This wine still has so much life ahead of it—we expect it to keep evolving over the next 7-10+ years. Cheers!
Heard It Through The Grapevine
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