Gonet-Médeville, Grand Cru “Champ d’Alouette” Extra Brut
Gonet-Médeville, Grand Cru “Champ d’Alouette” Extra Brut

Gonet-Médeville, Grand Cru “Champ d’Alouette” Extra Brut

Champagne, France 2007 (750mL)
Regular price$217.00
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Gonet-Médeville, Grand Cru “Champ d’Alouette” Extra Brut

Krug’s “Clos du Mesnil,” sourced from a tiny, walled vineyard in the heart of what is arguably Champagne’s most prominent Grand Cru village, Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger, is a tour-de-force that changed the single-vineyard Champagne scene. One bottle fetches a cool $1,000—double in top vintages—but today we’re focused on something that costs a tenth of that, yet has nearly identical bells and whistles.


Gonet-Médeville farms a half-acre (!) of vines in the lieu-dit of “Champ d’Alouette,” located just a few hundred meters from Krug’s legendary clos. The 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay plucked from this site is then barrel-fermented and cellared for a dozen years in their caves. The results are, in a word, stupendous. Vinous, intense, astoundingly complex, Gonet-Médeville’s “Champ d’Alouette” isn’t just top-tier Grand Cru Champagne, it’s world-class Chardonnay—which is why we savored it in lare Burgundy stems at cellar temperature. This wonderfully rare and majestic bottle is so complex in its rich textures and chalk minerality, and it only continues blossoming as the hours float by; we are still floored by the experience. Only a fraction of the 80 cases produced in 2004 made it over to the states, so I urge you to take your allotment and share one bottle with your close ones, while keeping the others for yourself!


Xavier and Julie Gonet-Médeville are a power couple in the world of French wine: They are owners of today’s boutique Champagne estate; the inimitable Château Gilette in Sauternes (each vintage is held at least 15 years before release); and the well-situated Château des Eyrins in Margaux, among others. Both worked under the direction of Julie’s parents for eight years until venturing out on their own, but it was Xavier’s side of the family who had stakes in Champagne. When his family’s parcels were being divvied up at the turn of the century, he opted for quality over quantity. As a result, you’ll only find Premier Cru and Grand Cru vines at Gonet-Médeville—aside from Krug, they are the only other estate that has holdings in Grand Crus Ambonnay and Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger! With ownership in what seems like every shade and style of wine (sparkling, white, red, sweet), and families with extensive chronicles in Champagne and Bordeaux, they’ve quickly created a name for themselves. Their focus on small-production, conscientiously-crafted wines are among the best of any “newcomer.” 



Though they only own .2 hectares (about a half-acre) in “Champ d’Alouette”—a renowned vineyard parcel in the Grand Cru village of Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger—the small amount of wine they do produce from here is among the finest in the village. They farm their few rows of vines with organic principles and, in 2004, they harvested their tiny crop of Grand Cru Chardonnay and shuttled it over to their winery in nearby Bisseuil (just east of Epernay). The grapes fermented and aged for six months in neutral French barrels and the resulting wine was then transferred into bottle—without seeing malolactic fermentation—where it aged on its lees for 12 years. It was disgorged April of last year and dosed with an extremely light 2 grams per liter of sugar. 



“Champ d’Alouette” shines a deep straw-yellow with golden accents and displays a supremely fine mousse with tightly packed bubbles—there’s no doubt this is a classy, impeccably made vintage Champagne. Now, you can go about your routine of pouring into wide-mouthed tulips around 50 degrees, but I felt experimental after taking it home to track its development. I found it delivering insane levels of finesse and savor after pouring into large Burgundy stems and allowing many of the bubbles to dissipate. You may be thinking, “Well that defeats the purpose of Champagne,” but I’d argue differently: We shouldn’t forget that Champagne is wine—not (just) a flashy luxury ‘beverage’—and the greatest examples will shine bright with or without effervescence. That in mind, let me reiterate that this is Grand Cru Chardonnay! And, as its drinking temperature rose—its temperature was a steady 60 degrees by my last glass—the wine was firing on all cylinders. 



As oxygen started doing its job, the wine began unfolding all of its seductive layers of lemon curd, grilled pineapple, Asian pear, Meyer lemon, yellow apples and white plums alongside vanilla, toast, brioche, white flowers, hazelnut, and honeysuckle. Its medium-plus body is suave and silky smooth, with a crushed rock minerality that powerfully resonates from start to finish. Soft and intensely layered, “Champ d’Alouette” has slow-building power and rich concentration that matches the breathtaking qualities of Grand Cru white Burgundy. Even better, there is still so much life left in this majestic wine—expect it to dazzle over the next decade, even two if you cellar it properly. This is a towering achievement for mature Champagne and a nod to the Grand Crus of Côte de Beaune. Treat it with respect after opening, and it will provide immense levels of pleasure. Enjoy with a luxurious meal, roasted quail stuffed with foie gras comes to mind, and you’ve reached the pinnacle of gastronomic pleasure. 
Gonet-Médeville, Grand Cru “Champ d’Alouette” Extra Brut
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France

Bourgogne

Beaujolais

Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France

Bordeaux

Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France

Alsace

Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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