Vincent Couche, Champagne Brut “Sensation” Dégorgement Tardif
Vincent Couche, Champagne Brut “Sensation” Dégorgement Tardif

Vincent Couche, Champagne Brut “Sensation” Dégorgement Tardif

Champagne, France 2002 (750mL)
Regular price$150.00

Vincent Couche, Champagne Brut “Sensation” Dégorgement Tardif

On Friday, we introduced a top candidate for Best Value Champagne of 2024, but if you are looking to really blow your valentine away, or are otherwise looking to dismiss any and all challengers for the title of “most profoundly complex wine that happens to have bubbles,” then today’s reboot of Vincent Couche’s late-disgorged 2002 masterpiece is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Indeed, if you were lucky enough to grab some back in 2022, you are no doubt already heading to the checkout cart. Universally touted as one of the greatest Champagne vintages of the 21st century, 2002 was a year that produced exceedingly age-worthy wines of power and finesse. Over two decades later, prices continue climbing with gusto: On top of four-digit outliers Salon, Selosse, and Krug, all premium labels are now fetching many hundreds of dollars, but not Couche. In fact, this bottle hasn’t budged one penny since we last offered it, inflation be damned! We were shocked that we could grab a few more bottles, but this is almost certainly your last chance to try this revelatory, rarefied Champagne. Don’t miss it! 

It was Vincent Couche’s mother who inspired his passion for vineyard work, and especially for maintaining a natural, chemical-free ecosystem. As such, he has spent every waking hour over the past two decades ensuring his wines are free of additives. Because he refuses unnatural methods at every step of the process—from eschewing any and all pesticides and herbicides, to banning chaptalization and sulfur during fermentation, to only using gravity to move the wine—Vincent Couche is leading the charge in the biodynamic grower Champagne movement. 

He is also a man of calculated genius who masterfully blended Buxeuil Pinot Noir and Montgueux Chardonnay, slowly vinified it in French barrels, and then let it develop for 19 years in bottle before disgorgement. This is his magnum opus, which he named “Sensation,” and as such he only makes it in the most exceptional vintages. 2002 holds court with other legendary years like 1996 and 1988, and many consider it the finest of the 21st century, even ahead of blockbuster vintages like 2008 and 2012. 

Couche’s fruit comes from two choice villages, Buxeuil (Pinot Noir) and Montgueux (Chardonnay). Vines in Montgueux, made famous by Champagne icon Jacques Lassaigne, are perched on an expansive chalky rise that looks down at the farmland below. The wonderfully ripe grapes grown here add immense texture and vibrancy in the final wine. Back at Vincent’s cellar in Buxeuil, fermentation on ambient yeasts was carried out in French oak barrels, without any sulfur, and the final blend was bottled in the first quarter of 2003. This batch was then aged sur lie for over 19 years before Vincent finally decided it was “the right time” to disgorge in May of 2022. 

Champagne of this quality, age, and pedigree should be treated much the same as you would Grand Cru Burgundy. Serving in an all-purpose stem will preserve the delicate perlage a bit longer, but your best Burgundy bowl will really accentuate the monumental complexity and vinous depth that Couche has achieved. Similarly, it should be served just cool, around 50-55 degrees, ideally out of the cellar or wine fridge instead of a regular refrigerator. The full spectrum of aromas and flavors is astounding, and words won’t do them justice, but be assured that many layers of baked orchard fruit, wild forest berries, crushed flowers, citrus, cream, truffles, and saline minerality will make an appearance. A contemplative masterpiece like this is perfect with a simple plate of aged cheeses, or make it a truly romantic meal with roast chicken and truffles. Bon appétit! 

Vincent Couche, Champagne Brut “Sensation” Dégorgement Tardif

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