Paul Déthune, “Les Crayères” Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs
Paul Déthune, “Les Crayères” Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs

Paul Déthune, “Les Crayères” Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs

Champagne / Montagne de Reims, France 2016 (750mL)
Regular price$135.00
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Paul Déthune, “Les Crayères” Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs

For Champagne pros, the mere mention of “Les Crayères” will bring Egly-Ouriet’s Blanc de Noirs to mind, along with the $300+ price tag that now accompanies it. Tonight, I’m here to tell you this increasingly legendary Grand Cru Ambonnay vineyard shouldn’t be solely linked to Egly in Champagne’s HOF register! A few years ago, without any “red carpet” press release, Paul Déthune also began crafting a prestige cuvée from this glorious site. Each one has been off-the-charts delicious...and devilishly rare.

Déthune’s organic grapes come from just 1.5 hectares within “Les Crayères,” and after a long vinification in Champenois oak, plus five years of bottle aging, only 2,000 bottles are disgorged for the entire world. Tonight’s 2016 marks the third release from Déthune, and after savoring my own sample bottle, I fired off a text to Déthune’s importer that read: “Incredible. Best of the three vintages.” This is a deeply vinous, gold-standard-shattering experience, and still, those words don’t do it proper justice. To my knowledge, we’re the first US retailer with access, and we can part with up to six bottles per person. I’m taking my own share the moment this offers goes live!

The Déthunes have been farming and crafting their own champagnes in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay since 1889, but their broader winemaking heritage stretches well beyond 400 years! Today, Pierre Déthune and his wife, Sophie, tend to seven organically farmed hectares throughout Ambonnay. It is here that Pinot Noir reveals its most intense expression, delivering signature minerality, concentration, and terroir that translates to perfectly balanced Grand Cru Champagnes. The Déthunes are adamant about respecting nature, too: organic fertilizers are used; cover crops are planted; solar panels have been installed; and a rainwater collection system has been implemented, making them one of Champagne’s champions of sustainability. 

The Déthunes’ life commitment to intricate work—from natural farming of Grand Cru vines in Ambonnay to a methodically traditional approach in the winery—is on full display in each handcrafted bottle. But what makes today’s grand debut such a thrilling affair and instant classic is its location! A tiny portion of Déthune’s Pinot Noir comes from 50-year-old vines in “Les Crayères,” easily one of Champagne’s most hallowed vineyard sites, and for the third time ever in 2016, they bottled it separately. 

The hand-farmed grapes for this special cuvée saw a seven-month-long vinification in 205-liter, locally sourced oak barrels known as pièce champenoise. The wine was bottled in the Spring of 2017 without filtration and sent to age in Déthune’s hand-carved, 17th-century chalk cellar for five years. It was disgorged in early 2022 and supplied with a five-gram dosage. Pinot Noir reveals its most intense expression from Grand Cru Ambonnay, but when it comes specifically from “Les Crayères” and is bottled by superstar Paul Déthune, an entirely different breed emerges. 

Classy Blanc de Noirs perfection. That’s what this 2016 Grand Cru really boils down to. I consumed my bottle in a large stem (I love treating vinous Ambonnay champagnes like a fine red Burgundy) and found that it continued to gain depth and complexity as the hours passed by. This is loaded with sublime aromas of black cherry skin, toasted almonds, baked red apple, nougat, apricot, brioche, crushed stone, and an intoxicating citrus-chalk fusion. The palate is structured and substantial with an all-powerful, unyielding core of minerals that carry the wine into a 20+ second finish. It’s a tantalizing champagne now, to be sure, but its future is blindingly bright. Enjoy over the next decade.

Paul Déthune, “Les Crayères” Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs




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 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, 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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