Renaudin, Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru "L'Espliegle" Magnum
Renaudin, Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru "L'Espliegle" Magnum

Renaudin, Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru "L'Espliegle" Magnum

Champagne, France 2006 (1500mL)
Regular price$219.00

Renaudin, Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru "L'Espliegle" Magnum

It’s almost here, just in time for New Year’s celebrations, our now-annual shipment of Champagne Renaudin’s superlative 1er Cru “L’Espliegle” in made-for-the-holidays magnums. It’s true that we have a nice collection of SommSelect Hall of Fame producers and wines, but this bottle is especially near and dear to our hearts—and yours, too, based on the way previous vintages have been gobbled up in a flash. Our devotion is really not that surprising though: This cuvée is always phenomenal and ridiculously affordable, despite undergoing one of the region’s most painstaking aging regimens. Today’s recently disgorged 2006 is no different: It hails from 100% Premier Cru raw material, was vinified in French oak, and spent over 15 years (!) on lees. And yet it continues to deliver an exceptional quality-to-value ratio. Please note small quantities were disgorged and a very limited amount made it onto our soils, so that leaves you with two options: (1) grab as much as you can muster now or (2) begin the long and torturous search of finding a similarly priced, equally impressive, vintage Premier Cru Champagne magnum with bottle age. Go with option one!

Although it has passed through many hands and been rebuilt, Champagne Renaudin still upholds the traditions of an ancient estate (Château de Conardins) that was first established in 1724, making it one of the oldest enterprises in all of Champagne. Today, they own just 12 hectares that are spread throughout villages in the Coteaux Sud d’Épernay and the Côte des Blancs. Most of their crop is sold off to the blue-chip houses, but a small portion does remain in-house for production—just 50,000 bottles, and a fraction of that makes up their prestige cuvée. For comparison, Moët et Chandon produces tens of millions per year. 

Renaudin’s micro-produced prestige bottling, “L’Espiegle,” is what’s on offer today. This 2006 comes from Chardonnay vines in the Premier Cru village of Pierry, which lies at the entrance of the Côte des Blancs near Grand Crus Cramant and Chouilly. In the cellar, the gently pressed juice saw a slow, spontaneous fermentation in older French oak barrels followed by roughly 10 months of maturation. During this time, malolactic fermentation was avoided, but a steady lees-stirring regimen was employed to lend more textural richness. After being transferred into bottle, the wine then aged in the cellars of Renaudin for over 192 months before disgorgement and a judicious six-gram dosage

There are only a handful of respectable Champagne estates that age their prestige cuvées for this long and charge this little, and far fewer taste this good. “L’Espiegle” pours a brilliant yellow-gold in the glass with streaks of silver and neon green. The tiny, compact beads of carbonation race upward in a rapid spiral motion and burst onto the surface alongside a fine mousse. If you give the wine about 15-20 seconds to settle in an all-purpose stem or flared tulip and gently swirl it a couple of times, you’ll be greeted with vibrant, creamy, and savory aromas of red and yellow apple, Bosc pear, crushed oyster shell, pineapple core, marzipan, lees, lemon curd, hazelnuts, honeysuckle, and toasted brioche. The palate, like all of their “L’Espiegle” creations, is rich and ever-lively with pulverized minerals and supple, nutty layers. This is drinking in peak form right now but in magnum format it should age gracefully for another 5-10 years, so I strongly advise buying no less than three! 

Renaudin, Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru "L'Espliegle" Magnum

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