|Australian Wine Centre|
Champagne Grower superstar
Welcome to the first of many unique and prestigious wine offers for 2012, a great year to be a subscriber to this wine list, with a huge number of offers upcoming for many of the world's finest and most unique wines!
To begin however, I am going to be completely self-indulgent, that is, I am going to offer you an absolutely personal favourite wine of mine.
I am being indulgent on a number of levels, firstly because Champagne itself is my personal favourite wine style, indeed its an obsession it could be said, and then following on, this is actually my favourite Grower Champagne House, the sensational Vilmart & Cie.
Indeed, I personally visited Vilmart & Cie a year or more ago, and it was the highlight of my trip to Champagne, and I could see first hand the incredible passion, care, commitment and obession to detail that goes into these wines.
I also witnessed the large and small oak barrels that contribuite to the precision and intricacy of these wines, plus had the pleasure of a wonderful tasting across all of the range, with their clarity and incredible consistency! All combined to re affirm that these are world class wines of incredible depth, complexity and purity.
I was then surprised and pleased to see that these wines are now being imported into Australia, albeit in tiny quantities, and hence available to me, and you, while these small stocks last.
I urge you, if you like Champagne, indeed if you like wines of finesse, style ann uniqueness, to try these Champagnes, they are stunningly unique. Try the tasting pack perhaps, then you'll rush back for more!
If not, well, I'll just drink them myself!!!
Vilmart et Cie, wood-aged base wines give these Champagnes distinctly mealy and Burgundian flavors. They're often described as the best grower in Champagne or "the poor man's Krug." Vilmart's wines offer a resonance and majesty unique among small estates.
Only available directly from me, not on the web site as stocks are too limited!
Reknowned Champagne authority Tom Stevenson declared Vilmart to be 'the greatest grower Champagne I know' - and I am not about to argue. Ever since visiting and tasting these extraordinary wines while in Champagne, I have been waiting for them to become available in Australia, an finally, they are albeit in very limited quantities!
They are sometimes described as a mini Krug, and I can see why, brilliant fruit from Grand Cru vineyards, fermented and aged in oak barrels, plus a 'Krug' like incredible fastidiousness and attention to details, means these are quite extraordinary wines, and they are wines first, then Champagne!
about Vilmart & Cie
The Vilmarts have been vignerons in the village of Rilly-la-Montagne for generations and have been producing Champagne under the Vilmart name sice 1890. Vilmart own 11 hectares which are all farmed bio-dynamically, yields are heavily restricted which is apparant by the sheer quality of the fruit. Vilmart started to achieve cult status in 1991 when Laurent Champs took over the helm of this brilliant estate. His meticulous attention to detail and perfection were to take the range to a new level. The wines are fermented in oak, with most being fermented in large 5,000 liter foudres, more commonly found in Alsace and Germany but not Champagne. The top cuvees however receive treatment in 225 litre barriques.
These are wine of incredible richness, depth and complexity. Even the standard entry level 'Brut Reserve' is Krug-like in its grandeur.The top wines are based on old vines that are 40-50 years of age. They may not possess any Grand cru vineyards, but their focussed vision in all aspects of viticulture and vinification, make them one of the finest producers today.
Peter Liem - the Champagne Guide agrees - For me, Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region. The estate traces its history back to 1890, when it was founded by Désiré Vilmart, and from the beginning, Vilmart & Cie. has always been a récoltant-manipulant, making wine exclusively from estate-owned vines. Since 1989 the estate has been in the hands of Laurent Champs, the fifth generation of the family to take the helm of the house.
I just think I'll permit myself to quote Richard Juhlin's new book 4000 Champagnes on the subject of Vilmart & Cie: "Vilmart has quickly established cult status... since young Laurent [Champs] took over from his father in 1991, the company has become one of the true gems with the perfect wine, Coeur de Cuvée, as its most brilliant star. This wine was the best made in Champagne during the "off" years of `91, `92, `93 and `97. Hunt like a demon for the scarce 5000 bottles that were made of this gem!"
It's clear to me Vilmart is a Champagne estate of unassailable consequence, a must-have for anyone interested in the possibilities of this most suavely powerful and graceful of all wines. Casks are hardly the point any more. Organic viticulture, (truly!) low yields, remarkable polish of fruit, and the deliberate patient pursuit of a vision of perfection make Laurent Champs' estate a gemstone gleaming among the chalk. At best, Vilmart's wines are grandiose and resplendent. With sufficient bottle-age these can take you up and up into rare altitudes of complexity. Even at ground-level they've got lots of flavor, as though the flavors were stated in BOLD CAPS.
Vilmart & Cie at a glance - Wood-aged base wines give these Champagnes distinctly mealy and
Burgundian flavors. They're often described as the best grower in Champagne or "the poor man's Krug." Vilmart's wines can offer a resonance and majesty unique among small estates.
At best, Vilmart's wines are grandiose and resplendent. With sufficient bottle-age these can take you up and up into rare altitudes of complexity. Even at ground-level they've got lots of flavor, as though the flavors were stated in BOLD CAPS. A further key to quality is the large proportion of pre-clonal Chardonnay vines. "These grapes are yellower than those from clonal vines," says Laurent. "And they have an incredible Muscat aroma." And Laurent, like every great producer, has a wife who says he's "a maniac for his vineyards."
(Exclusive to us, Magnums of each of the below, are available, in extremely limited numbers. They actually taste remarkably better even than the standard bottles, hit reply or
click here to email me if you are interested!)
Vilmart & Cie Grand Reserve NV $85.00 per bottle, but a huge bargain by the 6 pack, at only $77.00 pb (should be every Champagne lover's house wine!!)
The Grande Réserve is the basic brut sans année, aged for ten months in large oak foudres, and it's the only Vilmart wine other than the rosés to contain a majority of pinot noir (70 percent). In the United States, however, it's not the Grande Réserve but the Grand Cellier that is sold as the non-vintage brut-the Grand Cellier is a special selection blended from 70 percent chardonnay and 30 percent pinot noir. It's usually a blend of three different years, aged in foudre for about ten months, and like the vintage wines, it contains only the cuvée, or first pressing.
70% Pinot noir. /30% Chardonnay - This light and elegant cuvée develops rich and complex aromas of fresh flowers, white fruits and fresh fern. It is ample and full-bodied, making it one of the best NV on the market.
The wine has always been excellent, but it used to be more starched and not entirely knit, and now it's silkier. This is certainly among the very best of the last fifteen years, with the clinging flower of '08 and the warm, honeyed '06 dancing in graceful counterpoint. Mirabelles and apple sauce against lavender and wisteria, a little more springy than usual, with a refined, incense-y finish.
Rated: 93 points by Josh Raynolds -Light yellow with a strong bead. Exotically perfumed nose displays iodine, pear skin, vanilla and vitamin B. Rich and smoky, with powerful orchard fruit and honey flavors becoming more minerally with air. Deftly blends vivacity and depth on the stony finish, which strongly repeats the vanilla and smoke notes. This is a wild ride.
It's full in fragrance, with spicy, energetic aromas of peach, citrus and poached pear, and compared to previous versions of this cuvée, the pinot noir seems to be felt more in body than in flavor, as this is emphasizing a lot of citrusy chardonnay liveliness right now. Its silky texture adds to the feeling of finesse, and this should continue to improve with another year or two of age. Champagne Guide.
Enticingly refined winter champagne from an impeccable grower producer, this is a wine of real concentration, character and power, singing with red berries, fruit mince spice, orange zest and spicy old oak. It finishes controlled, dry and mineral. 95 points Tyson Tselzer
Vilmart & Ci Grand Cellier d'Or Vintage 2004 $130.00 per bottle, but a huge bargain by the 6 pack, at only $115.00 pb (should be every Champagne lover's special occasion wine!!)
The vintage wine is the Grand Cellier d'Or, blended from 80 percent chardonnay from the Rilly vineyard of Les Blanches Voies and 20 percent pinot noir from Blanches Voies and the nearby Basses Grèves. In the past this was always aged in barrique, but since 1998, Champs has preferred to put some base wines in 600-liter demi-muids, which he thinks can sometimes be more harmonious for this cuvée. "The small barriques give you a vanilla and toast character, but sharp, like a small child," he says. "The demi-muid is softer and rounder. It's like the difference between bottles and magnums."
This is one of Vilmart's prestige cuvee: 10 months in oak barrels resulting in a pale gold color and very fine bubbles. It develops fine aromas of fresh brioche and vanilla with a long finish on fresh and candied apricots and citrus notes!
This is composed of 80 percent chardonnay and 20 percent pinot noir, all from vines over 40 years of age. As usual for this cuvée, it was vinified in a blend of five- to seven-year-old barriques and demi-muids, which seems to suit this wine well, as the oak adds breadth and shapes the fruit without dominating in flavor. While this shows the high-toned, flowery character of the vintage, it also demonstrates an unusual resonance and completeness, picking up exotic, spicy notes of sandalwood and ginger on the palate that complement the stone fruit and apple-like flavors. It finishes with elegantly fragrant length, feeling racy and kinetic. The Champagne Guide
Vilmart & Ci Creation 1999 $165.00 per bottle, but a huge bargain by the 6 pack, at only $150.00 pb (should be every Champagne lover's treat!!)
In the 1990 vintage, René and Laurent Champs began producing a champagne called Cuvée Création, sourced from 40 year-old vines in several adjacent vineyards in Rilly: Blanches Voies, Grèves or Basses Haye Barbettes, depending on the vintage. A blend of 80 percent chardonnay and 20 percent pinot noir, the Cuvée Création used to be made with a high proportion of new barriques, but beginning in the mid-1990s Champs increasingly began to prefer using three to five year-old barrels for this cuvée. The Cuvée Création has been very successful for Vilmart, and has developed a distinctive personality that differentiates it from the estate's other vintage wines. However, Champs has chosen to discontinue it after the 2000 vintage, with the intent of streamlining the portfolio to make it more easily comprehensible-two prestige cuvées simply feels like one too many for him.
Only produced in the best years, Creation is an amazing cuvée in a beautiful bottle showing stain glass, the passion of the retired father of current winemaker. The bubbles are delicate and the chardonnay at its best with light citrus aromas and a complex finish with touches of vanilla and toast. Amazing!
Vilmart & Ci Coeur de Cuvee vintage 2002 $185.00 per bottle, but a huge bargain by the 6 pack, at only $160.00 pb (just buy and try some ... stunning!!!)
At the top of Vilmart's range is the Coeur de Cuvée, a single-vineyard prestige cuvée sourced from vines over 50 years old in the vineyard of Blanches Voies. This wine derives its name from being a special selection of the very heart of the cuvée-in Champagne, a 4,000 kilogram pressing yields 2,050 liters of juice in the cuvée, and Champs selects only the finest 800 liters from the middle of this pressing to make the Coeur de Cuvée. It's fermented and aged entirely in one to three year-old barriques, and composed of 80 percent chardonnay and 20 percent pinot noir. Since the inaugural 1989 release, Champs has made the Coeur de Cuvée in every vintage except for 1994, which is a testament to the special character and quality of this site.
Vilmart's top wine! Rigorous selection of grapes from 50 year-old vines, careful extraction of the best juices and fermenting and aging in the best oak barrels! The fine bubbles and golden color lead to subtle aromas of apricot, ripe peaches, brioche and hazelnuts and hints of lemon in a complex.
This is usually made of 80 percent chardonnay and 20 percent pinot noir, but in this vintage the percentage of chardonnay is a little higher, around 90 percent, and the wine was vinified in three to five year-old barriques. Each time I taste this champagne I feel that it's one of the stars of the vintage, and it continues to gain in complexity and harmony the more time it spends after being disgorged (this sample was disgorged in December of 2008). Like most 1999s it's rich and creamy, but it combines its ripeness with an elegant refinement and subtly detailed complexity, feeling spicy and honeyed under the stone fruit and mango aromas. It finishes with long, fragrant length, indicating further potential for development, and its sense of balance and structure is impeccable. The Champagne Guide
Vivid gold. Intensely perfumed, mineral-driven nose displays pit fruits, honeysuckle, anise, clove, vanilla bean and marzipan. On the palate, suave, perfumed lemon, peach and chalky mineral flavors put on weight with air. The mineral quality gains power with air and carries through the very long finish, which strongly echoes the anise and vanilla notes. As complex as this Champagne is right now, it appears to be built to age. 95 points Josh Reynolds
I hope you got some of this already sold out wine. I didn't! And I'm consumed with self-pity about it. It has an ungoldly aroma; Chinese 5-spice, carrots sweating in butter, lemon honey, macadamias, and an edge of white iris freshness that will go truffley in time. The palate makes you wonder how wine gets any better. It has astonishing solidity and yet a zephyr of blossoms float over the high skies, and yet it all comes to some kind of loving accord on the finish, Reggiano and sea-scallops and saffron risotto - yet there's also a green Chartreuse-y note. Head-shaking. There's even a flavor of pumpkin pie, and the finish establishes a colony on your palate. By the way, notwithstanding my subjective preference for the galvanic freshness of the 2001, there's no questioning the massive impact of this wine. It will go the greater distance. Thierry Thiese
|Vilmart & Cie Tasting Pack
The above wines are necessarily limited in quantity. With the superb quality, high critics praise, and world wide exports, tiny quantities of these wines are made each vintage, and therefore tiny quantities available for each outlet, ourselves included. Therefore, we cannot supply all our customers with all of each wine they would like, we simply do not receive enough stock, unfortunately.
This is a great way to buy these wines, as it gives you wines from across the range, and some simply outstanding and world class wines! The packs also offer you some discount, as the total for each pack is lower than the total of the wines within! Please do let me know if you'd like some of these wonderful wines in these convenient packs.
Special Offer 1 - the Vilmart & Cie 6 Pack ($760.00 retail, 6 pack price $725.00)
Vilmart & Cie 6 Pack contains
2 bottles Vilmart & Cie Grand Reserve NV
2 bottles Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier D'Or 2004
2 bottles Vilmart & Cie Creation 1999
Available from me directly, please let me know quickly if you wish one. Tiny quantities available only
Australian Wine Centre
4 Truro Avenue
Kingswood SA 5062
ph (61) 8 82727248
fax (61) 8 82721585