J Vignier Aux Origines Blanc de Blancs NV

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This will be a new name in Champagne for many of us. That can be a warning sign but on the evidence of this, have no fear. A cracking Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay). The vineyards supplying the grapes here were originally planted back in the 1960s, by the grandparents of the current custodians, in the Coteaux du Sézannais sub-region, an area from which we don’t see a lot of bottles. Do the French keep them all for themselves? It has, however, long been a wonderful source of fine Champagne.

This Blanc de Blancs is fermented in stainless steel tanks and it does see malolactic fermentation (as do most of the wines from Champagne). Three years, four months on lees (some of their wines see much longer) with a low dosage of just 5 grams/litre. This is a non-vintage champagne, with 85% of the blend coming from the 2014 vintage and the remaining 15% from 2015. Nathalie Vignier is now the tenth generation of the family to work in Champagne, with their records dating back to 1530. Under $60? This is great buying. A lovely pale straw in colour, this offers notes of lemons and crème brûlée. Hints of grilled nuts, it is richly flavoured and finely balanced. A wine of precision. This is an ideal aperitif style, but, as my nephew had just returned from the nearby creek with a couple of freshly caught mud crabs (and miraculously, all of his fingers), I can attest that it is also brilliant with freshly steamed mud crab.

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