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A grower champagne to toast the new year

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The holiday selection of “affordable” champagnes at the SAQ took a quantum leap forward this year. (Champagne is arguably the world’s most overpriced wine, and affordable is here defined as bottles under $80.) Along with long-lost friends (Ayala, for example) and unexpected delights (Billecart-Salmon’s Brut Réserve in half bottles) came an impressive list of grower champagnes from producers like Larmandier-Bernier, Égly-Ouriet, E. Barnaut and Pascal Doquet, not to mention Pierre Gimonnet. A wine that appeared to slip under most local reviewers’ radar is made by Franck Pascal, a young vigneron with 4 hectares of vines in the Marne valley. On taking over the vineyard, Pascal converted to organic practices. The estate has been certified biodynamic since 2008.

Champagne 2002, Brut, Cuvée Prestige, “Équilibre”, Franck Pascal ($65.50, 11552871)
33% Pinot Meunier, 34% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay. Fermented with indigenous yeasts, dosed with organic cane sugar (4.5 g/l). Pale gold with a faint green cast, lazy bead and tiny bubbles – very attractive in a flute. Expressive nose of brioche and lees with hints of lemon, minerals, hay and barley sugar. Rich yet lithe in the mouth: the winey roundness is countered by a minerally acidic bite and persistent bitter undertow, lifted by the soft effervescence. Oxidizing pear and sour apple and a suggestion of vanilla give way to a long, creamy/quartzy finish. Elegant enough to serve as an aperitif, vibrant enough to serve with food. A compelling wine that punches above its weight.

Pascal’s Tolérance champagne rosé (a two-vintage blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir with a dollop of Chardonnay) is also available at the SAQ.

Written by carswell

January 2, 2012 at 12:30

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] by the 2002 Équilibre opened to ring in the new year, I picked up a bottle of the same producer’s rosé to share […]

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