Vintages: 2012 (60%) & 2011 (40%)
Disgorgement: July 2019
Time on lees: 72 months
An Egly Blanc de Noirs based on a truly great vintage like 2012? Clearly this is a wine not to be missed. The Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Vieilles Vignes is the emblematic wine from Francis Egly and the one that first brought him international acclaim. It was Michel Bettane, the influential French critic, who encouraged Egly to bottle this single-vineyard wine separately and the first vintage was in 1989. As you may be aware, this wine was once the product of a single vintage, but this is no longer the case. Egly has learnt through experience that he is able to express this magnificent terroir more completely when he blends two consecutive vintages together. This release was bottled in 2013 after the 2012 vintage had spent close to one year in cask and was then blended with 40% reserve wines from 2011. All of the vinification and ageing for both vintages was in barrique as always. Dosage is 3g/l. The fruit comes from old vines in a single terroir known as Les Crayères. The vines here were planted in 1946, so are now 73 years old. The soil is hardly 30cm deep, then it’s chalk, hundreds of metres down – hence the name of the site (craie is French for chalk). Les Crayères is situated mid-slope with a full south-facing exposure, not far from the Estate’s cellars. The old vines are deeply rooted in this chalk subsoil, allegedly giving the wine its classic, mineral energy that surges through the powerful, textured Pinot fruit. The concentration here is a product of the perfect ripeness and low yields that both the site and its ancient vines naturally deliver. The wine that results is both a tribute to the greatest sites of Ambonnay and to the Egly-Ouriet Domaine. It’s a unique wine, built for food and for ageing. Always better a year or two after landing, this is a release that is already mind blowing. Like all Egly Champagnes, it’s a wine first and a Champagne second. A unique expression of a singular terroir, and without doubt one of the greatest wines of the region.
* “It epitomises the golden sunlight, glowing warmth and magnificent mineral expression of Egly-Ouriet. The mineral character of the site speaks articulately in softly salty tones that will stir the depths of your soul.” 97 points, Tyson Stelzer, Decanter Magazine, October 2015