Disgorged September 2019. Extra Brut. Jérôme Prévost’s Champagnes are always of a single vintage and he puts a code on the bottle to indicate the year of harvest. This ‘LC’ number (Lot Consigné) is printed on the base of the label. This bottling is LC17, so 2017. In the past Prévost tended to only release one highly coveted wine each year from the Les Béguines vineyard yet he now also typically releases a tiny amount of wonderful Rosé as well.
Prévost’s 2.2-hectare vineyard, Les Béguines, is in Gueux, 10km west of Reims in the north of the region. Inherited from Jérôme’s grandmother, the site was planted in the 1960s with an old, slow-growing, rootstock that descends deeply. Les Béguines is close to 100% Pinot Meunier, although there is now a small amount of 10-year-old Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc that has been planted next to the Pinot Meunier parcel. As these vines are still young, they are currently blended into the Les Béguines cuvée, representing roughly 6% of the blend. With time they may produce a stand-alone wine. The soil of Les Béguines is a layer cake of calcareous (Thanetian) sand over clay over calcareous sand. The vineyard management is of course organic, with the soils cultivated and yields kept at balanced levels.
As mentioned above, to recover some of the volumes lost to the frost of 2017 (some 80%!) Prévost sourced fruit from a neighbour’s vineyard in Les Béguines. This makes 2017 the first vintage of this wine to be bottled under the Domaine’s new Négociant Manipulant (NM) status.
As always the wine was vinified without any additions in large-format, used barrels for ten months and bottled unfiltered. Prévost disgorged the wine after 17 months on lees and added approximately 2g/L dosage, so the wine is Extra Brut. It is always tricky to pen a wine note for a wine that has just landed but here we go. Typically we speak of Les Béguines needing plenty of time in bottle yet this 2017 is already drinking beautifully with an open, pulpy texture (so long as not served ice cold) and layers of ripe pear, lemon curd, and hay-like notes. It’s a much more seductive example of Les Béguines than other recent releases and will give enormous pleasure from the get-go. The note below sums this beautiful wine very well.
“The NV Extra Brut Les Béguines LC 17 will be disgorged in October, and it has clearly turned out very well despite the challenging year, wafting from the glass with aromas of citrus oil, candle wax, white flowers, warm bread and spices, with only hints of the further complexity to come. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, lively and concentrated, with a ripe and enveloping core of fruit underpinned by racy acids.” 94 points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate