Pierre Moncuit, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne, France, 2008
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Overview of the Wine
In 1889 Pierre Moncuit and his wife, Odile Moncuit-Delos, established the house of Champagne Pierre Moncuit. Since 1977, Nicole Moncuit has managed the vineyards and made the wine, while her brother Yves has managed the sales. More recently, Nicole’s daughter Valérie has been actively assisting in the cellar. Mesnil lies smack in the middle of the Côte des Blancs and is its most celebrated village. The wines of Mesnil are known above all for steely elegance and minerality, and those from chez Pierre Moncuit—which has some of the oldest vines along the entire Côte—superbly reflect these qualities. The house farms 25 parcels totaling 37 acres in the grand cru-rated vineyards surrounding the village. These vineyards face east as they climb the Côte’s chalk-infused flank. The majority of Moncuit’s vines are 45-years or older, and two parcels, used in the best years for the vintage-dated Cuvée Nicole Moncuit, are just shy of their centennial birthday. In a region known for replanting vines before they reach their third decade to ensure vigorous production, these old vines represent a rare patrimony. Another unusual bent in the Moncuit way of doing things is that no reserve wine is used in its production. All of its wines are made from a single year, regardless if they are labeled non-vintage or labeled with a vintage. The non-vintage wines spend a minimum of three years on their lees before disgorgement; the vintage wines spend between six and eight years on their lees. After disgorgement, the former age another three months before release while the latter spend another six months in the house’s cellar before going to market. In order to keep focus on purity and minerality, no wood is used during the élevage. Malolactic fermentation is the norm here. At bottling, the usual dosage for the classic range is normally 6-7 grams of sugar per liter. About the bottles themselves: a lavender capsule signifies a good vintage; a gold capsule signifies an exceptional vintage (this as judged by Nicole and Valérie). And the crest on the label is a reference to Nicole and Yves’ father, who was an officer in the French Air Force.
Grape / Blend
The Moncuit family has a clear idea that wines should only be released when the vintage allows it. The 2008 vintage is late to market for the same reason, as the family has given it extra time in the cellar. The longer time in the cellar has created an even better balance between the fruit and the bubbles in the bottle.
94 Points - Vinous
Moncuit's Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Millesimé shows a different facet of its personality in this version, with lower dosage vis-à-vis the Brut version. Here the flavors are brighter and more sculpted throughout. Hints of toastiness, almond and tangerine oil add an exotic flair that makes the Extra Brut absolutely beguiling. Lower dosage seems to exalt the minerality and bright acids of the year, while pushing the fruit a bit into the background. Both Brut and Extra Brut bottlings are terrific; choosing among them comes down to personal preference. Disgorged November 2020.
Product size: 750ml