At Sip we are privileged with first access to some really exciting Champagnes, and this is right up there…
A pure Meunier aged on the lees for a whopping 162 months or 13.5 years to you and I!
Demière, based in Fleury la Riviere, works mainly with Meunier to create rich and fruity wines that age beautifully, but never before have we had the opportunity to experience this age in a non-vintage cuvée.
The magic of the lees
Lees ageing is the process that occurs once the wine is put into bottle. Extra yeast and sugar is added to promote the secondary fermentation, (the bit that makes Champagne so unique), and once the yeast has eaten all the sugar, that’s when the magic starts. As the yeast cells start to die away they begin to interact with the wine to create an array of delicious and engaging flavours. First, after 2 or 3 years, you are greeted with bready, doughy notes alongside toast and brioche, (this is usually the end of the road for non-vintage ageing). Go a little further though and after 4 or 5 years, you can add weight and texture to the mouthfeel, as well as more complex secondary notes of crème brûlée and chicken stock. If you leave it even longer, when the wine hits 7+ years, you can reap the full rewards of autolysis, with the palate gaining layers and aromatic complexity as well as plenty more baked notes – the flavours that make good Champagne so special.
It’s important to note, however, that only the best wines will benefit from this length of ageing and, of course, every month on the lees is a month without money in the bank for the producer, which is why this wine is so unusual and so very special.
We first came across Demière many years ago and instantly fell for their exotic, complex wines. Founded in 1936 and based in Fleury la Riviere, Audrey and Jerome work with a majority of Meunier creating wines that last a lifetime. Our experience of their legendary ageing ability has seen flawless bottles of wines as far back as the 1950s. Staggering! But this is the first time we have ever had access to a long-aged non-vintage.
162 months on lees, 2006 base. Pure Fleury la Riviere.
A warming hug of a wine on the nose. Honey, buttered toast, nutty with notes of pastry and orange peel. As you take the first sip you are hit with a playful front end with notes of violets and honey. The palate remains remarkably compact for its age, keeping very central and vinous. As it opens, the mid develops more fruitiness bringing primary elements like strawberry, blackcurrant and sweet grapefruit. The glory of this maison is you know this will develop even more with a year or two resting in your cellar... if you can resist opening it!