2001 R. Renaudin L'Espiegle Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut Millesime, Champagne, France (750ml)

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The Renaudin family has been growing grapes at their historical estate in Moussy, just south of Épernay and directly above the coveted slopes of the Côte des Blancs, since 1724. They farm 58 acres of vines in the communes of Moussy and Pierry, and while their primary focus is Chardonnay for their vintage wines, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are also produced for a Brut Rosé and Brut Reserve. As Récoltant-Manipulants (or grower producers), the Renaudin’s produce wines exclusively from their estate vineyards, yet they sell off the majority of their yields, reserving only the cream of the crop for themselves. In addition to sourcing their fruit almost entirely from Premier Cru villages, the Renaudin’s utilize mostly 10-year-old vintage wines in their blends and halt malolactic fermentation to preserve freshness and vivacity. We almost considered not sharing this 2001 Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne with anyone and enjoying it all among our greedy selves; yet, we decided if anyone should be in on the secret, our wine club members deserve first dibs! There is so much going on with this wine that it would take many a page to appropriately convey its complexity; but for the sake of brevity, this is utterly exquisite! Notes of toasted hazelnut, Manzanilla sherry, raw honeycomb, orange blossom and candied lemon peel literally erupt from the glass - there is no subtlety here! The medium-bodied palate introduces a lively mousse, super fine bubbles and concentrated flavors of lemon pound cake, walnut liquor, crème anglaise, spiced poached pear and French toast. Considering the process of malolactic fermentation (which softens the acidity) was halted in the production of this wine, it feels clean, bright and exuberant despite all of the rich flavors. In fact, all of the opulent notes seem to dissipate onto a very dry, stunningly crisp and Meyer lemon-tinged finish.

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