Champagne Louis Nicaise is located in the Vallée de la Marne village of Hautvillers in the heart of Champagne—Dom Perignon made this village famous and it is known as the birthplace of Champagne. The Nicaise estate has taken a qualitative turn for the better in recent years, led by Laure Nicaise-Préaux, representing the fourth generation of the Nicaise family, who along with her husband, then 25-year-old Clement Préaux, began working at the domain in 2007. Clement apprenticed with the great Anselme Selosse before then, and the young couple has implemented a progressive approach including lower dosage and gaining certification for sustainability. The Chardonnay (35%) is sourced from the family vineyards in Hautvillers, while the Pinot Noir (65%) is split terroir: part Hautvillers Premier Cru and part Aÿ Grand Cru (among the top villages for Pinot Noir in Champagne). The base wine is roughly 40% from the 2016 harvest while the generous remainder is “perpetual reserve” wine—a blend of base wines from past vintages, typically held in one vessel (Champagne’s streamlined version of a solera system, common in Sherry production). This technique allows for extra layers of complexity and texture. After disgorgement, the Champagne is topped off with 15% still Pinot Noir. The dosage, at 7.5 g/L gives delicious weight without the feeling of sweetness; the finish is refreshing and totally dry. Pale raspberry hue with a pink-silver rim. On the nose, the wine exhibits fresh crushed white and red cherries, pomegranate, chalk and rose petals. The palate shows ripe cherry, wild strawberry and rhubarb with a hint of citrus zest and a savory brioche note underlying the refreshing, lengthy finish.