Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I have had the pleasure of working with Benoit Marguet since early 1999 when he was just "taking the reins" of the family property. Since then I have had the pleasure of importing his champagnes, drinking his champagnes, and watching this young man develop his talents in making great champagnes. And always with the aim of improving the quality and finesse and producing the best wine possible from fruit that is grown using organic farming methods. This is a multi generation champagne house (see: history) that Benoit is taking in new directions with new blends and energizing the traditional cuvées (french for blends). Visit the Marguet website for an introduction to the property.

Most of the champagnes produced at Marguet Père et Fils are Grand Cru, meaning that all the grapes come from vineyards that are formally classified as having the best potential for producing the best fruit, hence "Grand Cru". I will focus on this property in a series of posts starting with this one, where I will introduce the entry level champagne of Marguet Père et Fils, the Blanc de Noirs. This offering replaces the original "Tradition" cuvée that was a blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay (30%). This was a lovely champagne, but not very different from the next in line, their Reserve champagne (that I will focus on in the next post), and so Benoit set his sights to revamp the Tradition, and created his Blanc de Noirs.

In a move rarely taken by a champagne house, Benoit chose to forgo Grand Cru status and use Pinot Meunier (25-30%) in the blend with Pinot Noir, as the Pinot Meunier grape is not permitted in Grand Cru champagnes. "I had the most remarkable source of Pinot Meunier, and felt that I could make an extraordinary champagne, rather than stay with the traditional style and maintain Grand Cru status for my entry level champagne" says Benoit Marguet.

Well, he is certainly right. This is a champagne that is packed with flavor, and can be served with a wide variety of foods as well as just by itself, and it has impressed everyone to whom I have served it. What's more, as I import the wine direct from Benoit, this wine comes in well under the price of comparable selections available on the market.

Look for it at Binny's for around $37, and bring in the new year.  Cheers!

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