Champagne Blanc de Blancs d’Ay, Gaston-Chiquet
cépage 100% Chardonnay
info/source Aÿ Grand Cru, 23 year-old vines on average
élevage Stainless Steel
sur latte 50 months
Vallee de la Marne
Disg 3/2016, this is a truly extraordinary vintage, and not “taking ’05 into account;” it’s plain fabulous. It begins with a rampantly doughy fruit and straw, and morphs into spices and mineral and flowery peppercorns. The vintage shows in its weightiness but it’s undergone some apotheosis, some forgiving divinity that really shows on the finish, a mélange of fruit, cake and brownbutter that will rend your heart.
We had three old wines to end the day. I’m saving those notes for a chapter in my upcoming book, but one of the wines was a 1966 Blanc d’Aÿ, and we disagreed about it. I found it a sweet old fellow, all vetiver and armoire, yet it was also overt and even clamorous, which didn’t bother me—the melting orange-rind nuttiness was such as to subdue any inclination I had to nit-pick. Indeed over a few minutes the overtness itself became beautiful, as if it were aglow for having been forgiven. Nicolas found a disequilibrium, but how do you ignore the larger flavor? The fragrance was perfect. The salty assertiveness on the palate made the wine ungainly to Nicolas, but I loved its orneriness. It was like a beautiful face with a large schnoz. A little restless, not entirely well behaved, but mellow for all that.
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Press & Reviews
The NV Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d'Ay is 100% Chardonnay, quite unusual for a village known for its Pinots. It is a pretty, supple wine typical of the year in its soft fruit and accessible personality. As always, this wine is much more about Chardonnay from Ay than it is about anything else. It shows lovely nuance in a crystalline expression of fruit supported by clean mineral notes. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. This bottle was disgorged on April 5, 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.
A lively bead carries flavors of fresh-cut apple, biscuit, apricot and lemon curd in this firm and chalky blanc de blancs. The lightly smokey finish offers an echo of minerality. Drink now through 2018. -A.N.
(made entirely from 2008 fruit; disgorged February, 2012): Pale straw. High-pitched aromas of lime and lemongrass, with chalky mineral and floral notes adding complexity. Taut, incisive citrus fruit and mineral flavors show impressive clarity and pick up notes of green apple and honeysuckle with air. Clean and nervy on the mineral-driven finish. - Josh Raynolds
The NV Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ is beautifully focused and pointed. Sweet, layered and expressive, the Blanc de Blancs impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. The aromas and flavors are alive and perfumed throughout. Raspberry, lingonberry, white flowers and pears flow through to an inviting, crystalline finish supported by beams of minerality. This is another striking wine from Chiquet. Aÿ is Pinot country in Champagne, but Chiquet also excels with his Blanc de Blancs. The Blanc de Blancs is 100% Chardonnay, 2009 vintage, done in steel. This bottle was disgorged in December 2012.