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Champagne Egly-Ouriet: Non-Vintage and Vintage

The way in which wine is sold today by many merchants hinges on marketing it as something new, exciting or unmissable. Lofty point scores, numerous quotations from key critics are used to establish ‘must-have!!!’ status. We have nothing against something exciting at Atlas, nor point scores or critics which are, after all, a very useful reference and add to our own view on a wine. As you have hopefully noticed, we do not often offer wines year in and year out. However, when we do, it can be difficult to make an offer seem as exciting as it was the first time. This is because many comments from previous offers still ring true. Consider this as an apology for the reiterative nature of Simon's comments that follow on the Champagnes of Egly-Ouriet.

If you don’t read any further, I will succinctly state that these are truly stunning Champagnes with a level of consistently high quality that is seldom encountered. 
I will be honest: Francis Egly is not the easiest grower to work with, he is meticulous beyond belief in both business and viticulture; this approach is reflected in his healthy obsession with quality. Below I list some of the key points that lead to Egly-Ouriet ranking as one of the finest producers in Champagne. Note that I am not saying one of the finest growers: Egly’s wines compete with growers and Grande Marque houses alike.

  1. All of Egly’s wines draw on fruit from old vines in the Grand Cru villages of Ambonnay, Bouzy and Verzenay. This comment applies to his superb NV Tradition as much as the most heralded wines in his range; there is no Premier Cru fruit employed.
  2. All of Egly’s wines are aged beyond the norm before release. Nothing is hurried at all chez Egly; each cuvée benefits, in terms of complexity, from extended ageing of at least four years on their lees in bottle, way ahead of the statutory minimum for Champagne. The Vieillissement Prolongé (or VP for short) is the most extreme example spending 84 months on its lees.
  3. All of Egly’s wines are low dosage (dosage relates to the amount of sugar in theliqueur d’expedition that is added after the disgorgement process. This adjusts the wine’s overall sweetness/dryness). In Egly’s wines, there is nothing to mar the sheer purity.
  4. All of Egly’s wines are capable of developing in bottle, growing in complexity – that comment applies to the NV Tradition as much as it does to the Blanc de Noirs ‘Les Crayères’.

These wines are produced in smaller quantities that most of the Champagnes with which you may be familiar; they are not seeking to further the aspirations of a brand, but rather to represent their origins. They are a far cry from some of the near-debased, commercial output of many famous names in Champagne. Making wines of such high and unerring quality requires not only considerable practical skill, but equally near maniacal focus.  That’s exactly what you get with Egly-Ouriet.
Please see Antonio Galloni’s most recent notes below, plus my note on the 2009 vintage.
NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru
93 points, Antonio Galloni,
£235 per 6 bottle case in bond 
(70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, largely from Ambonnay, with Verzenay and Bouzy, 50% barrel-fermented)
Aged for 48 months before disgorgement.
The NV Brut Tradition is rich, resonant and super-expressive, with striking textural richness and depth. Dried pear, spice, ginger and dried flowers are just some of strands that are woven throughout this incomparably elegant non-vintage Champagne. This edition is 50% 2012 and 50% reserve wines from 2011, 2010 and 2009. In this release, the Brut Tradition is especially strong. Disgorged December 2017. Dosage is 4 grams per liter.
NV Egly-Ouriet VP Vieillissement Prolongé, Grand Cru, Extra Brut
94+ points, Antonio Galloni,
£325 per 6 bottle case in bond
(70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, largely from Ambonnay, with Verzenay and Bouzy, 50% barrel-fermented)
Aged for 84 months before disgorgement.
One of the highlights in this range, the NV Extra-Brut V.P. Grand Cru (Vieillissement Prolongé) is pure, vibrant and pulsing with energy. There is a crystalline purity to the flavors that is truly remarkable. Lemon confit, white flowers and mint give the V.P. a distinctly bright profile, even though the blend is 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. There is so much to admire in this finely sculpted, nuanced Champagne from Egly-Ouriet. A crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures builds effortlessly, making it nearly impossible to put the glass down. The current release is a blend of vintages 2009, 2008 and 2007. Disgorged December 2017. Dosage is 2 grams per liter.
NV Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs, ‘Les Crayères’ Vieilles Vignes, Grand Cru
95 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous,com
£485 per 6 bottle case in bond 
(100% Pinot Noir, from a single parcel of vines in Ambonnay, only made by blending best years, barrel-fermented and aged)
Aged for 72 months before disgorgement.
The NV Extra-Brut Blanc de Noirs Les Crayères Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru is a blend of 60% 2011 and 40% 2010 that spends six years in the cellar. Dense, full-bodied and voluptuous, with all of the richness of the old-vine coming through, the Crayères is fabulous. Red cherry, Mirabelle plum, dried flowers and spice notes fill out the wine’s ample frame effortlessly. Ample and creamy on the palate, with soft curves, the Crayères, also has more than enough vibrancy to develop beautifully in bottle for many years to come. These old vines date back to 1946 and 1947 and confer notable gravitas. Disgorged December 2017. Dosage is 2 grams per liter.
2009 Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Millesimé
£455 per 6 bottle case in bond
(75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from vines aged over 50 years, 100% Ambonnay fruit, barrel-fermented)
Aged for 96 months before disgorgement.
Not tasted as yet, but we have high hopes. Champagne endured a tricky Spring, but that was followed by a very fine summer and an uncomplicated harvest period. Fruit quality was therefore to be reported to be very high, notably for Pinot Noir in the Montagne de Reims, the sub-region, home to Ambonnay and Bouzy, both villages that feature highly in Egly’s holdings. (SL)
*N.B. The Vinous reviews may relate to different disgorgement dates.

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Blackwell House, Guildhall Yard
London, EC2V 5AE
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
F: +44 (0) 20 3017 2290