The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

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Page 36 of 120

36 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 { bubbles } FOR 27 YEARS, CELLAR MASTER JEAN-PIERRE Mareigner has maintained Champagne Gosset's house style, which at its best is ethereal, elegant and racy. Owned by the Cointreau family, who also own and manage Cognac Frapin, Gosset was founded as a still wine house in Aÿ in 1584, and can boast being the oldest Champagne house in opera - tion in the region. While Épernay is the current home of Gosset, the original Aÿ location maintains facilities that produce the Champagne house's larger format wines. Traditional deep chalk cellars in both Aÿ and Épernay, where the caves have a capacity of 2.5 million bottles, house a portfolio that spans a wide range, from the fleshy Brut Excellence to the expressive Grande Réserve, Grand Blanc de Blanc, Grand Rosé and vin - tage Grand Milléssime cuvées. The pinnacle of Gosset's art is reached in the Extra Brut and Rosé expressions of its stun- ning tête-de-cuvée, Célébris. The house is known for aging its wines on the lees for several years, as many as nine for certain tête-de-cuvées—an investment that translates to consecutive high scores and praise from critics. From the chalky-rich soils of the Côte des Blancs, which extend south from Épernay, to the Cretaceous chalk, clay and sandy soils in Montagne de Reims, top vineyard sites from around the region provide Gosset with sublime grapes from the best crus—a large majority of them coming from grand crus and premier crus—with an average classifica - tion of 95 percent on the rating scale known as the Échelle des Crus (which ranges 80 to 100 percent). One of the house's hallmark offerings is its multi- vintage Grande Réserve Brut (SRP $67.99), which is produced from grand cru sites in Avize, Mesnil sur Oger, Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy and Verzenay as well as six premier cru sites. The blend is 43% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier from three superior vintages, aged on the lees four to five years. The dosage is on the lower end (8 g/L) and the Champagne offers a rich nose of fresh brioche and toasted hazelnuts giving way to a superbly creamy mousse and a lovely balance between stone fruit and citrus while complex savory notes, underscored by bright minerality round out a nice, long finish. Like other upper-echelon wines from this house, Grande Réserve is shipped in an antique flacon bottle, an exact reproduction of those used by Gosset in the 18th century—packaging that makes for an impressive presentation at the table and which speaks to Gosset's sense of his - tory made palpable. For somms, the mention of Gosset spells excite- ment, because Mareigner tends to suppress malo, and the resulting portfolio offers a range of styles showing pure fruit character that mingles superbly well with an array of cuisine—and some of the finest in the world, as Gosset finds itself on many a menu among Michelin-rated restaurants. Rooted In History GOSSET DRAWS ON ITS PAST TO MAKE SCINTILLATING MODERN CHAMPAGNES by Jonathan Cristaldi Champagne Gosset headquarters in Épernay. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHAMPAGNE GOSSET The Gosset Grande Réserve Brut shows complex savory notes and sheer finesse.

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