The SOMM Journal

August / September 2017

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Page 136 of 148

136 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 Marque { showcase } THE WINES OF THE MAISONS MARQUES & DOMAINES' bien- nial portfolio tour sparkled—literally and figuratively—when produc- ers lined the perimeter of the spacious ballroom at San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel in May. As a cluster of tasters swelled around a very large-format bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer's 2009 Cristal, a wine idolized by popular culture with a trademarked name expressly barred from adaptation, expectations about the vintage were con - firmed if not exceeded. SPARKLING WINES The 2009 Cristal is noted for perfect ripeness of fruit from the estate's Grands Crus in Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs. The vintage itself is described by Cellar Master Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon as one of light and sunny character, and the 60% Pinot Noir–dominant blend showed delicate, honeyed floral aromas and a cherry-infused freshness. The expression of the north - ern Pinot Noir crus radiates in this wine and, although not labeled as such, with a dosage of 8 g/l the wine is characterized as brut in style. Six years spent on the lees contribute vanilla, brown spices and toasty hazelnut to a chalky, mineral vein. Alongside the show-stopping 2009 Cristal, the non-vintage Brut Premier, a blend of 40% Pinot Noir from Bouzy and Ambonnay, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier that spends three years on the lees, easily held its own. With Lécaillon's aerobic and neutral-oaked reserve wines at its core, enhanced by the freshness of younger wines without the influence of malolactic, it's utterly satisfying. When asked about demand for the winery's Brut Nature, a contemporary-style zéro dosage wine, Xavier Barlier, Senior VP of Marketing and Communication for MMD, said, "There's more interest from forward-looking wine professionals, but developing an apprecia - tion for the style is really a function of an education." Roederer's domestic sparkling hails from Anderson Valley, where the company has had a footprint since 1982, when it established Roederer Estate, and expanded in 2004 when it took the reins at Scharffenberger Cellars. The wines were presented by Arnaud Weyrich, Executive Vice President of Operations and winemaker for Making Their PROVEN TERROIRS AND ACCLAIMED VINTAGES HIGHLIGHT THE BIENNIAL MMD TOUR Jon Newlon, VP/GM American Wines & Spirits of California, a division of Southern Glazer's, with Gregory Balogh, President & CEO of Maisons Marques & Domaines. PHOTO: CAL BINGHAM by Deborah Parker Wong

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