Saturday, 11 September 2010

Pierre Moncuit

Arriving slightly late in the day at the house of Moncuit was slightly frustrating as they were one of houses that I was most looking forward to visiting. However lunch was at the Chateau de la Marquetterie with the garrulous Clovis Taittinger, and in my experience lunches are things that are best not planned too closely around.

Moncuit is in the village of Mesnil Sur Oger, which is Grand Cru and pretty much exclusively Chardonnay. The house is presided over by Nicole and Yves Moncuit, who we unfortunately didn't get the chance to meet (again, due to our tight scheduling and trying to get 3 extra visits into a short two day period). However we were very well looked after by a very cheery lady who took us through their wines and then on the obligatory tour of the cellars.

The house makes exclusively Blanc de Blanc which with the exception of the Huges de Coulmet are all Grand Cru.

Huges de Coulmet, this is from a single plot in the village of Cezannes which has particularly sandy soils, it's an NV and showed quite a simple nose of fresh green apples and just a touch of brioche.

The wines took a leap forward in quality when we moved onto the Grand Crus, Pierre-Moncuit Delos NV GC BdB, this showed a lovely mineral and floral nose, which opened up to show a vibrant minerally palette with notes of peach and stone fruit giving roundness.

Millesime 2004, this has been treated to five years of bottle ageing sur lie and it really shows. Again that same creamy mineral core, but this time it's swaddled with a panoply of creamy, toasty, caramel and yeasty bread flavours, on the palette the nose still shows but one also finds some toasted hazelnut characters too. This was serious champagne, direct, slightly restrained but very complete with it.

2002 Extra Brut, coming with only 3g per l dosage (compared to the usual 10) this was very direct but boasted some hints of mushroom, toasted wholemeal bread along with the shimmering mineral core.

The Moncuit rose is made by blending in Pinot Noir from Ambonnay, but this is still quite a small percentage so the wine remains predominantly Chardonnay. The nose was redolent of dusty white bloomers, but with an edge of red fruit compote, this is very much towards the more elegant end of roses and has a delicate poise that was a joy to taste.

Finally the Nicole Moncuit 2002, this is their top cuvee and is made from 90 year old vines. In keeping with the rest of the houses wines this was very elegant, with notes of farmhouse brown bread, some dried peach and apple compote characters.

The Moncuit wines are of a family and it's very satisfying to see the relationship between them, there is a shimmering minerality that weaves its way through the wines, with age and cellar time just adding complexity and sensuality to the wines. Rather like the way a silken black dress hangs on a beautiful lithe ladies body.

Our visit to Moncuit was somewhat brief, however I was very impressed by the consistency across their range of wines, there's a real familial trait that shows in all of their wines, an elegance in the way that they present themselves. The Chardonnay showing real minerality, but not in an austere fashion, a delicacy of character, but also one that is happy in it's own skin, none of the wines ever left me looking for something else, they all came across as being very complete.

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