Happy Spring to all of you fine bubbles aficionados! What better time than this season, when flowers explode on the trees and on fields all around us and the weather gets balmier, to enjoy a glass of champagne? This month we’re showcasing two different expressions of this wine from two maisons who are excelling in crafting this high quality libation. Hope you enjoy them.

A Votre Santé!

Elio Longobardi

Wine Buyer


Champagne Étienne Doué, Cuvée Réserve Brut

Winemaker: Étienne Doué

About the Winery: Domaine Champagne Étienne Doué is located in the commune of Montgueux in the Aube wine region of Champagne. The soils here contain a higher degree of clay than their neighbors to the north (Montagne de Reims, Cotes de Blanc, Valley of the Marne). Nevertheless, along with the Kimmeridgian marls and gray clays so prevalent in this region, the vineyards of Étienne Doué also exhibit a scattered degree of hard limestone and some chalk.

About the Winemaking: As a grower who produces Champagne from his estate vineyards (RM), Étienne is part of a select group of “vigneron independent” who believe in growing, vinifying, and selling only the wines that they produce. He has worked in the area since the 70's and was making wine by sourcing fruit before purchasing land and starting this domaine. They have 6.5 hectares now. Étienne’s daughter has been involved for around 10 years. Winemaking at Champagne Étienne Doué is straight-forward and uncomplicated. The grapes are hand-harvested, then vinified in stainless steel vats. For all of the white wines, malolactic fermentation is carried out. The wines are then lightly filtered, but not fined. No oak is used in the vinification of the wines. Tasting Notes: Pale yellow in color with fine and persistent perlage in the flute. The nose is a delicate bouquet of citrus flower and fruit with an undertone of untoasted almond and sea salt whiff. Cuvee Reserve is 100% Chardonnay, a Blanc de Blancs. This Reserve is made by an assemblage of three different vintages (2010, 2011 and 2012) - bottled in 2013 and disgorged in 2016.

Price per bottle/case:  $55 btl/ $594 case

Suggested Food Pairing: This champagne pairs well with any seafood appetizers from shrimp cocktail to smoked trout and crème fraiche on toasted rye bread.


Champagne J.M. Labruyere Prologue Brut

Winemaker: enologist Nadine Gublin and cellar master Vincent Van Waesberghe

About the Winery: In 2012, the Labruyere family, with a history of winemaking in the most prestigious viticultural areas of France from Burgundy to Bordeaux, decided to add another jewel to their portfolio. They acquired 6 hectares (15 acres) of vineyards in the Grand Cru village of Verzenay by the Montagne de Reims area. 70% of the vineyards are dedicated to Pinot Noir grapes and the remaining 30% to Chardonnay. The farming technique is exclusively biodynamic.

About the Winemaking: Working with enologist Nadine Gublin and cellar master Vincent Van Waesberghe, Labruyère has created a true récoltant-manipulant house (meaning they own and control 100% of their vineyards) working with 100% Grand Cru-classified vineyards. “Prologue” is one of three cuvées the house makes, and this bottling is based on the 2012 vintage, with (very) small amounts of reserve wines from 2010 and ’11.

Tasting Notes: “Prologue” Brut has the viscosity and mineral drive of much more-expensive Champagne, with a deep straw-gold core moving to copper at the rim. The nose is a deep and expressive melding of yellow apple, dried pineapple, preserved lemon, toasted bread, brioche dough, white mushrooms, honeysuckle, and white flowers. The concentrated palate evolves to deliver red fruits with hints of red currant alongside lemon curd, hazelnut, and brioche leading to an extremely long and complex finish.

Price per bottle/case: $72 btl/ $777.60 case

Suggested Food Pairing: Put this succulent Champagne next to a well-sourced, and well-sauced piece of fish, as in Lemon sole with beurre noisette and capers.


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