Champagne Day: Jean Milan Terre de Noel 2004 Blanc de Blancs
Blanc de Blancs is wine geek Champagne. Lots of these wines are mineral driven and eschew the autolytic characteristics that so many people love with champagne (with exceptions, of course). But these are much more wines than ‘bubbly’, and the terroir transparency can be truly exceptional with the best examples.
New and Old
This single vineyard wine from 70 year old vines classified as Grand Cru offers an excellent view of what Jean Milan is capable of as a wine maker because there is so little stamp of wine making on the wine. For Champagne, which prides itself on the consistency of its house style (witness the Chefs du Cav of the greatest houses), wine making of this type is the new Champagne. But unlike some other regions, the new Champagne will not take over tradition, but is rather an alternative vision of the region. I often wonder why the competition between stylistic approaches to wine can often escalate into ideological debates about what wines are valid.
The greatness of wine is the multiplicity of voices. House champagne should, theoretically, be able to subsist side by side with growers, even if the two approaches create a tension in the region. I often find that tension is the cradle of inspiration and beauty, and I feel that embracing this tension is the best way for a region like Champagne to move forward.
Champagne as Wine
But enough philosophy, this is awesome champagne. Unlike much blanc de blancs, it is incredibly rich but also very savory. The mineral intensity is very high and there is an almost austere edge to the finish, especially upon first opening. This edge dissipates with air and the wine ultimately smooths out considerably.
A truly terroir driven wine that has a flavour profile unique unto itself. With the richness of a Champagne from Bouzy, but with the transparency and incredibly high acid of blanc de blancs, this is a magnificent Champagne that exhibits why so many wine geeks are so in love with grower blanc de blancs.
~$105 at Kits Wine Cellar