In the Champagne region as in other regions, price is not does not necessarily reflect price. Producer with 2 or 3 hectares which is considered the minimum a producer needs to survive also results in higher production costs which in turn mean the price of the champagnes is expedentially more expensive.
Piere Legras has 10 hectares in Chouilly, the northern most Grand Cru in the Côtes de Blanc, where chalk dominates, thanks to these 1o hectares Legras manages to produce high quality champagnes at sensible prices.
We have three of his champagnes in our sortiment. Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand cru, Champagne Blanc de Blancs "Idee de Voyage" 2011 Grand Cru and Champagner Monographie brut Chouilly Grand Cru. Over the last few weeks I have retasted them all just to see how they are faring at the moment.
Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand cru is the entry level champagne. Base year is 2012, with 48% Reserve wines from 2007 until 2016. Tirage 04/2018.
Degorgement February 2020. Dosage 6,75g/l. At first aggressive perlage, has the Chouilly acidic grip. Light yellow with green reflexes. The nose at first yeasty with agrumes, with more time herbal element develop, marjoram, almost like german liverpaté. On the palate the champagne bustles with energy and tension. Grapefruit with a hint of spice dominate, good, mouth cleansing acidity. Will improve with ageing. Serve with mussels, poached or pan fried fish with a zitrus based sauce or an aged Comté or Cheddar.
Champagne Blanc de Blancs "Idee de Voyage" 2011. Critics and journalist are very quick to label a vintage, this is something I really hate as it is a complete oversimplification and ignores the complexities of indiviual vintages. 2011 "Idee de Voyage" is starting to enter a beautiful place. Tirage was in April 2012 and the degorgement in November 2020. Sparkling yellow, with a nice nose full of citrus and floral components. On the palate really satisfying, zitrus aromas with bergamotte dominating, a what we would define as a chalky minerality, really good acidic grip and great length. What is really striking about this champagne is the focus, balance and tension, you have the richness and roundness of Chouilly but this is augmented with a freshness and tautness which makes this champagne mouthwatering, the sort when the bottle is finished wants you to immediately open another bottle. I imagine this champagne will only get better over the years. Legras and Guiborat are friends and for me I would put this champagne at the same level as Guiborats Prisme 2011. Serve with turbot, dover sole, veal filet with morels.
Monographie Brut Chouilly Grand Cru. 100% Chardonnay. 16% aged in wood. Tirage May 2013. Degorgement 2017. Dosage 5g/l. Golden colour, nose floral with white pepper. At first aggresive perlage. The wood is no longer noticable, this is richer style of Blanc de Blancs, aromas are very much zitrusy. Really good depth and supporting acidity. Very young and can only get better. I imagine in five years this chamapgne will be sublime. I would serve this with poultry, vealy or lobster in a rich presentation.