Louis Nicaise Champagne Brut Premier Cru Rose
Just a few minutes north of the heart of Champagne in Epernay is the tiny village of Hautvillers, the village made famous by Dom Perignon as the birthplace of Champagne. While we do sell Dom Perignon (and if you have the means, I highly recommend it) there are other producers within this village making outstanding Champagne. Ours today is Louis Nicaise.
Our story begins with the young Clement Preaux in 2007. After working with cult Champagne producer Anselme Selosse, Clement took an assistant winemaking job at Nicaise when he quickly made the bold, and totally classic move, of starting to date, and then eventually marry the boss’s daughter – Laure Nicaise.
Now I haven’t met Clement’s father-in-law but my reckoning is he liked to do things his way, the way it had always been done, for the past four generations. Having just come from Selosse, Clement brought with him new ideas about how to take the Champagne to the next level – like buying new equipment for the winery to keep the wines fresher, more precise, and draw out the intensity of the fruit. When that new equipment arrived, Dad promptly hid in in the back of the winery, causing confusion with the supplier!
So Clement had a trick. He made most of the Champagnes Dad’s way. And he made a little his way. Then, in time, he tasted Dad on the Champagnes blind. Champagnes can’t be rushed, so this plan took several years to come to fruition. Once they were ready, Clement began tasting the Champagnes blind with his bon père. And in every case, Dad preferred Clement’s! He handed over the reigns to Clement and Laure, and we are the beneficiaries because this domaine is now making outstanding Champagne. We have two:
Louis Nicaise Brut Reserve opens with aromas of black cherries, brioche, toast and a fine saline high note. The palate is fresh and vibrant yet also has a richness of texture and flavor that revolves around the aromas present on the nose. The finish is clean, long and elegant, offering a beautiful minerality and depth. It is approximately 60% reserve wines and that shows off in the length of the finish.
The Louis Nicaise Brut Rose Premier Cru is a full-on expression of Rose. Powerful aromas and flavors greet the taster. Champagne does pair well with food, and here is one that will prove it to you. The bold fruit / savory combination on the palate shows off the 16% of blended back in Pinot Noir, allowing you to pair this with all kinds of roasted white meats or fish. Round, full-bodied and rich, this Champagne is simply sensational.
Champagne from Dom Perignon’s birthplace probably will never be at Tuesday night prices. But with this special little deal, it gets darn close. Cheers!