Egly-Ouriet 1er Cru Brut Les Vignes de Vrigny
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Few winemakers plant Pinot Meunier on premier cru land; fewer still on terroir that is essentially an extension of the noble Montaigne de Reims. This 100% Pinot Meunier spent 38 months on its lees, way more than any other Pinot Meunier wine in the region. (For most Champagne houses, this is the time they give their very top cuvées; for Egly, this is the minimum.) Remarkably fresh and citrus-driven. Aromas of red currants, roses and lively, warm notes of lemon curd on toast. Rich, fresh and extraordinarily complex on the palate; Mirabelle plums and peaches combine with a peppery energy. A classic Champagne that has no peer.
International Wine Cellar - "Bright yellow-gold. Smoky, deeply pitched aromas of poached pear, chamomile, honey and truffle, with spice and mineral notes gaining strength in the glass. Offers an array of ripe orchard fruit and spice flavors lifted by gentle acidity. Rich but lively, finishing with excellent clarity and lingering smokiness."
The Wine Advocate - "The NV Brut Premier Cru Les Vignes de Vrigny emerges from the glass with warm, toasty notes that lead to an expressive core of pears, nuts, spices, licorice and flowers. The Vignes de Vrigny develops lovely amber, burnished tones in the glass that add complexity to the fruit. This mid-weight Champagne should continue to drink beautifully for at least a few years. The Vignes de Vrigny is 100% Pinot Meunier that spent 36 months on its lees prior to being disgorged in July, 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016."
Winemaker Francis Egly has earned a place at the very top of the grower Champagne elite, and his wines have achieved "cult" status.
You'll find Egly Champagne on the wine lists of the world's three-star restaurants. You'll also find it in the cellars of those who know that while Krug and other top producers can easily be had for a certain (often exaggerated) price, Egly Champagne is both rare and exceptional.
Egly Champagne is produced in microscopic quantities; it has few peers in terms of quality; and if you appreciate fine Champagne, it is certainly worth going any length to acquire.
Egly cares for vines in the grand cru villages of Bouzy, Verzenay and in the heart of Ambonnay. His are wines with character—tremendously vinous Champagne that speaks volumes about the regional terroir and the ancient vines that birth them. Each bottle is a stunning example of the potential of Champagne as well as the bold vision of a truly talented artisan.
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About ChampagneView a map of Champagne wineries Champagne is both a region and a method. The wines come from the northernmost vineyards in France and the name conjures an image like no other can. An 18th Century Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is said to be the first to blend both varietals and vintages, making good wines not only great, but also special and unique to their winemaker. Today, nearly 75% of Champagne produced is non-vintage and made up by a blend of several years' harvests.
All Champagnes must be made by a strictly controlled process called "Méthode Champenoise." The grapes are pressed and fermented for the first time. The blending phase follows and the wine is bottled and temporarily capped. Then comes the second fermentation, a blend of sugar and yeast is added and, this time, the carbon dioxide is kept inside the bottle. This process leaves a great deal of sediment that is extracted through a process of "racking" or "riddling." The bottles are progressively turned upside down until all the sediment is collected in the neck. The necks are then frozen and the sediment is "disgorged." After this phase, the winemaker may decide to add sugar to sweeten the wine. Finally the wine is corked. Some wines move through this process in a couple of months, while others are aged after the riddling phase to build greater complexity and depth.
Champagnes range from dry, "Brut," to slightly sweet, "Demi-Sec." Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are used in Champagne blends, but "Blancs de Noirs" is made entirely of Pinot Noir and "Blancs de Blanc" is made from only Chardonnay grapes. The high acidity achieved by the northern location is crucial to the balance and structure of these wines.
Not every year is a "vintage" declared. In years when it is not, the wines are blended with the produce from other years to create the non-vintage blend, the house style that remains constant from year to year. But in a great vintage year, champagne houses will bottle by itself the unblended year's produce, and use other portions as "reserve" wines to supplement and enrich the non-vintage blend. A vintage champagne can age quite gracefully, and gain complexity just like any other great still wine.
Mild cheeses like gruyere and shellfish pair nicely with Champagne. Also, oysters and Champagne is a popular combination. A full-flavored vintage Champagne can go with almost any meal.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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