Pierre Gimonnet Brut Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs
Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
Lively, aerial, and technically perfect. This cuvee represents the archetype style of the Pierre Gimonnet & Fils. One appreciates this classic non-vintage brut for its consistent taste, for its vivacity, its lightness, and its fineness: the whole purity of the Great Chardonnays of the Cote des Blancs.
Wine Enthusiast - "With its crisp apple fruit and touch of citrus, this initially seems to be merely fruit. Then, slowly, richness and a sense of maturity emerge to create a wine that is complex, full and rich. Open this an hour before pouring."
Wine Spectator - "Fresh, offering a lively bead, with flavors of white peach, apple, biscuit and blanched almond that show a hint of passion fruit. Shows fine texture and an open-knit, mineral-tinged finish."
The Wine Advocate - "Gimonnet's NV Brut Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Cuvee Cuis fills out nicely on the mid-palate, with a little more mid-palate pliancy and richness than the Belles Annees. Green pears, flowers and crushed rocks are some of the nuances that flow through to a wiry finish endowed with significant energy and polish. This is a striking effort from Gimonnet."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright straw. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet offers lime pith, fennel, jasmine and chalk. Lively and delineated in the mouth, lending incisive citrus and quince flavors that are underscored by intense minerality. Very tight, with strong finishing cut and lingering chalkiness."
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Pierre Gimonnet Winery
Since before 1750 the Gimonnet family have been vine growers in the village of Cuis, supplying the great Champagne houses with grapes up until the 1930's recession. As the sales of grapes fell during this prolonged recession, Monsieur Pierre Gimonnet finally decided to take up the challenge of vinifying and commercializing his own harvest. It was a great struggle at first, establishing a clientele who were not, at that time, accustomed to "blanc de blancs" Champagnes, not least from a new small independent producer. The effort finally paid off and today the name of Champagne Pierre Gimonnet et Fils is one of great renown, and highly respected. Pierre Gimonnet built this reputation on the base of his unique and exceptional vineyard, half a century of experience and the uncompromising standards that he imposed upon himself. The estate is now run by Pierre's sons, Michel and Didier, who share the fanaticism of their father for the Gimonnet Champagnes. In 1987 the Gimonnet family acquired the house of Larmandier Père et Fils based in Cramant. This brought some exceptional vineyards to the Gimonnet enterpise. Although the Larmandier wines are vinified at the Gimonnet cellars in Cuis the cuvées are vinified and aged seperately. Consequently some remarkable Champagnes are produced from the Cramant Grand Cru vineyards, especially the outstanding Larmandier Cramant Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs and the exquisite Cramant Grand Cru Special Club.The policy of the estate, from the very beginning, in the true traditions of all great wine makers was to limit the production of grapes in the search of quality, with the ambition to become one of the great specialists of "blanc de blancs" Champagnes. View all Pierre Gimonnet Wines
About ChampagneChampagne 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.