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Ayala Brut Majeur

Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Champagne, France
  • JS92
  • WW91
  • WS90
  • WE90
  • V90
  • D90
  • W&S90
  • ST90
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Winemaker Notes

#77 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011

Pale gold in color with a fine mousse, the wine is aromatic on the nose. On the palate, it is well balanced and shows great finesse and complexity.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the best grand- and premier crus bring vinosity and delicacy together in a very harmoniously balanced blend.The complement of Pinot Meunier adds a charming touch of fruitiness and liveliness.

Delicious as an aperitif, Brut Majeur is also the perfect wine to serve throughout a meal. It will pair perfectly with sea food, scallops, lobster, crab, fresh or grilled fish, fish terrines, salmonor beef carpaccio, as well as with sushi and Asian cuisine.

Critical Acclaim

JS 92
James Suckling

Ayala is looking very good and offers some genuine depth and complexity for this entry-level pinot-dominant blend, driving impressive concentration into a savory and defined style. On the palate, this offers up dried-red-cherry fruits, gentle spices and smooth, zesty bite. It finishes with precise, nutty tannin.

WW 91
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com

Perhaps one of Champagne's purest Bruts, the non-vintage Ayala Brut Mejeur highlights excellent ripe fruit, some nice aged elements and a superior crispness in the end. A perfect match with raw oysters on-the-half-shell. Medium to straw in color; chalk and peach fuzz in the nose, most certainly an amalgamation of fruit and earth; dry, perky acidity, well balanced; fresh core fruit, with an a accent of mineral in the flavors; fresh and frisky in the aftertaste. (Tasted: March 3, 2016, San Francisco, CA)

WS 90
Wine Spectator

Smoke and forest floor notes lead the way here, with the chalky texture carrying subtle flavors of grilled nut, lemon meringue and dried currant. Balanced, offering smoke details on the fresh finish.

WE 90
Wine Enthusiast

Ayala, based in Aÿ in the heart of Champagne, has been transformed since Bollinger bought it in 2005 and this nonvintage proves it. This is a balanced blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. The result is crisp while not too dry, and therefore drinkable as an apéritif. Apple and bright citrus combine with green plums to give a fruity wine that is also structured. The cellarmaster continues to reduce the dosage (sugar) so there is a crisp, tight aftertaste. Editor's Choice.

V 90
Vinous / Antonio Galloni

Ayala's NV Brut Majeur is a solid entry-level wine. Dried pear, hazelnut, spice and licorice notes open up in a pretty, toasted NV Champagne to drink now and over the next few years. The Pinot comes through loud and clear in the wine's breadth and overall texture.

D 90
Decanter

Broad, expressive nose - lots of yeastiness on display, plus spice, floral and some toffee and caramel notes. The palate is clean and precise, showing elegant fruit characters and some burnt biscuit flavors too. Classic Champagne style, very conventional but decent complexity.

W&S 90
Wine & Spirits

Luscious ripeness lends this wine a quince-like flavor, feeling round and generous against the chalky briskness of Champagne. For all its fruitiness, this is dry, firm and grounded, a clean aperitif or a first-course wine for a rabbit terrine.

ST 90
International Wine Cellar

(45% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay and 25% pinot meunier; disgorged January, 2013): Light yellow. Aromas of fresh citrus fruits, chamomile and smoky minerals, with a subtle hint of white pepper. Fleshy and smooth on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering juicy blood orange and buttered toast flavors and a touch of bitter cherry pit. Closes on a spicy note, with good mineral cut and lingering spiciness. Pretty tight for an entry-level Champagne; I wouldn't be surprised if this one rewarded some cellaring.

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Ayala

Champagne Ayala

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Champagne Ayala, , France - Other regions
Ayala
Colombian by birth, in 1850 Edmond(o) de AYALA settled in the Champagne region - in the Château d'Aÿ to be exact. The château was the property of the Viscount of Mareuil, who soon taught Edmond the subtleties of the champagne business. In due time, Edmond married the Viscount's niece, whose fabulous dowry included both the Château d'Aÿ and the superb vineyard around it. All the conditions were in place for the creation of a Champagne House. Thus Champagne AYALA from the Château d'Aÿ came to be. Its notoriety spread fast, and quickly reached the shores of England.

When Edmond died, his three sons took over the business. In 1911 they suffered the "Vinegrowers Rebellion" - a revolt against the practices of certain unscrupulous Houses, who brought in grapes from outside of the region to be vinified and sold as "champagne". Even though Ayala was not on the blacklist (being totally innocent), it and the other Houses on the Boulevard du Nord in Aÿ were burned to ground by the angry mobs because there were no troops to defend them. The House was completely rebuilt and functioning by 1913. A public liability company was formed in 1922 that still exists today under the name "Champagne AYALA, Société Anonyme". Unabled to cope with the global economic crisis of the 1930s, then House was sold to an English bank before being bought by a Champagne vineyard owner: René CHAYOUX.

René CHAYOUX so trusted and respected Jean-Michel DUCELLIER, his partner since 1948, that he appointed DUCELLIER as his successor at the head of his businesses and estate. An estate that was made all the more impressive by the acquisition in 1961 of the illustrious Château LA LAGUNE, a Médoc Classified Third Growth in Bordeaux's Haut-Médoc region. Since 1968, Jean-Michel has with both affection and intelligence cared for the fortunes of Champagne AYALA and Château LA LAGUNE. The House of AYALA, a family business, is one of the few to have remained independent. Jean-Michel and his son Alain DUCELLIER who is today at the head of the company, both run it with energy and enthusiasm. They devote themselves to the status of the House's name worldwide, and they proudly receive their clients at their superb Château de Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.

Santa Barbara

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With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by breezy ocean fog...

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With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by breezy ocean fog, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to six separate AVAs—Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and its four sub-AVAs Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District, and Happy Canyon. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, marked by trademark racy acidity, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and savory Syrah. The region is also home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine...

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

YNG845728_0 Item# 113698

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