Drappier Grande Sendree Brut 2009
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Disgorged in January 2019 with four grams per liter dosage, the 2009 Brut Grande Sendrée is still a little tightly wound after its recent disgorgement, but it already hints of the promise to come. Offering up an incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, honeycomb, quinine, stone fruit pits and freshly baked bread, it's full-bodied, deep and layered, with racy acids, a crisp core of fruit and a penetrating and delicately chalky finish. This may not possess quite as much potential for the long haul as the 2008, but it will also hit its peak of expressiveness sooner. Every time I taste Grande Sendrée, I wonder if Drappier might be the most underrated house in Champagne?
Although the vines in Urville were originally planted by the Romans 2000 years ago, it was Saint Bernard, founder of Clairvaux Abbey, who had cellars built in 1152.
Seven centuries later, in 1808, the family domaine was created -- today, it is headed by Michel Drappier, and cultivated according to organic and natural principles. Urville is an area in which Pinot Noir thrives, however, Drappier also cultivates "forgotten" grape varieties: Arbane, Petit Meslier and Blanc Vrai.
Rather than ultra-sophisticated, sometimes overdone, wine, the winery prefers authenticity and a natural approach, limiting usage of sulphites.
Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.
Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.
With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.