Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Champagne Moutard Pinot Noir Extra Dry

I’m not normally attracted to Champagne in the Extra Dry style, which, of course, is anything but extra dry – it has more sugar than ‘Brut’, but Moutard’s Pinot Noir from their Vignes Beugneux site in the Cote des Bar is a real discovery. Moutard-Diligent  like to do things a wee bit differently as I discovered when I visited the winery three years ago: they make, for example, a single variety old vines Arbane (one of Champagne’s lesser known, but long-established grape varieties).

This Pinot Noir Extra Dry is part of their Terroirs series, that celebrates some of the better sites in the Cote des Bar, Champagne’s southernmost region, where they are based. It is 100% Pinot Noir, which has not undergone a malolactic fermentation and is aged for at least three years sur lattes and then dosed to 15 g/l sugar – in other words it only just qualifies as an ‘Extra Dry’. It is non-vintage, but each bottles bears a dégorgement date. Mine was disgorgorged on 30 April 2009.

The length of time on the lees lends it a creamy complexity, the non-malo style means that the high dosage is barely noticeable. It does not seem unduly sweet. It wasn’t as deeply tinted as I might have expected from a blanc de noirs, but was a pale golden straw colour. Its aroma was delightfully fruity- showing rich red fruits and the flavour was ripe and fresh, with more red fruit, and it had good length. The bubbles were soft and long-lasting.

Blanc de Noirs is often a great style to enjoy with food and this stood up to roast veal stuffed with wild mushrooms brilliantly. It cost less than €30 from a fairly pricey shop in central Paris. I think it’s a great success and I would love to get my paws on some more.

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