2008 Pierre Moncuit Cuvee Brut Millesime Champagne
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Wine Critic Reviews for 2008 Pierre Moncuit Cuvee Brut Millesime Champagne
The 2008 Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is a fabulous wine from this great Champagne vintage. Given the extended time on the lees (more than ten years) the 2008 shows quite a bit of complexity that has developed in bottle. Baked apple tart, spice, apricot, orange peel, spice, hazelnut and coffee are some of the many aromas and flavors that shape this wonderfully complex Champagne from Moncuit. The 2008 is in an ideal place for drinking now, as it offers a great deal of complexity. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged November 2020.
Vinous Media | 94 VM
Vinous Media | 94 VM
Wine Details on 2008 Pierre Moncuit Cuvee Brut Millesime Champagne
|Producer||Pierre Moncuit: When Alex Moncuit acquired a few acres in the celebrated region of Champagne, France and began growing vines, he unwittingly wrote the first page of a beautiful family history. This acquisition, which occurred in 1889, would fortuitously thrust the Moncuit family into the world of luxury winemaking. The intimate tradition of cultivating this historic and beloved land remains a family affair to this day. More than a century later a label carrying his family name has become a jewel in the crown of the Cotes des Blancs, serving as a reminder of such a fateful occurrence in the Moncuit family history. |
The Moncuit legacy began in the Grand Cru vineyards of Mesnil-sur-Oger, in the heart of the highly esteemed Cote des Blancs. The slope of Cote des Blancs spans 12 miles of chalk-rich soils and is home to the magnificent Chardonnay vineyards of Champagne. The Magic of Cote des Blancs is the symbiosis between the noble Chardonnay grape and the region’s exceptional terroir. The vineyards of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger are classified as 100% Grand Cru, with the quality of the vineyards coming from the fact that they are east-facing with a terroir comprised of topsoil over a base layer of chalk, with excellent hydric qualities thus allowing the chardonnay grapes to reach their full potential. The chalk soil was once ancient seabed and now contains millions of small, fossilized creatures. The minerality and salinity it imparts on Chardonnay translates into crisp, tight, well-balanced Champagnes with a pure and elegant aromatic intensity.
With Champagne being the coolest vine growing region in France, the Cote des Blancs sees bitterly cold winters and mild summers. Chardonnay generally loves such cool climate conditions but these vineyards excel particularly well thanks to the chalk-heavy subsoil and the east-facing vines that capture ample warmth from the morning sun. The white skin and flesh of the Chardonnay grape is the reason why the appellation is known as the “Blanc de Blancs” (white of whites) and is the exclusive varietal planted here.
In 1928, Alex’s son, Pierre Moncuit, convinced by the pedigree of his terroir, decided to make his own wines and commercialize them under his own name. His wife, Odile Moncuit-Delos assisted him on the commercial part of the reception of customers. The Cuvee Pierre Moncuit-Delos pays tribute to him and his incredible foresight. Nicole, Pierre’s daughter joined the estate in 1977, quickly becoming passionate about growing vines and winemaking. In 1980, Yves joins his sister in the adventure and takes over the marketing. In 1982, due to health problems, Pierre left Nicole the complete management and that same year she signed her first vintage. A vintage that was immediately praised by critics as it won a gold medal in an international contest. This honor along with Yves’ marketing efforts, enabled the commercialization of the Champagne house in France and abroad. In 2007, Nicole’s daughter, Valerie joined the family business and Pierre Moncuit began to expand the horizons of an already legendary and authentic Champagne house.
Moncuit uses only one year of harvest for non-vintage wines when the weather conditions have been favorable throughout the year. Despite there being no rule in the matter, only tasting determines the moment of glory of a vintage. When it comes to ageing, the house refuses any rush. It is the time of the wine that prevails, each year dictating its law. Moncuit, in the interest of respecting its land, has naturally adopted for many years a sustainable mode of viticulture and in being certified HVE (High Environmental Value). Each step in the production of wines is carried out with the utmost respect for the Champagne tradition, with a single leitmotif: optimal quality. Each harvest is a rigorous selection of grapes is conducted, continuing a careful and respectful process all the way up to the bottling of wine; each step is considered crucial.
The rigor that the Moncuits impose on themselves at all levels paradoxically leaves the aromas to express themselves offering a fair interpretation of the terroir. Nicole and Valerie are committed to producing wines that show their passion for their profession, their desire to sublimate the land of their ancestors. The house has developed an ultra-modern winery built with the sole aim of respecting tradition and terroir and producing the wine most in line with Nicole and Valerie’s initial idea, allowing each plot to be worked individually until the time of bottling; an important asset and one which distinguishes their unique efforts in the region.
Pierre Moncuit in Le Mesnil sur Oger, owns a vineyard of about 20 hectares, exclusively planted to Chardonnay. 15 hectares in Grand Cru, a little bit less than 5 hectares in Sezanne, and a few areas in Premier Cru, its Clos (which Nicole’s Daughter owns). The house didn’t want to open up to other grape varieties, preferring to continue the family tradition and work to enhance the historical grape variety of its terroir. Working exclusively with Chardonnay allows the house to devote its efforts to allow the Chardonnay grape to express itself beautifully. In recent years, the house has however, begun to harvest Pinot Noir in Ambonnay (Grand Cru) which is used in the production of its Rose Grand Cru.
With vines reaching an average age of 50 years, Moncuit favors quality over yield and continually seeks to extract all the nobility of these old vines. Cuvee Nicole Moncuit Vieilles Vignes (Old Vine) testifies to this philosophy. The Chetillons Cuvee is sourced from a 90-year old plot, which perfectly represents the historic anchor of the house in the vineyard. Many efforts are taken to preserve its heritage and character. The Pierre Moncuit portfolio also includes Cuvee Pierre Moncuit-Delos Grand Cru, Cuvee Hugues de Coulmet as well as numerous Vintage Grand Cru.
|Region||Champagne: The sharp, biting acidity, cutting through the richness; the explosive force that shatters the bubbles as they rise to the surface; the intense flavor and compelling, lively mouthfeel; these are all hallmarks of a good Champagne. Most wines are made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, but there are pure-Chardonnay variants and ones that blend only Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. As a result, most wines come with a feeling of familiarity, if not nostalgia. Each Champagne house has its own unique style, so different bottles of Champagne may not resemble each other outside of the core varietal strengths. The soil composition of the subregion is characterized by belemnite and chalk, which lets it absorb heat during the daytime and release it at night. This terroir helps create the feeling of airy, playful lightness of fine sparkling wine. |
These wines were originally marketed towards royalty, and you can feel a hint of that elusive blue-blood elegance and confidence while drinking one. A good Champagne carries you away like a hurricane carries small debris, and you can feel the powerful life force in each bubble even. The characteristic Champagne "pop" has become a staple at parties and celebrations around the globe - when you hear it, good times are right around the corner.
|Subregion||Cote des Blancs|
|Country||France: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world. |
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
|Type of Wine||Champagne: Nothing like a refreshing, vivacious glass of fine Champagne during a hot summer afternoon. Typically combining Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, each Champagne house has a distinct style. Whether you want to sample a single varietal (such as the 100% Chardonnay blanc de blancs) or a tasteful blend, no region can compete with Champagne.|
|Varietal||Champagne Blend: The Champagne blend is one of the most distinctive styles of winemaking in the world. This illustrious blend of grape varietals hails from northeastern France, in the winegrowing region of Champagne. The magical combination of varietals perfectly marry to the terroir, climate and topography of the region, creating a sexy, seductive and fascinating sparkling wine that is synonymous with success and celebration. |
The primary grape varietals cultivated in Champagne and most used for blending are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. In fact, there are seven permitted grape varieties in the Champagne AOC (controlled designation of origin) though the other four are so rarely used they are often forgotten (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc Petit Meslier and Arbane). The three grape varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier account for about 99% of the region’s plantings. Chardonnay is planted to 10,117 hectares, Pinot Meunier is planted to 10,521 hectares while the most widely planted, Pinot Noir, covers around 12,950 hectares.
Chardonnay brings crisp and refreshing nuances to the effervescent wine blend. When used as a single-variety offering, the wines are named Blanc de Blancs, and account for only around 3% of all Champagne bottlings. Pinot Noir is the staple in Champagne blends and interestingly, is planted in more hectares in Champagne than its ancestral home of Burgundy. It is one of just two allowable red grapes in the region. Pinot Noir brings body and mouth-filling structural texture to the blend. When used as a single-variety its creation is called Blanc de Noirs (white wine made from black-skinned grapes). Pinot Meunier, the other red grape permitted in Champagne brings red berry flavors and balances the overall blend. Though historically a blending grape, 100% Pinot Meunier Champagne wines are becoming increasingly popular.
Champagne has privileged environmental influences that give the wines produced here specific, unique characteristics that are often imitated but never duplicated. Its northern location, rugged climate, distinctive soil type and hillside vineyards makes Champagne terroir the only one of its kind. The first distinguishing factor is that Champagne enjoys a dual climate influenced by oceanic currents and continental winds. The oceanic currents help to keep the temperatures cooler, while the continental influence brings precipitation which are both essential for quality grape production.
Terroir is the second major component to the success of the grapes of Champagne to grow and prosper. It is composed mostly limestone (75%) chalk and marl with a limestone subsoil. The fissured medium provides good drainage, promoting the health and development of the vines. Each soil type is important to the stages of development. The chalk in Champagne consists of granules of calcite formed from fragile marine shells and micro-organisms. This highly porous compound assists in water movement into the root system. The limestone, being less porous allows the right amount of water to be collected while restricting erosion. Marl is just as important and contains highly rich minerals which allows the growth of berries with intense flavors.
The third distinguishing factor is the gift of Champagne’s natural landscape where the rugged and hilly terrain greatly assists in water drainage and root growth. The average gradient is around 12% with some of the slopes reaching grades as steep as 59%. The higher elevations receive greater sunlight than lower elevations at the same latitude. This feature alone creates diverse micro-climates within the region allowing grapes grown in different locations and at different Champagne houses to have unique characteristics.
The varietals of Champagne, the terroir of the region along with the oceanic and continental climatic influences come together to create one of earth’s most breathtaking wine styles. From the many styles and offerings, Brut (dry, raw or unrefined) to rose, vintage to non-vintage, Champagne blends offer to the world a euphoric, effervescent experience that cannot be matched.
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