Chartogne-Taillot is a father-son operation is located in the village of Merfy, north-west of Reims, with just 12 hectares of vineyard in Merfy and the adjacent villages. The soils in this region are mixed layers of sand and clay, a contrast to the chalky soils of Reims. As a result, wines tend to be plumper, rounder-bodied. Merfy was a battle frontline during WWI and a lot of the vineyard area was obliterated. This meant decades spent redeveloping, rejuvinating, and it is still playing catch up to the other Champagne regions. The Chartogne family is at the forefront of that movement, producing small batches of single-cepage single vineyard wines. Cuvée Sainte Anne is this fine house’s non-vintage blend, and although Pinot Noir tends to be the dominant varietal, for this blend based on the 2010 vintage (70% 2010, 30% reserve wine), it is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.
Distributed by Eurocentric Wine Imports, $35/375ml. This is a great aperitif champagne, a grower champagne that exemplifies the solid quality aside from the big houses. How good is this? I had picked this as the celebratory drink for my student’s PhD oration. It pours a lovely golden straw colour, fine beads. Fresh delicate nose, an initial saltish ocean spray, preserved lemons, ripe white peach and fresh almond meal. A full-bodied Chardonnay driven wine, the mousse is slight, the salivating fruit push to the front. Lots of white peach, orange peach acidity, slight lemon rind. A very interesting profile remarkably different from the more standard popular Champagnes. AND, I think this Champagne would sit quite comfortably on most lunch and dinner tables, because of the savoury component, it can be paired with oysters kilpatrick, cajun chicken salad, beef sandwiches or swordfish curry. Drink now – 2017. 93.