Roger Brun Cuvée La Pelle 2012
From the smallest of growers through to the Chef de Caves of the Champagne monoliths, every winemaker knows his or her best plots of fruit. In the case of Roger Brun, it is one tiny plot of Pinot Noir from the family’s holdings on a South facing slope near Ay; destined for their flagship, Cuvee La Pelle.
Vinified in small old Oak casks, the wine is giving the oxidative start to its journey akin to the great wines of Krug and Bollinger, the latter being one of the best-known stars of the Grand Cru commune of Ay. The wine is an unpretentious yet opulent powerhouse, one of the most mouth-filling, layered and complex wines I’ve tried of late.
Where other Blanc de Noirs’ often lack linear, driving acidity and tension (in the absence of Chardonnay), there’s a ‘guitar-string’ line of refreshing crunchiness (NB: 3g/L dosage) to tie in the richer, more robust notes of burnt orange, fig, toasted bread and red currants. A mouth-filling, layered wine evolves to show alluring exotic notes of quince, anise and Chanterelle after being open for 20 minutes. Effervescent, explosive bubbles are replaced with a more subtle, caressing mousse. The 2012 Champagne Vintage is much-anticipated and it appears the hype is well deserved if this is anything to go by. The Roger Brun Cuvée La Pelle 2012 is beautifully made and a reverent nod to the harvest, the place and the Brun family.
A Champagne for thinkers…….. and I hypothesise, the ‘drink of choice’ at the family’s most special occasions. A tongue-in-cheek “caution notice” on the back-label reads, “Warning: a powerfull (sic) champagne to pair with cheese, truffles and not to pop for a first Rendez-vous”. Personality inside and outside the bottle makes this the complete package.
La Pelle is without question, the finest wine made by Philippe Brun and at only marginally more expensive than the Cuvée des Sires, its formidable stablemate (94 points), exceptional value for its price tag too.
Steve Dundon, @Champagne XS