Monday, January 10, 2011

Aubrey 2003 Le Nombre d’Or Champagne

This bottle of bubbly was opened with friends on New Year’s Day. It was a recommendation by Austin Beeman of Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee. He had been spotlighting grower Champagne, traditional French sparkling wine made in small batches by family-owned vineyards.

The Aubrey 2003 Nombre d’Or is very dry – quite a contrast to the sweet sparkling wine we had on New Year’s Eve as part of a murder mystery dinner event in Sylvania. At the murder mystery the top magician in the world – the Great Scott – had been bumped off. The Aubrey Champagne was a bit of a mystery too.

The Aubrey wine is from northern Champagne, in the village of Jouy-lès-Reims. Aubrey is of the more adventurous producers. It uses the classic grapes of Champagne — Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier — as well as more obscure varieties like Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Pinot Gris. When I was picking up the wine, which was about $65, I mentioned to Austin that I hadn’t had Pinot Meunier before. He pointed out my error. Pinot Meunier is used in most Champagne, so I’ve had it before and you probably have too. The Arbanne and Petit Meslier were new for me.

The wine is bone dry and has an earthy quality. I was hoping for some creaminess but didn’t find any. It did have nice, fine bubbles and light, atmospheric body.

The Aubrey is a grower Champagne, made by winemakers from family vineyards. Producers of grower Champagne might make several thousand bottles whereas the big Champagne houses will be producing millions.

This was a tasty and different bottle. I’d recommend exploring the world of grower Champagnes when you are next popping the cork on bubbly. Do use caution. Even though I was holding onto the cork when opening, I almost blew a hole in my neighbor’s ceiling!

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