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We are very proud to feature a new selection of the extraordinary Champagnes of André Beaufort! Primarily available at natural wine shops in France, Italy and Japan (and on the wine list at Noma), we are happy to bring 9 exceptional examples to New York, all of which show the intense "vinosity" and complexity found in the Beaufort Champagnes - products of superb farming, living soils, extended sur-lie aging and the commitment of the Beaufort family to create true Champagnes of terroir. Please note that although the Beaufort wines normally receive a dosage of approximately 6 to 10 grams per liter, two of today's offerings are Brut Nature, and all have been recently disgorged. Quantities are extremely limited, especially for the 1996 Ambonnay and 1996 Polisy.
Domaine André Beaufort has farmed organically since the early 1970s and, to our knowledge, the only grower rivaling Beaufort in long-time organic vine-growing in Champagne is Vincent Laval in Cumières. The philosophy of organic winemaking has been passed along to the younger Beaufort generation, with Réol and Constant primarily in charge. In an attempt to reduce the use of copper and sulfur in the vineyards (the two treatments against oidium and mildew that are allowed under organic viticulture), the Beauforts have devised various homeopathic remedies to treat the vines. Vinifications at Beaufort are generally 8-10 months long and fermentation always takes place with native yeasts. Even in years when the yeasts are “lazy,” the Beauforts prefer to allow the wine to go through its various stages of natural fermentation than to inoculate. Sulfur is added only at disgorgement and is present in moderate quantities, if at all - many vintages are produced totally without added sulfites, a rarity in Champagne.
As we know from ample experience, environmentally responsible farming, native yeasts, and minimal sulfur additions are not enough to make great wine. What we find as we taste Beaufort’s Champagnes is that they are quite distinct, delicious, and compelling in their expression of both the terroir of Ambonnay, where the Domaine is based, and Polisy in the Aube, where Jacques Beaufort planted Pinot Noir vines in the 1960s. The house style is broad, earthy, and rich, and the Beauforts remain straunchly true to their house style. Dosages may not be hip in some circles, but they help the aging process, and Beaufort maintains extensive stocks of older vintages, all aged on the lees and freshly disgorged.
Please join us at Racines starting at 6pm on Tuesday, May 14th, to taste six of these great Chapagnes: NV (2015) Polisy Brut Réserve Nature, 2010 Ambonnay Brut GC, 2009 Ambonnay Brut Grand Cru, 2008 Polisy Brut, 2002 Polisy Brut Nature and 1996 Polisy Brut. Six half-pours, $75. Ten seats only, for reservations cal Racines at 212-227-3400 or email email@example.com
The new Beaufort Polisy Reserve Brut Nature NV is based on the 2015 vintage and was disgorged in August of 2019. The Polisy NV Brut Nature is a lean, racy expression of the Kimmeridgian limestone of Polisy. The nose is cool-toned and faintly herbal with aromas of green apple, lime zest, and wet stone. The palate is steely and focused, with a prominent mineral character giving way to taut structure and a compelling savory character on the brisk, chiseled finish. I'd love this with crudo, ceviche, or a platter of briny Beausoleil oysters. John McIlwain
We're fans of the Champagnes of Beaufort for a number of reasons. The farming at this historic Domaine is impeccable and the winemaking is classical and refreshingly old school. The 2015 base Ambonnay Grand Cru in handy half bottle is a pocket-sized example of Beaufort's distinctive character. Disgorged Sept 2019.
Our new shipment of the 2008 Polisy Brut was disgorged in October of 2018. 2008 continues to delight, even 11 years after the harvest. The current disgorgement of the Polisy has a pale yellow robe, fine bead, and soft mousse. The nose is soft and pretty offering aromas of golden apple, acacia, lemon curd and apple blossom. The mid-weight palate is bright and brisk on attack, with flavors of Macintosh apple, bergamot, and green tea giving way to a fine core of minerality lending focus. This has good length and energy on a lifted and expansive finish. This is very good with vibrant fruit and nascent aged flavors knitting elegantly. A fine effort from the Beauforts! John McIlwain
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical yet laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium-bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in June 2018 after 15 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
Tasted in January 2017 at the estate. Complex aromas of lychee, candied pear, citrus, beautiful palate of yellow fruits, minerals, citrus, caramel with fabulous length. (This shipment disgorged in July 2017)
This is classic Beaufort: balanced, rounded and finely filigreed with a judicious dosage. In truth, the 2009 Ambonnay Grand Cru tastes very dry for a Brut, closer to an Extra Brut in style. It shows a burnished golden yellow in the glass, adorned by a finely beaded and generous mousse. The nose offers notes of brioche, cardamom, cinnamon, roasted chestnuts, white flowers, and honeysuckle. The palate is powerful and broad, accented with aromas of Cortland apples, apple pie, and nutmeg that lead to a lingering, herbal finish. The 2009 Brut shows the pedigree of its Ambonnay Grand Cru fruit. It's delicious now, but it also has real aging potential. (Lot #09A. Disgorged Sept 2019.)
For those of a classical bent who prefer not to shop at the big Champagne houses, André Beaufort is a wonderful alternative. Longtime organic farming and extended lees-aging produce rich wines of uncommon detail and complexity. The 2010 Ambonnay offers aromas of white flowers, orange peel, bergamot, and chalk on the nose. Bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and a fine line of sapid minerality on the supple and rich palate. This shows a fine interplay between power, tension, and a suave, supple finish. This is one heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged June 2019) John McIlwain
With all its nuance and detail, this 23-year-old Champagne has the potential for wide appeal. On the edges it shimmers a more bright golden yellow with a burnished golden color, speckled by a fine and discrete mousse. The nose offers aromas of honeysuckle, Granny Smith apples, hazelnuts, chestnuts, vanilla, and smoky tones. The palate is round, circular, and weighty with aromas of lemon verbena and wisteria before a mineral, singing finish. This combines so many of the best qualities of Beaufort's Champagnes : strikingly nuanced aromatic detail, along with a gracefully powerful palate and a resounding finish. (Lot #96A. Disgorged August 2019.)
Based on the 2015 vintage, disgorged in January, 2019. The Beaufort NV Ambonnay offers aromas of stone fruit, apple skin, and a faint toastiness from the lees aging. The palate, though ripe—this is Ambonnay, after all—has a brisk acidity and drive to lend energy to the red-fruited, concentrated palate. There’s a fine mineral core here buoying the rich fruit and a fine succulence on the savory and persistent finish. Certainly appealing now, but given a few months/years in the cellar for the dosage to knit, this should emerge with greater complexity still. John McIlwain