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We are very proud to feature a new selection of the extraordinary Champagnes of André Beaufort, featuring the beautiful 1998 Polisy and 1998 Grand Cru Ambonnay, just in time for the holidays!
New in this shipment is the 2019 Polisy Coteaux Champenois Rouge (36 btls!) and a new Brut Reserve wine from the 2016 vintage. All wines have been recently disgorged.
Primarily available at natural wine shops in France, Italy and Japan, we are happy to bring these exceptional Champagnes to New York. They all show the intense "vinosity" and complexity found in the Beaufort wines - products of superb farming, living soils, extended sur-lie aging and the commitment of the Beaufort family to create true Champagnes of terroir. The Beauforts converted to organic agriculture in 1971 and also avoid the use of copper sulfate in the vineyard, preferring to use essential oils and homeopathic preparations of their own creation. Vinifications at Beaufort are generally 8-10 months long and both fermentations take place with native yeasts. The wines go through the malo-lactic transformation and are not re-acidified. SO2 is used sparingly or not at all depending on the vintage.
The Beauforts produce Champagnes both in Ambonnay (Grand Cru) and in Polisy, with normally a blend of about 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. These are broad, full-bodied wines that benefit from extended sur-lie aging. "We keep our wines sur-lie as long as possible before release, so one can taste a Champagne of ten years of age with mature aromas, having conserved some traits of youth - thus, disgorgement is always recent." (Lot number and disgorgement date are always included on the back-label)
The Beaufort wines are remarkably different from most modern Champagnes, usually showing a softer mousse due to the wild-yeast fermentations, and always displaying an expression of fruit and mineral flavors one associates with a fine Burgundy. Quoting the French review, Bettane and Desseauve: “The natural expression of Beaufort's wines will remind older fans of the incomparable Champagne that prevailed before the adoption of industrial agriculture…”
Note: We recommend serving in a fairly large white wine glass, rather than a flute, in order to appreciate the complex aromas of these unique Champagnes.
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 December 2020.
A new bottling for us at the store. The label reads "Ambonnay" but in fact this extraordinary special cuvee of 2016 “Reserve” Brut is from Beaufort vines in the 1er Cru village of Hautvillers located in La Grande Vallée de Marne next door to Cumiéres, home of Vincent Laval. The robe is a pale peachy yellow hue. Fine bead. The effusive nose offers lovely aromas of apple blossom and stone fruit—white peach skin, nectarine, St Anne cherry. The palate is ample, ripe, and generous with gorgeous fruit underlain by a fine stony core and a long, juicy, lingering finish with just a hint of brioche on the back end. Really lovely out of the gate, but with such balance that we are eager to see what a few years in the cellar will do. One of the finest young Champagnes we’ve tasted from Beaufort and a true crowd-pleaser. (John McIlwain 12/21)
As with most vineyards from Beaujolais north to Champagne, 2014 was typified by uneven weather and a cool damp summer, but was saved in the end by a warm, dry September, producing bright, well balanced wines of moderate ripeness. The 2014 Ambonnay Brut, disgorged in October of 2021, boasts a super-fine bead and soft frothy mousse. The nose is redolent of dried flowers (chamomile), orange rind, and stone fruit with a briny top note. The palate is firm and concentrated, with flavors of pear skin, russet apple, and spices, underlain by a firm chalky core. And while this displays the power of the Ambonnay grand cru, this shows fine elegance nuance, with layers of mineral detail. Lovely juice, indeed! John McIlwain
Having missed our trip to France this year, we decided to bring in two vintages from Beaufort that we have not tasted recently, 2012 and 2014. The 2012 has warranted our attention. The robe is a pale golden yellow. The wine has a fine bead and soft foamy mousse. The nose offers aromas of apple blosom, Seville orange peel, and wet stone. The palate is ripe but chiseled, with savory russet apple peel, crushed herbs, evolving with air to offer flavors of salted plum and stone. As with other Beaufort Champagnes the character is vinous and mouth-filling and suited for the table. This shows excellent energy and persistence and beckons for pairing with salmon crudo, marinated roasted peppers, or salade Nicoise with perfectly ripe tomatoes. John McIlwain
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 Oct 2021.)
Our new shipment of the 2008 Polisy Brut was disgorged for this order in October 2021. 2008 continues to delight, even 13 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!
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort from the superb 2002 vintage - 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 Oct 2021 after 18+ years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
One of the continuing delights of selling the Champagnes of André Beaufort is tasting the recently disgorged back vintage wines, such as this 1998, disgorged for our order in October of 2021. The balance between freshness and maturity is compelling (not to mention delicious). The 1998 Polisy Brut: orange peel, lemon oil, iron and brine on the nose. Nori, preserved lemon, ginger, and limestone on the taut palate. This has an intriguing sapidity that seems at least as akin to Chablis whose soils it shares as anything from the Marne. Try this with smoked salmon on rye crisps with mustard butter as an apéro, or better yet a plate of Kumamoto and Olympia oysters. This is a satisfyingly savory Champagne for the table. . (Disgorged 10/21, Lot n. 1998P). John McIlwain
The 1998 Ambonnay Brut has long been a staff favorite and this disgorgement does not disappoint. Brillliant, golden yellow in color and showing a finely-beaded mousse, this offers one of the two most expressive aromatic profiles of this current Beaufort lineup. Aromas of Mirabelle plums, toasted hazelnuts, and crème brulée transition to notes of Jonagold apples, cinnamon, and wild flowers. The palate is generous and expansive and carries tones of brazil nuts, greengages, and irises that crescendo to a fine, zippy finish. This is complex and delicious Champagne! (Disgorged for this order in October, 2021)
(Arrives 5/16) The 2019 Beaufort Polisy Rouge Coteaux Champenois (stilll wine) is 100% Pinot Noir grown on the Kimmeridgian limestone of Polisy. 2019 is a vintage of beautiful ripeness, but showing only 11% alcohol thanks to the climat in Polisy and the Beaufort's superb organic farming. This is remarkable from the first sniff, with delicate red fruit mixed with an intense herbal component. Don't be scared, there is nothing green or stemmy here - it's minty and spicy and deeply delicious. As it sits in the glass the wine opens up and becomes fuller and earthier. It's fresh on the palate, almost salty, with a fine fragile mouthfeel and beautiful length. Wonderful wine. I suspect this will take on weight with time in the bottle too. Sam Ehrlich