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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 12 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 9 to 10 grams per liter, a number of today's offerings are Brut Nature, and most have been disgorged for this shipment, in October 2016. Quantities are extremely limited, especially for the 1996 Demi-Sec and Rosé Doux.
"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 (nine in total), several of whom work within the family Domaine. (In fact, Amaury, second eldest, now runs the Domaine.) 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 (40mg/liter).
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. For the most part, Beaufort’s Brut Champagnes are dosed at 9-10 grams/liter of sugar. 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." (Sophie Barrett 2013)
For its striking blood orange/copper color and for its vinous character, Beaufort's 2010 Rosé is one of the most compelling Champagnes on our shelves. 100% Pinot Noir from Beaufort's Polisy vineyards, there are geographic and stylistic similarities to great Rosé des Riceys. Aromas of cherry compote, cinnamon, spearmint, and butterscotch give way to gingerbread and herbal notes. The palate is broad and balanced with a juicy core of cherries, tangerines, and red plums before a lengthy mocha and mulberry finish. One of Beaufort's best rosés to date! Tasting notes Jan 2017 "Absolutely super, in the end the wine of the night. Transparent, super light but dense and complex, long and unfolding in waves..." (Current stock disgorged June, 2017)
André Beaufort 2010 Polisy Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, disgorged in June, 2017. This is a youthful and brilliant Blanc de Noirs from Amaury Beaufort and family that is sensationally vinous and complex, reflecting the decades of organic farming and low yields at this extraordinary estate. The wine shows aromas of raspberry, peach, lime-flower, citrus, hazelnut and stone. The palate is ripe and firmly structured with citrusy acids enveloping red fruits, thistle and creamy lemon with stone, white fruit, floral and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a young and beautiful wine that will accompany a meal such as fish in sauce or chicken with morels, and of course delicious as an aperitif. Rich, but quite age-worthy, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
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 recently after 17 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
This bottling of the Beaufort NV Ambonnay Rosé is based on the 2011 vintage and was disgorged in July of 2018. Notes to follow.
(Multi-vintage 1992 - 1998, disgorged in 2012, 11% alc)
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.)
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
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!
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.)
Towards the end of the tasting my notes became minimal, but this wine rated an enthusiastic "Superb!" Forget your prejudice against demi-sec Champagnes, this wine is fantastically complex and delicious. The French wine publication “Le Rouge et le Blanc,” in their review of André Beaufort, offers an explanation of how dosage seems to help the wines develop: “The aromas, timid in their youth, finish by exploding with age and the sugar becomes like a support to the aromas.” Only a few bottles available – we urge you to try it! (Notes from Jan 2017: "Super, rich, no flaws, Nearly sweet, wonderful, rich, complex nose. Totally fresh, or at least not old or even aging...") (new inventory disgorged June 2017)
Growing grapes organically and biodynamically, in Champagne, involves accepting certain risks, but lees aging the resulting cuvée, for almost 26 years, is truly a vote of confidence for pristine vineyard work. Anyone willing to wait such a stretch of time for the appreciation of their wines deserves to be heralded, no matter how humble their nature. In this bottle, Jacques Beaufort offers us a sublime effort. Vibrantly golden, silver hued, and adorned by a very fine bead, the benefits of on-site aging and late disgorgement become fragrantly clear with aromas of lime blossom, finely chopped almonds, ginger spiced honey and apple pie. The palate is lifted by a core of minerality, which carries touches of Moro oranges and cream, towards a finish of a moment of silence for the graceful longevity of this remarkable Champagne. (Lot #90A. Disgorged 10/16.)
One of the continuing delights of selling the Champagnes of André Beaufort is tasting the recently disgorged back vintage wines. The balance between freshness and maturity is compelling (not to mention delicious). The 1998 Polisy Brut Nature offers bright red fruit, ripe apple, and toasty aromas which intermingle with the honeyed, burnished, oxidative notes of an aged Champagne. The mid-weight palate is deeply mineral, with great cut providing a sense of liveliness in relation to the savory and mature flavors derived from the long time spent sur lattes. At the table, this would elevate pan-roasted scallops, or if you are feeling extravagant make a sensational pairing with white truffles shaved over soft scrambled eggs. (Disgorged 09/16, Lot n. 1998P). John McIlwain