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December 30, 2008

00 Marguet Pere et Fils, Champagne a Ambonnay Grand Cru Brut

In a lovely coincidence, the 2000 Marguet Pere et Fils from the grand cru pinot noir-heavy region of Ambonnay, is almost a perfect combination between the Vesselle and Turgy wines I had earlier this week. It makes me think back to when I first started drinking wine. My first true Champagne was a 1990 Salon. Yeah, so you see how this all began. And from that moment on, I was convinced that pure chardonnay (like Salon) was the whole point of Champagne. Not even Krug, with its healthy dose of pinot meunier could convince me otherwise. But the more I drink and find wines like this, I see how much richness pinot noir brings to Champagne. Perhaps chard is the truest expression. It's a flimsy grape under any circumstance--the boneless, skinless chicken breast of wine--and freely yields to terroir and house style. I suspect there's a lot of it in here, given the house's southeast-facing slopes. But adding a little pinot noir shows the true art of blending Champagne, and Marguet Pere et Fils' 2000 is a hallmark, up front with rustic, classically French flavors of toffee, gianduja, Meyer lemon zest, and caramel-covered apples (with broken sticks from the old Affy Tapple factory off Clark and Touhy in Chicago, to be precise). Almost two hours later, the glass grows fruitier, reminiscent of the Egly-Ouriet wines from this same region, full of tomato broth, honey, plum jam, and purple grape flavors that take me back to being 10-years-old, pretending to play baseball, sucking on a gumfull of Big League Chew. Anyone who likes Veuve Clicquot would love this wine. It is a rich, dynamic, and moving Champagne that holds its own against every single bottle in its price point.


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