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December 26, 2008

NV Maurice Vesselle, Champagne a Bouzy Grand Cru Brut Cuvee Reservee

I'm making torrone today because I can't learn how to make apple pie. It's easier than torrone--cutting apples and putting them in a pan with sugar, compared to whipping cream, egg whites, and cooking sugar to exactly 248 degrees Farenheit. But after all the coring and peeling, I inevitably eat half the apples, always a blend of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. That's exactly where this wine puts me--no, not the common Bouzy taste of baked apple pie, but instead I, specifically, trying to have the patience to make one. I don't expect this much tartness from Bouzy, famous for its 100% grand cru pinot noir. While cold, all you taste are green apples, golden apples, apple apples, apples, and lemon as tart as the greatest of young, blanc de blancs. In a few years, you'd think, it might be rich and custardy. But don't let this wine fool you. What seems like great chardonnay is mostly underripe, cold-feremented pinot noir, and all the boldness you'd expect from Bouzy is lost here. Once warm, it gets more grapey, consistent, fuller bodied, with exotic aromas of smoky hazelnuts, ginger, and cracked coriander. It's a truly amazing smell that anyone who likes wine should commit to memory. Whatever this means, I think the M. Vesselle is too sophisticated to me. Which is to say, I get that it's tart on purpose. I get that its apple flavors show the terroir. And I get that this is better than 90% of the Champagne on the market. It has flavor, structure, and history. But it lacks a bit of grace, maybe the one trait Bouzy gets a pass on, but still. It's hard around the edges. And I want it to go somewhere, from the stray pieces of fresh green apple to the oxidized pieces sitting on the counter. From pie to torrone. Something richer, more hedonistic. Not that all Champagne should be that way, but something in this gorgeous bottle demands it. It wants to change. I would throw you out my window if it meant to set you free, watch you take flight.


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