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December 29, 2008

NV Michel Turgy, Champagne a Mesnil sur Oger Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cuvee Speciale Vieilles Vignes

This old vines Turgy Champagne is a completely different animal than the regular bottling, and that animal may be a dove. While it's up front with flavors of green apple and drawn butter, the joy of this wine is in its grace, which is calming to the point of being religious. What seems first like a flatness in the midpalate is actually a place to put more flavor, as the unsweetened cream, marzipan, mineral water, and bearnaise flavors ultimately have somewhere to go. It tastes rectangular, which is to say, there's nothing three-dimensional about it, but each sip has shape and is recognizable. No one would ever think this wasn't good, but few may consider it great. I need all of half an hour to finish the bottle. The texture and nuance you get is rarely seen even in vintage Champagne. In fact, I haven't commonly found this much balance in anything but a 1990. That vintage is what this non-vintage comes closest to, hanging on to some structure while letting you in on the characteristics that make not just old blanc de blancs Champagne great, but in fact chardonnay in general. That's this wine's most impressive trait. It's first chardonnay, then Champagne, then Mesnil sur Oger. Terroir in reverse, it gets that nothing is more important than the grape, not the man, not even the land.


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