00 Jean Milan, Champagne Oger Grand Cru "Terres de Noel" Blanc de Blancs Brut
It's an honor to drink Champagne from a winemaker whose house style is apparently "perfection." That's the flavor profile of the 2000 Terres de Noel, Jean Milan's tete de cuvee bottling, one of the best vintage Champagnes of the new millennium. Seen from any side, it's the height of chardonnay, whose 65-year-old grand cru vines make up 100% of this single-vineyard wine. It's no coincidence that most of the vines face southeast here, much like Burgundy's Cote d'Or, soaking up the sun, but otherwise kept lean by the sporadic chill. It's both richer at nine years than the brilliant 1995 was at 11--lush with the frothy flavors of golden delicious apples, inch-thick San Francisco sourdough, and Snakebite cocktail--and more mature, with the nutty biscuity aroma that, basically, I live for. I want you to run to this wine. Buy extra glasses, as you'll drop several in astonishment, and pay whatever taxes, shipping, or antiquated restaurant markups necessary. Pour it. Drink it straight from the bottle. Or Christen your newborn child with it. I don't care what you do. But the way you'd at least look at the Eiffel Tower if you visited Paris, or the pyramids in Egypt, you must try Milan's Champagne if you consider yourself a resident of great wine. It's a landmark of the region that either reminds us where we are or how much farther we must go.