NV Guy de Forez Champagne Tradition Brut
Region: Aube < Champagne < France
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, Terra Vitis ecological certification; Portlandian and Kimmeridgian limestone soils, aged in stainless steel with 9 grams per liter of dosage; low added SO2 at bottling
Winemaker: Sylvie and Francis Wenner
I love Champagne but I don’t drink it that often because it’s too freaking expensive – I get my bubble fix year-round from quirky and affordable Pet’Nats. But this time of year I crave the real deal, so I made it my mission to find a great organic grower Champagne that didn’t break the bank. This Pinot-based beauty might be one of the best I’ve had – and is definitely one of the best values. It’s from the village of Riceys in the Aube (one of the five main regions of Champagne), just a few kilometers from the border of Burgundy, where the soil more closely resembles that of Chablis than the rest of Champagne. Sylvie and Francis Wenner are the third generation to run the family estate, with vineyards that Sylvie’s grandfather planted back in the 50’s. They were one of the first wineries in the region to champion sustainability and farming without chemicals, and have taken it a step further, working as advocates for the government’s Ecophyto plan to reduce chemicals in farming practices throughout France. Close your eyes and savor this wine. There is so much red fruit on the palate that you’d swear it was a Brut rosé. Elegant and delicate, with stunning minerality, ample creaminess and excellent acidity. This is a very small production wine to begin with, and only a tiny amount makes it into the US. Grab it while you can, to ring in the new year, or a random Friday night. At this price point, one can afford to drink Champagne when the mood strikes.