Comte Hugues de La Bourdonnaye
Some say Champagne is overrated, others swear by it as the ultimate expression of sparkling wine. All I know is that Comte Hugues de La Bourdonnaye is hella good and is still within a reasonable price range. With its deeper, golden color, high minerality, and full and developed aromas of brioche, yellow apple, orange peel, honey, and hazelnut it stands out in the crowd. This is a Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) brut nature (dry, dry, dry) Champagne from the winemaker Hugues who focuses on achieving the cleanest expression of both the technique, grape, and terroir. You could call it natural Champagne which is not super common. This is due to no addition of liqueur d’expédition after disgorgement since the careful blending process of different batches of aged wine makes it possible to not add anything else and still get this amazing result. Also, no sulfites are used during the winemaking process.
All these things aside, it’s a delicious Champagne. The aromas and flavors are so pronounced that you can easily let it shine on its own, maybe throw some neutral salty chips in the mix but that’s it.
Disgorgement? All Champagne is made by the traditional method, this method entails a second fermentation in the bottle. Here the wine is bottled together with the leftover yeast particles from the first fermentation, also called lees. When the bottle aging is over you want to separate the wine from the lees, which is done by disgorgement. The lees have been riddled down slowly in the bottleneck, the neck gets frozen, and the cork is popped off together with the frozen lees. Ta-da: only wine left in the bottle.
Liqueur d’expédition? When the lees are popped out, you might want to add a little something to balance the wine, this is called dosage. Dosage is carried out by adding the liqueur d’expédition containing sugar, wine, or both to create the result you’re going for. The amount of sugar in the wine is written on the label, Brut Nature has 0-3 grams per liter (not by dosage but naturally), Extra Brut 0-6 grams per liter, and so on..
The short story
Color: medium gold
On the nose: brioche, yellow apple, orange peel, honey, hazelnut
Flavor profile: brioche, yellow apple, orange peel, honey, hazelnut, minerality
Winemaking: Traditional method, 7 years of bottle aging on the lees, 0 dosage
Price: 45 EUR