A rainy and relatively quiet June afternoon coincided nicely with an invitation from Boutique Wines to the launch of Brimoncourt Champagne in Ireland. The venue was Pichet Restaurant,looking good after a revamp about a year ago. The warm welcome from Johnny and Phil from Boutique Wines, as well as Jeremy from Pichet lifted my spirits considerably! A glass of chilled Brimoncourt chased away the remaining rain clouds.
Brimoncourt Brut Regence NV has a lot to say for itself. In a 2016 Jancis Robinson NV panel tasting, it scored 16.5/20, only pipped by Krug, Bollinger, Ruinart and Charles Heidsieck. Sommelier Diogo Veiga explained that it owes its success to a high proportion of Chardonnay (80%) in the blend. Moreover, it is sourced from some of the most premium Grand Cru and premium Cru vineyards in the Côtes de Blancs, normally reserved for Vintage cuvees. As Johnny McMorrogh pointed out, “it’s a Grand Cru Champagne at an everyday price.”
It’s also matured for three years on lees, similar to top-rated Grand Marques. Another point of difference is its low dosage, at 9g sugar per litre, as opposed to the typical 11-12g. 25% of the blend comes from reserve wines from 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The result is to my mind, a wine lover’s champagne – crisp, beautifully floral and fruity, with a distinctly drier finish than its peers, and leaning towards wheat crackers and buttery brioche. Fine elegant, persistent bubbles are another hallmark.
Brimoncourt Rosé NV relies on quite a high proportion of Pinot Noir in the blend (40%). This Rosé is made by blending red wine from the village of Bouzy. It’s an extremely stylish pale pink, extremely fruity (redcurrant, red cherry), with notes of rose petal. It’s distinctly dry throughout and on the finish. Their biggest customer last year was the French President – if it’s good enough for him…! Diogo characterises it as a gastronomic Rosé, perfect for Chaource, Brie de Meaux, cherry macarons, as well as game birds.
Brimoncourt Blanc de Blancs NV represents just over 10% of production. It’s wonderfully feminine, with peach and white flower aromas; very minerally, chalky and less biscuit on the palate (it’s made from cooler villages in the northern Côtes de Blancs). Again, a connoisseur’s choice.
The story of Brimoncourt is one of vision, relationships and tenacity. Alexandre Cornot, former Army officer and Lawyer, returned to his native Champagne to help out a friend who had taken over a print factory. It just happened to be the print house which produced champagne labels for all the producers. Saving the factory, and many jobs, he then bought the building, and set about sourcing producers who would supply him with top quality grapes. His reputation preceded him, and over two years, was fortunate to find partners in some of the most prestigious villages. Brimoncourt Champagne is now found all over the world, wherever smart wine drinkers enjoy wine.
Curious oenophiles might want to know what a giraffe has to do with Brimoncourt…. Giraffes never drink alone, and so it is with Brimoncourt – best enjoyed with friends. Brimoncourt is currently available in Donnybrook Fair, La Touche Wines4U, Blackrock Cellar, Corkscrew, with more discerning stockists to follow, no doubt. You can also enjoy it in Beaux Lane restaurant. Brimoncourt Brut Regence retails at about €50, the Rosé NV is about €55, and Blanc de Blancs NV about €70 – very fair prices for artisan wines.
The rainy afternoon became brightened further, as I met with a number of former students there, all honing their wine tasting skills over a glass of very fine champagne indeed.