An incredible boutique Champagne

2008 Ayala, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France

2008 Ayala, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France (£49.95, ChampagneDirect.co.uk; £44.48, CambridgeWine.com).

I popped over to Champagne in the summer to attend the launch of Bollinger’s Galerie 1829 and La Réserve. A full write-up on this life-changing visit can be found on my website, to coincide with the publication of this piece.

I travelled out a day early to squeeze in another visit – Ayala, the incredible, boutique Champagne house, owned by Bollinger, and situated in the same village, Aÿ, as its parent company. I enjoyed a phenomenal tour and tasting with winemaker Caroline Latrive and her tiny team.

I am of the mind that Ayala is making some of the most individual and fascinating wines in the region and this newly released, 100% chardonnay wine, made from Grand Cru fruit sourced from the villages of Chouilly and Mesnil-sur-Oger, is a tour de force. With a relatively low dosage and six years spent on lees, it is an ultra-fine wine with serious depth and richness cut by searingly refreshing acidity.

The 2008 Ayala Blanc de Blancs will no doubt whet your palate for the release of the 2006 Cuvée Perle d’Ayala (about £95) in the New Year. I venture that this will be Ayala’s most vaunted release to
date, underlining the fact that the incredible renaissance of this historic Champagne house is all but complete.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).