A serious collection of sparklers
Matthew Jukes tastes no less than five Champagnes, including an eye-wateringly dry but insanely good value Extra Brut.
NV Legras & Haas, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Chouilly, Champagne, France
£39, Private Cellar, 01353-721999, PrivateCellar.co.uk
I met Jrme Haas a very long way from his home in the village of Chouilly, in Champagne's Cte des Blancs. Our chance encounter happened in La Morra, in Piemonte in northern Italy, while we were both tasting with the ever-engaging Silvia Altare, daughter of iconic Barolo pioneer Elio Altare. I grabbed his business card and he efficiently sent me his entire range to taste and, goodness me, what a serious collection of sparklers! I have no less than five to recommend, starting with the NV Tradition (£32). This is a jolly wine that balances his beloved chardonnay grape with 50% of pinots noir and meunier, and this gives it a welcome immediacy. NV Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (£36) sticks to the epic chardonnay found in Chouilly and it is a bargain with drama and chalkiness present in spades.
My featured Extra Brut uses no dosage, and this means it is eye-wateringly dry. It is awesome and an insane bargain for this level of build-quality. 2011 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millsim (£47) ramps up the power with a vintage wine and it is, again, 100% chardonnay and a fraction of the price of other wines of this class. Finally, 2012 Grand Cru Les Sillons (£70) is jaw-dropping, with a touch of oak, no fining or filtration, and more class than you find in all but a handful of the so-called Grandes Marques. Introduce yourself to these wines.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).