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First created in the 1988 vintage, the Vieilles Vignes de Levant Extra Brut is a vintage cuvee produced from the oldest Grand Cru vines in the village of Cramant- ranging from fifty to eighty year-old vines. Like the Terre de Vertus, it is a single vintage cuvée fermented in oak, rather than stainless steel, though in this case, it is a combination of large foudres and smaller Burgundy barrels that are used. The wine receives a very low dosage of two grams per liter prior to release.
This is a Champagne which should be tasted for its own qualities as an aperitif, to accompany poultry with morels, and this cuvée will happily stand its ground with dishes cooked in cream. It must be allowed time to open up, so that you can appreciate its power, complexity and exceptional length. It should be kept for two years (it will gain in depth) and much longer, even, if that’s how you like it
VINIFICATION and AGING: The grapes are pressed gently, the juices are clarified very slightly and then go directly into wood. The natural alcoholic fermentation (indigenous yeasts) and the malolactic fermentation begin spontaneously in the Stockinger casks and vats. The wines are matured on the lees during their first year, with no filtering or fining being carried out.
The tirage takes place in July. There’s no blending with other years – this is a vintage Champagne – and no blending with other terroirs – this is a single-parcel Champagne. The bottles are taken down into the coolness of the cellars and stacked on lattes, the second fermentation takes place and the maturation continues slowly for 7 or 8 more years.
Each bottle is disgorged by hand 6 months before being marketed. The dosage is very discreet so as to appreciate better this well-balanced and extremely long cuvée (2 g/l).
WINE ADVOCATE (Robert Parker) 96 points
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