John Paul Kaminga
Tiny Bubbles: Marie Courtin's a Big Deal
In 2005 Dominique embarked on a rare journey in Champagne, focusing exclusively on the production of single-vineyard, single-variety, single-vintage, zero dosage Champagnes. All of the Marie Courtin wines come from a tiny 2.5-hectare estate that is farmed biodynamically and harvested by hand. The energy of these wines is astounding, with pure fresh flavors that few in the region can match. If you're looking for smoky, toasty, nutty autolysis, look elsewhere, the Champagnes of Marie Courtin are all about gorgeous fruit, herbs and flowers. We offer two wines today:
Marie Courtin Resonance 2018 - $64
100% Pinot Noir from the top of the slope, where the soil is very poor. Fermented and raised in stainless steel tanks before secondary fermentation. Nervy and tense, with beautiful citrus, herb and white flower notes, and a very dry, bright and stony finish.
Marie Courtin Efflorescence 2015 - $85
100% Pinot Noir from the bottom of the slope, where the soil is deeper, and the grapes make a fuller and more powerful wine. Fermented and raised in neutral barrels before secondary fermentation and left longer on the lees in bottle before disgorgement. This is very fresh and tense, but here the fruit is more lush and diverse, with red cherry and plum notes to accent its citrus and herb notes, as well as a plush creaminess on the mid-palate. The finish is very dry and fresh, full of crisp crunchy fruit notes and beautifully integrated saline and chalky nuances. At a recent tasting some found it fruity, others herbal, I loved its depths and contrasts. This will be amazing with the right food, I'm thinking mushroom risotto, duck or sashimi, but the possibilities are endless.
Marie Courtin Efflorescence 2014 1.5L - $188
From a cool vintage, this has a lot more potential than the 2015, and in magnum I expect it will be worth following at least another 5 years, if not a decade or more. Out of a 750ml bottle tasted this summer, the 2014 Efflorescence was gorgeous, with ethereal floral and herbal notes backed by a deep core of citrus and ripe stone fruits. It was beautiful on the first sip, but after a long tasting and dinner there was a bit left in the bottle, and though the bubbles had all but disappeared, the wine had blossomed into something extraordinary. The experience made me wish I'd decanted it first thing...
Decanting Champagne is something perhaps left to the bravest among us. The practice has notable proponents and detractors. You might get a lot out of decanting Champagne if you choose the right wines and go about it methodically. Chill your bottle very well, place a decanter in ice, tip it so that when you pour the wine you minimize splashing and preserve maximum bubbles. Yes, you will lose some fizz, but you may get a lot more out of the wine. Risky business, I know. Decanting a Marie Courtin is not required, but they are serious wines, and you could consider the notion. Or don't even. I may be crazy ;)
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