Vintages: 2010 (50%) & 2009 (50%). Disgorged: December 2017. Time on lees: 70 months. The emblematic wine from Francis Egly and the one that first brought him international acclaim. It was Michel Bettane, the influential French critic, who encouraged Egly to bottle this single vineyard wine separately and the first vintage was in 1989. As you may be aware, this wine was once the product of a single vintage, but this is no longer the case. Egly has learnt through experience that he is better able to express this magnificent terroir more completely when he blends two vintages together. This cuvée was bottled in 2011 and 50% of the assemblage is from the 2010 vintage and 50% from 2009. 100% vinification and ageing was in barrique as always. Dosage is 3g/l. The fruit comes from a single, brilliant terroir known as Les Crayères, and the vines here were planted in 1946 (so now 70 years old). The soil is hardly 30cm deep, then it’s chalk, hundreds of metres down – hence the name of the site (craie is French for chalk). The old vines are deeply rooted in this chalk subsoil, giving the wine its classic, mineral vibrancy, woven through the powerful, textured Pinot fruit. The concentration here is a product of the ripeness that both the site and its ancient vines naturally deliver. Les Crayères is situated mid-slope with a full south facing exposure, not far from the Estate’s cellars. The wine that results is both a tribute to the greatest sites of Ambonnay and to the Egly-Ouriet Domaine. Houses that emphasise blending may consider a 100% old vine Ambonnay like this to be too rich. Egly gives it to you pure and powerful. It’s a unique wine, built for food and for ageing. Always better a year or two after landing, this is already drinking wonderfully well. Like all Egly Champagnes, it’s a wine first and a Champagne second. A unique expression of a singular terroir, and truly one of the greatest wines of the region.
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