From: Moussy (Cotes D’Epernay), Champagne, France
Tasting Notes: It’s important to note that while Champagne José Michel is primarily known for making fruit-forward and friendly, world-class champagne based in Pinot Meunier, he (and now his grandson) has been working with Chardonnay from calcareous soils, only about 20-30% of vineyard plantings in the area for well over 60 years. One can surmise that even though this particular cuvée may be a newer one for this house, this wine's chalky minerality, finesse, depth, and nerve shine from those decades of work and attention to detail. Citrus fruits like lemon and a hint of grapefruit lead, with a slight lean toward rich lemon brioche/lemon bar and white fruit aromas. These initial impressions are balanced with breezy, ocean-esque feels in oyster shells and sea spray notes, all wrapped in an intensely impressive package that highlights the best of single- vintage, grower-producer blanc de blancs.
Pairing: Blanc de blancs champagnes naturally fit with seafood platters or oysters. Some recommend lobster for pairing vintage blanc de blancs, and while that would work here, I’d suggest saving that pairing for when you want to impress or when you need a balm for the week. Fresh, soft cheeses (try this with cheese from Champagne like Langres, Vignotte, or Chaource-it’s stunning), lemon chicken, fried foods in general, creamy pasta or risotto, sushi, or anything that leans toward salty, briny flavors will be *chef’s kiss* perfect. We’re sharing two recipes today, the first featuring Rotisserie chicken as the main ingredient and the second, Lobster Risotto, to highlight that you can have a delicious, decadent pairing without too much time or trouble.
About. José Michel made his first vintage in 1955 and thanks in part to his cellar of very old bottles of Pinot Meunier, he developed a cult following for his Champagnes. José passed away in 2019 and this “Maison de Tradition” which began in 1847 is now, seven generations later, run by José and Nicole’s grandson, Antonin. Antonin is brilliantly refining the work that José accomplished over six decades and developing his own ideas. As he says, “José and I agreed on practically everything”.
The Champagne house is located in Moussy, a small village just south of Epernay. The 7 hectares of vineyards are spread throughout a number of villages, both in the Cotes D’Epernay and in the Vallée de la Marne. The vineyard sights with a richer clay soil are planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The slopes which have a calcareous soil are planted to Chardonnay.
José Michel was the first in his family to plant Chardonnay which he did beginning in 1958. Fermentations are carried out in old oak casks or enameled steel vats and the wines go through a malolactic fermentation. José Michel is certified “Level 3” the top level of certification in Haute Valeur Environmentale. The Michels are a founding member of the group, “Tresors de Champagne” known as the “Special Club”
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