From: Champagne, France
Varietals: 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir
Tasting Notes: Initial aromas are very complex and awake the senses. After a few moments, with much of delicacy, subtle notes of flowers and fresh fruit are married with more subtle lemony flavors. The nose is both elegant and powerful, which indicates a wine of great complexity and a beautiful harmony. Once in your mouth, flavors of butter, crème brûlée and spices blossom awaken taste buds. It is a gourmand and generous wine with an exceptional freshness. After several minutes of tasting, the complexity and the scarcity of this wine crescendo, with a dominant citrus fruit and some salinity on the finish: a real aromatic symphony.
"Made from 80% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir, the 2014 Champagne Coeur de Cuvée Brut is custardy with crème brûlée, lemon curd, brioche, and green apple. The mousse is creamy and round, with salted lemon on the finish. Drink this lovely, decadent-slanting wine over the coming two decades." –Jeb Dunnuck, 94 points
About. Vilmart & Cie. traces its history back to 1890, when it was founded by Désiré Vilmart in the village of Rilly-la-Montagne, in the western end of the Grand Montagne de Reims. From the beginning, Vilmart & Cie has always been a récoltant-manipulant, making wines exclusively from estate-owned vines. Today, Laurent Champs represents the fifth generation of his family to oversee the domaine.
Most of Vilmart & Cie's holdings are in the Premier Cru of Rilly-La-Montagne, with a few small blocks in neighboring Villers-Allerand. Laurent farms a total of 11 hectares with organic methods; his father practiced biodynamic viticulture and Laurent continues in this vein.
Like many of the villages in this area, Rilly faces north. This is the same exposition of Verzenay and Mailly Grand Crus, for example. However, the holdings of Vilmart are in a privileged place. Laurent has a large block of vineyards on a south-facing hillside on the other side of the village, in the direction of Montbré, which rises to the north. This vineyard is called Blanches Voies. The first-run juice pressed from a due south section of 65-year-old ungrafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines planted here go into this Coeur de Cuvée ("heart of the cuvée") bottling: Laurent's top wine. Vilmart’s other parcels are in the south west facing vineyard of Hautes Grèves, another vineyard with both Chardonnay and Pinot planted.
Laurent ferments and ages all his wines in oak: large 2200–5500-liter foudre and demi-muid for the NV wines, and a combination of smaller barrique and demi-muid for vintage wines like this one. Malolactic fermentation is always blocked, giving the wines a crisp acidic structure coupled with the richness of the fermentation and aging regimen. Vilmart’s wines are at once ripe and structured, perfectly walking the line between hedonism and austerity, expertly balanced, and always exceptional.
"Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region." –Peter Liem, champagneguide.net
"This is one of Champagne's top estates, and the wines reviewed here come warmly recommended." –Willam Kelley, robertparker.com
"These are majestic wines that no one who loves fine champagne will want to be without." –Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
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