From: Bouzy, Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Taste: The nose exudes a captivating bouquet of dried crushed rose petals with the earthy embrace of billowy minerals—an undercurrent of mandarin zest and citrusy freshness mingling with the subtle creaminess of crème fraîche. The aroma is complemented by a hint of apricot, light herbs, and a tantalizing dash of white pepper.
A crisp radish tension and the youthful exuberance of raspberry and strawberry notes characterize the palate. This spirited encounter unfolds further, revealing the delicate nuances of white peach, minty red apple, and a blossoming of white flowers.
On the finish, the wine segues into apple notes, adopting a more profound character with hints of apple skin. This gradually transitions into notes of fresh herbs and elegant white pepper spice that invigorates and showcases a silky medium body that still feels light and fresh.
“I was quite taken with the Vesselle Champagnes…Vesselle is based in Bouzy, right in the center of prime Pinot Noir country, where the wines are naturally ample and generous. Rich and vinous, the Vesselle Champagnes deliver considerable intensity and personality. This might very well be the finest range I have tasted here.” —Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
“From its delicate pink color to the lovely saturation of flavor, this traditional style of Champagne is consistently one of Delphine Vesselle’s most compelling wines. It’s a wine her father developed, to mimic the days when it would take longer for ripe grapes to reach their cellars in Bouzy, and the color of the pinot noir skins would begin to bleed into the juice of the grapes. Now, Vesselle leaves the ripe grapes to macerate for less than a day before pressing, then allows the juice to ferment on the ambient yeasts in stainless steel tanks. It develops a complex aroma with notes of oranges and strawberries, along with a textural grace that makes it easy to drink a lot of this wine.” –Wine & Spirits, 94 points
“The Jean Vesselle Oeil de Perdrix is bright and lively. TASTING NOTES: This wine exhibits aromas and flavors of dried earth and ripe strawberries. Try it with oven-baked, game birds.” –Wilfred Wong of Wine, 92 points (May 2022)
“Pale pink in color, this shows an expressive mix of passion fruit, white cherry, blood orange zest and dried thyme notes riding the lively mousse and backed by racy acidity. Zesty.” –Wine Spectator, 91 points
Pairing: This champagne would be so wonderful with the combination of fresh and savory that is the Radis Anchouaide at Le Caviste, one of our favorite spots in Seattle. With that in mind, we’re sharing Bryan Hunt’s recipe for Roasted Radishes With Anchovies, which was adapted for the New York Times by Melissa Clark.
About. For nearly 300 years, the Vesselle family has been tilling the chalky soils of Bouzy in the Grande Montagne de Reims, cultivating some of the village’s best-placed Pinot Noir vines. Delphine Vesselle is a perfect example of what the next generation of winemakers in Champagne is capable of. Trained in France as well as in South Africa and Australia, Delphine is steeped in both modern techniques and family tradition. After her father, Jean Vesselle’s, death in 1996, Delphine has preserved his memory by continuing the family tradition of making outstanding Champagne.
The family’s vineyards are planted to 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. Vines are cared for sustainably, according to lutte raisonée principles; they implement some organic practices to avoid chemical treatments, and vineyard rows are plowed to avoid the use of herbicides. The estate also uses solar energy and recycles rainwater to reduce its energy footprint.
The key to Bouzy’s greatness lies in its deep, chalky subsoil, which imparts intense fruit expression and great mineral complexity in its grand cru wines. Wines here combine a classic Champagne elegance with the signature Bouzy power, especially in wines like the estate’s ‘Oeil de Perdrix.’ French for ‘partridge’s eye,’ œil de perdrix refers to pale pink/orange-colored wines made from Pinot Noir with a very short period of skin contact for color extraction.
The orange-pink color of this "eye of the partridge" wine historically was the hue of much of the Champagne made in Bouzy in the nineteenth century. It gives us a taste of Champagne history, as the style was forgotten before winemaker Delphine’s father, Jean, discovered a few bottles of this old wine hidden in a wall and was astonished by the color and freshness.
This bottle was hand-harvested from 15-30 year old vines in and around the Grand Cru village of Bouzy. The grapes macerated briefly (less than 24 hours) to extract color before being pressed, and the base wine fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts. After the second fermentation, the wine aged for three years in bottle. Upon finishing, it received 6 grams per liter of dosage.
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