Champagne Tarlant Cuvee Louis Brut Nature 2004  Front Label
Champagne Tarlant Cuvee Louis Brut Nature 2004  Front LabelChampagne Tarlant Cuvee Louis Brut Nature 2004  Front Bottle Shot

Champagne Tarlant Cuvee Louis Brut Nature 2004

  • JS96
  • JD94
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Created by the Tarlants' parents back in 1982, the prestige cuvée Louis is named for Benoît’s and Melanie’s great-great-great grandfather. Louis was the first to bottle Tarlant estate wine (in 1928) and the one who planted this 0.9 hectare of selection massale Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (in 1946-48). The lieu-dit is named Les Crayons in reference to its particularly chalky make-up and is a flat site near the Marne in the Tarlant home village of Oeuilly that yields a "river wine," as the Tarlants refer to it, of fuller body and richer character. The fruit was hand-harvested and gently pressed; the juice was fermented with natural yeasts in Burgundy barrel; and the wine was aged in barrel with no malolactic fermentation until bottling in 2005. Aged sur lattes until disgorgement with zero dosage in early 2021. Unusually, the 2004 is a vintage wine, the first time since 1996, and is now labeled "Cuvée Louis Tarlant."

Blend: 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. 

Critical Acclaim

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JS 96
James Suckling
What a grand champagne this is! Stunning depth of savory character, married to concentrated candied-citrus and dried-apricot notes, plus a slew of delicate spicy notes. Very long, driving finish. Still has so much life in it!
JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck

Begun by the Tarlant family’s great grandfather, the first release of this cuvée was in 1982. The 2004 Champagne Cuvée Louis Tarlant Brut is equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, from the bottom of the hillside with more impact from the river. The nose has rich notes of honeyed and fresh orchard fruits of apricot, yellow flowers, and sweet citrus, and there is a balance and interplay between power and elegance. The palate has the most concentration and length of the range, and it is structured and has a long finish. It unfolds with fresh brioche, smoke, and Mirabel plum. It is open and drinking well now, although it will certainly continue to develop over the next two decades.

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Champagne Tarlant

Champagne Tarlant

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Champagne Tarlant, France
In 1687, Pierre Tarlant began cultivating his first vineyards in Aisne. The family stayed put for almost 100 years before moving to the village of Oeuilly in 1780. At the turn of the 20th century, Louis Tarlant took over as head vigneron. His tenure would prove instrumental to shaping the family legacy, principally due to his involvement as mayor of Oeuilly in the rarely discussed Champagne Revolution, a tumultous movement that you have probably never heard of. Let us explain. By the early twentieth century, it had become increasingly common for the big Champagne houses, who even then had a strong-hold on commercialisation, to bring in fruit from all over France and even different countries (the farthest being Portugal!) to vinify and sell the wine as Champagne. When this became common knowledge amongst growers in the region, many were infuriated that such practices could be happening right under their noses. Through rigorous organisation, many villages managed to block off the points of entry of outside fruit, as well as skillfully organizing themselves to codify the Champagne region. As a result, Louis helped achieve worldwide recognition of the AOC in 1911 and contributed to the establishment of the AOC Champagne region in 1927. In the aftermath of these events, Louis swore never to sell a single grape to the big houses again, making Tarlant one of the first independent estates in the region (less than 10 existed at the time). Fast forward to today, and head vigneron Benoît Tarlant is the 12th generation working the land under his family name. Benoît is the real deal: his great understanding and respect of history, tradition and nature, coupled with his experimental, forward thinking tendencies have been the driving force of some truly next level, terroir-centric Champagnes. With his sister Mélanie joining the family business in 2003, things are more than ever a family affair. The estate consists of 14 hectares of vines within 31 lieu-dits of Pinot Noir (50%), Chardonnay (30%) and Pinot Meunier (20%), along with small amounts of Champagne's "forgotten"grapes" - Pinot Blanc, Arbane and Petit Meslier. From empirical observation, Benoît and Mélanie have singled out 63 parcels that they vinify individually each vintage, permitting unparalled precision in blending decisions for base and reserve wines, but also letting them highlight single vineyard expressions of their land. In the vines, chemicals are never used and biodiversity is prioritized. Because of the Marne's extremely diverse terroirs, Benoit adapts his viticultural approach parcel by parcel, using the soil, grape and micro-climate to guide him. While only contact treatments have been used for the past two generations, Benoît and Mélanie have decided to work towards organic certification. "Our father fought for grass in the vines and to stop have garbage from cities being thrown in the vines as a fertilizer. It took five years. That was his fight. Organics seems like the challenge of our generation." In the cellar, the grapes are gently pressed and racked by gravity to Burgundian barrels, where each parcel ferments and ages individually. Malolactic fermentation almost never occurs but is not blocked: Benoît feels that through careful pressing, attention to temperature and the correct viticultural practices, Champagne's naturally cold climate gives them grapes with low PH and high acidity, a combo that does not incite malo. Sulfites are are only added in microscopic doses at press and intermittently to casks of reserve wine. The wines are never filtered: "“Disgorgment is sort of like a filtration. If you’re going to take the time to do long élevages and letting the solids deposit themselves, you don’t need to filter. It requires a respect of the rhythm of the wine."
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Associated with luxury, celebration, and romance, the region, Champagne, is home to the world’s most prized sparkling wine. In order to bear the label, ‘Champagne’, a sparkling wine must originate from this northeastern region of France—called Champagne—and adhere to strict quality standards. Made up of the three towns Reims, Épernay, and Aÿ, it was here that the traditional method of sparkling wine production was both invented and perfected, birthing a winemaking technique as well as a flavor profile that is now emulated worldwide.

Well-drained, limestone and chalky soil defines much of the region, which lend a mineral component to its wines. Champagne’s cold, continental climate promotes ample acidity in its grapes but weather differences from year to year can create significant variation between vintages. While vintage Champagnes are produced in exceptional years, non-vintage cuvées are produced annually from a blend of several years in order to produce Champagnes that maintain a consistent house style.

With nearly negligible exceptions, . These can be blended together or bottled as individual varietal Champagnes, depending on the final style of wine desired. Chardonnay, the only white variety, contributes freshness, elegance, lively acidity and notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white flowers. Pinot Noir and its relative Pinot Meunier, provide the backbone to many blends, adding structure, body and supple red fruit flavors. Wines with a large proportion of Pinot Meunier will be ready to drink earlier, while Pinot Noir contributes to longevity. Whether it is white or rosé, most Champagne is made from a blend of red and white grapes—and uniquely, rosé is often produce by blending together red and white wine. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay will be labeled as ‘blanc de blancs,’ while ones comprised of only red grapes are called ‘blanc de noirs.’

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Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.

DBWDB2959_04_2004 Item# 976287

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