Lenoble Brut Intense
A noteworthy feature of “Brut Intense” is that it contains a substantial percentage (30%) of ‘reserve’ wines—wines from previous vintages blended with the ‘current-vintage’ wine to lend depth and dimension. This version of “Brut Intense” is based on the 2013 vintage, and spent more than three years aging on its lees before it was released into the market. The blend is 30% Chardonnay (from the Grand Cru village of Chouilly), 35% Pinot Noir (from Bisseuil) and 35% Pinot Meunier (from Damery).
The mix of elegance and richness in this wine is quite impressive for the price. In the glass it’s a pale straw gold, with a bold aromatic profile loaded with fruit and savor: green and red apple, citrus, white cherry, fresh ginger, crushed stones, baking spices, and brioche dough. The acidity is brisk and tangy, but there’s a good amount of texture on the palate—it’s a substantial Champagne with good weight for food, with a mid-palate like an apple tart topped with crème fraiche. Two sips of this wine and you are instantly hungry, and there’s enough under the hood here to take on a simple roast chicken or a more involved preparation like the attached. This is “house” Champagne with an extra gear—a truly great discovery at this price point.