Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Little Cramant bubbles
I think it was Richard Juhlin who said that it was hard to make bad wine in Cramant.* I have to concur: that village on the Côte des Blancs turns out some of the most deep and racy champagnes there are, from Diebolt-Vallois and Lilbert Fils to the profound Vieille Vigne de Cramant from Larmandier-Bernier.
So, a small caviste in Montmartre was selling the champagnes of Lancelot-Pienne, from that burg. Why not? I thought, given that the rest of the store held some nice little gems. I was having a friend over for dinner, so I picked up a half-bottle of the NV Brut Tradition.
Night was flooding through the window when I popped the half-bottle and poured some of its frothing contents into two glasses. After handing over the one, I stuck my nose in the glass in hand. Mmm, that Cramant smell. Chalky and biscuity. On the palate, this was even-handedly dosaged, with good balance and a savory quality to it that was very pleasing – and very much of its place. Part of me wondered if its mature drinkability had to do with its being in a small vessel, because in recent months, I've had some champagnes that really did need more time (people don't give champagne enough bottle age, often). Whatever the case may be, this was a small, happy pleasure; a little drop of Cramant elixir to open the palate.
*Though, to be honest, he used it backhandedly to criticize a certain grower: how can one screw up Cramant? Look!