Are you curious about some of the smaller houses in Champagne?
Such as Arlaux Champagne?
More to the point, have you wondered about how a majority of Pinot Meunier in Arlaux Champagne expresses itself in the glass?
Recently some of Manhattan’s finest wine writers had the opportunity to taste the wines of Arlaux paired with different expressions of caviar. What makes Arlaux unique and different is both its majority of the Pinot Meunier grape as well as its pre-phylloxera Meunier vine trees.
Our host for this event was charming Pierre-Christian Tramier, proprietor of Arlaux Champagne. The venue was Bar Boulud, and with each Champagne style we were given a generous dollop of a different caviar. It was interesting to see how the pairings were chosen, yet wine is my focus so on to the Champagnes.
I loved the Brut Rose. The baby rose color gets you immediately, followed by the expressive slightly floral aromas. It is 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay,
The next wine was the Brut Grand cuvée coming from again 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir, and 10% Chardonnay – yet now the color is straw instead of pink. It was very crisp and refreshing.
Next was the Brut Nature NV, with the same cepage as the Brut Grand, but no dosage (that would give it residual sugar).
The Brut Grand Bourgeois was one of my favorites …. 100% Pinot Meunier with four years of aging. This was followed by the Millesime Rare 2000, 1/3 Pinot Meunier, 1/3 Pinot Noir, and 1/3 Chardonnay and it has been resting until this fabulous moment until we can enjoy it.
Arlaux is not a household name in terms of mass-market Champagne houses. Yet it is unique and special for three key reasons. The first is that not many grower/houses focus on Pinot Meunier and it is great to try this slightly fruitier example in many different styles. Next, the charm of course of Pierre-Christian Tramier, who did a great job of showcasing his family’s values. Then it was the elegance of the tasting itself, the drama if you will, of how everything was arranged just so (the room is beautiful, the glasses set up perfectly, and the caviar pairing element).
It was a pleasure to meet Pierre-Christian and experience the pleasures of this Champagne house