Cuvée Louis Brut Nature (2002-03 Base)
50%Chardonnay/50% Pinot Noir. Cuvée Louis is named for Benoît’s and Melanie’s great-great-great grandfather Louis, who was the first to bottle the family’s estate wines (in 1928); their parents created this prestige cuvée in his honor in 1982. Though the wine is in fact a cuvée of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is not a blend of sites. It features the fruit from a single parcel of 65-year-old vines called Les Crayons — its name being an indicator of the high chalk (craie) content of its soils — near the Tarlants' home village of Oeuilly along the Marne River.
The base wine is 2003, blended with barrel-aged reserve wines from 2002. The fruit was hand-harvested and gently pressed; the juice was fermented with natural yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Aged in barrel with no malolactic fermentation before being bottled in May 2004. The bottles were aged sur lattes for fifteen years. Hand-riddled and disgorged in March 2018 and finished with no dosage. It is the most powerful and rich of the Tarlant wines, balanced with intense minerality and acidity.