La Vigne Royale Brut Nature

2003

BY SPECIAL ORDER ONLY 100% Pinot Noir. Tarlant's blanc des noirs from a single parcel of vines called "Mocque Tonneau", planted in 1972 by the Tarlants' maternal grandfather Maurice on a steep, chalky hillside in Celles-lès-Condé at the junction of the small Dhuys and Surmelin rivers (a favorite gathering place for the royal court of the Bourbon kings, hence the name of this bottling). The fruit was hand-harvested and gently pressed; the juice was fermented in stainless steel vats with natural yeasts. The wine was aged in barrel with no malolactic fermentation before being bottled in May 2004. Aged sur lattes, hand-riddled, disgorged in June 2014 and finished with no dosage. It is worth noting that the Tarlants distinguish between terroir wines and vintage wines. This can be a little tricky to discern at first. The terroir wines (La Vigne d'Antan, La Vigne d'Or, La Vigne Royale, BAM!) are often vintage-specific--but the vintage is not the emphasis--as evidenced by the fact that the vintage only appears in very small type on the back label. La Vigne Royale is an example of this (see front-label photo next to this entry). On the other hand, the vintage-focused bottling, of which there is only one per vintage, features the year in large print on the front label, with its name essentially appearing as a smaller subtitle below the vintage; the name of the vintage bottling also changes each year (for example, in 2003 it is "La Matinale").

92 points
"The La Vigne Royale bottling from Benoit Tarlant does not carry its vintage date on the front label, but is clearly stated on the back one, so I have listed it as a vintage-dated wine this time around. As readers may recall, this wine is made entirely from pinot noir planted in a very steep vineyard in the village of Celles-lès-Condé, next door to Oeuilly. I have loved this wine since the first time that I tasted it three or four years ago, but this most recent bottle was showing a bit of the 2003 vintage character and seemed to have moved forward quite a bit since the example I tasted a year ago. The bouquet is now showing plenty of mature nuttiness in its bouquet of walnuts, peach, freshly-baked bread, complex soil tones and a touch of upper register honeycomb. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and soil-driven in personality, with a fine core, elegant mousse and impressive length and grip on the well-balanced finish. It is possible that I just had a slightly forward bottle, but my gut instinct is that this wine is starting to show some of its vintage character and will be best drunk up over a shorter timeframe than I initially anticipated. 2017-2030. 92."
John Gilman,
A View From The Cellar
, May-June 2017
92 points
"Harvested exclusively on the 5th of September 2003 from the single vineyard "Mocque tonneau” in Celles-les-Condé, then fermented in barrels, bottled in May 2004 and disgorged in June 2013, the 100% Pinot Noir NV La Vigne Royal Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs displays fine aromas of ripe and stewed apples, small red berries, limes and lemons, juicy pineapples and candied fruits on the nose, which is already very delicate and stimulating. On the palate, this vinous , medium-bodied yet full-flavored Champagne from 30-year-old vines rooting on hard limestone is very delightful, too; it is full of finesse, purity and elegance, and is very subtle yet intense, persistently salty and well structured. Think of Manzanilla and the Lightness of Being and enjoy! "
Stephan Reinhardt,
Wine Advocate
, October 29, 2015

SKU/Code: 
DB6170-03
Product Line: 
Wine
Sparkling
Sparkling White
Varietal: 
Pinot Noir
Farming Type: 
Organic