L'Aérienne Brut Nature

2004
France
Champagne

70% Chardonnay/30% Pinot Noir. Each year the Tarlants make a single multi-parcel wine intended to encapsulate that particular vintage: the name L'Aerienne evokes the airy, ethereal nature of the 2004 harvest, "a year won by Chardonnay" according to Benoìt Tarlant. From 4 parcels across the villages of Oeuilly and Celles-lès-Condé on a mix of hard limestone, flint and Sparnacien clay-limestone soils with vines averaging 40 years old. The vines are organically farmed and harvested by hand and the clusters very slowly and gently pressed. The juice ferments spontaneously with native yeasts in Burgundy barrels; the wine does not go through malolactic fermentation and ages for a year in barrel. L'Aerienne was bottled in 2005, disgorged in 2018 and received zero 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--Antan, Vigne d'Or, and Vigne Royale--feature those names prominently on the front label, while the vintage is is tucked on the back in tiny type. The vintage-focused bottlings--of which there is a single one made annually from a blend of parcels most reflective of the personality of the vintage--feature the vintage in large type on the front with the whimsical name in much smaller type below the vintage.

94 points
"The 2004 Brut Nature L'Aérienne shows the Tarlant style at its best. Rich and creamy, with terrific energy, the 2004 is wonderfully complete. There is so much going on. The blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir is quite complementary, as the 2004 possesses fabulous balance. Tangerine oil, apricot, red plum, flowers and chamomile infuse the 2004 with striking layers of depth, while bracing, mineral notes punctuate the saline finish. This is the best showing of the 2004 yet. Disgorged: March 26, 2018."
Antonio Galloni,
Vinous Media
, November 2020
93+ points
"The 2004 Millésime Prestige l'Aérienne is "the answer to 2003," says Benoît Tarlant. "Everything was relaxed. It was a nice and happy year, with good yields but no hail and no storms." The white l'Aérienne blends 70% Chardonnay with 30% Pinot Noir and opens with a clear, concentrated bouquet of white and yellow-fleshed fruits along with citrus aromas and some ginger notes. On the palate, this is very generous and elegant yet pure and vital cuvée with a juicy Chardonnay character right now and lots of finesse. Still very young, the finish is pure, very salty, long and tensioned. Disgorged in February 2018; tasted in April 2018."
Stephan Reinhardt,
Wine Advocate
, August 2018

SKU/Code: 
DB5871-04
Product Line: 
Wine
Sparkling
Sparkling White
Varietal: 
Chardonnay
Farming Type: 
Organic