L'Etincelante Brut Nature

2002

57% Chardonnay/29% Pinot Noir/14% Pinot Meunier. Each year the Tarlants make a single multi-parcel wine intended to encapsulate that particular vintage: the name Etincelante evokes the “glittering” nature of the sunny 2002 harvest, "a dream harvest" per Benoìt Tarlant. From six parcels across four villages on a mix of chalk, flint and limestone soils with vines averaging 40 years old. As for all Tarlant wine, 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 tank; the wine does not go through malolactic fermentation. L'Etincelante was bottled in 2003,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 site 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 one made every year from an ever-changing blend of parcels to reflect the overall nature of that particular year--feature the vintage in large type on the front with a whimsical name in smaller type below the vintage.

95 points
"The 2002 Brut Nature L’Étincelante is one of the most restrained 2002 Champagnes readers will come across. And it is absolutely exquisite. Delicate scents of apricot, chamomile, pear, baked apple tart, brioche and yellow flowers all lift from the glass. Medium in body and super-refined, the 2002 has so much to recommend it. This is a tremendous showing from Benoit Tarlant."
Antonio Galloni,
Vinous Media
, July 2018
95+ points
"A producer who gives each vintage a particular name (like for the Prestige Millésime) obviously has a close connection to mother nature, namely the character of the vintage, and also a good palate combined with a flowering intuition. In fact, Benoît Tarlant is a picture-book vigneron who cares for each of his 40 or so plots as if they all needed a particular treatment. We met in April at the very beginning of this exceptional summer, when the shoots were still very short and not safe. The soils had just been plowed, and the difference from neighboring plots from well-known names and houses that leave the "cultivation" of the vineyards in the hands of industrial viticultural companies was already huge. Benoît and his sister, Mélanie, cultivate roughly 13 hectares of vineyards in Oeuilly and three neighboring villages. Most of the vineyards are planted with Pinot Noir and 30% with Chardonnay, which is still a high figure compared to the 19% planted with Pinot Meunier, which is the most prominent grape variety in the Marne Valley. Nevertheless, Tarlant produces one of the most spectacular Pinot Meuniers of the entire Champagne region, La Vigne d'Or, which comes from vines planted in 1947. I tasted four freshly disgorged vintages, of which the 1999 and 2002 were mind-blowing in their combination of richness, purity and freshness. La Vigne d'Antan (from ungrafted Chardonnay vines), which I have already reviewed, and from the three Millésime Prestige cuvées I tasted, the 2002 l'Étincelante is just fabulous in its iodine chalkiness and vibrant freshness. Freshness and purity are common features in all of the Tarlant cuvées, even the richer, full-bodied wines, none of which have undergone malolactic fermentation. Since each plot is vinified separately, the range is pretty wide. I didn't taste all of the wines, but each one I did taste is authentic, pure and bone dry, whereas complexity comes with age. "
Stephan Reinhardt,
Wine Advocate
, 238/August 2018

SKU/Code: 
DB5813-02
Product Line: 
Wine
Sparkling
Sparkling White
Varietal: 
Chardonnay
Farming Type: 
Organic