NV Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Vieilles Vignes Les Crayères
This is the emblematic wine from Francis Egly.
Michel Bettane, the influential French critic, encouraged Egly to bottle this single vineyard wine separately and the first vintage was in 1989. This latest release was bottled after the 2014 vintage had spent close to one year in cask and blended with 40% reserve wines from the 2013 vintage. All of the vinification and aging for both vintages was in barriques. The fruit comes from old vines in a single terroir known as Les Crayères. The vines here were planted in 1946, so are now 75 years old. The soil is barely 30cm deep, then it’s chalk, hundreds of metres down—hence the name of the site (craie is French for ‘chalk’). Les Crayères is situated mid-slope with a full south-facing exposure, not far from the Estate’s cellars. The old vines are deeply rooted, giving the wine a classic, mineral energy that weaves its way through the powerful, textured Pinot fruit. The concentration is a product of the ripeness and low yields that both the site and its ancient vines naturally deliver. The wine is both a tribute to the greatest sites of Ambonnay and to the Egly-Ouriet Domaine. Houses that emphasise blending may consider a 100% old-vine Ambonnay like this to be too intense; Egly gives it to you pure and powerful! And, with minimal dosage of two grams per litre. It’s a unique wine, built for food and for aging. It’s already drinking wonderfully well but will certainly benefit from two to five years in the cellar. A unique expression of a singular terroir, and right up there when talking about candidates for the region’s greatest wine. It’s certainly the greatest Blanc de Noirs.