Friday, June 20, 2008

Ployez-Jacquemart Brut Sélection Rosé

Founded in 1930 by Marcel Ployez and Yvonne Jacquemart, this small, highly regarded négociant in the village of Ludes has attracted a worldwide following for its champagnes. Careful attention is paid to the details here: only the cuvée (the first pressing) is used; the wines are aged for a long time on the lees (minimum three years for the brut, and much longer for the vintage wines); and the dosage is unusually low (between three and six grams per liter across the entire range). It seems that Ployez-Jacquemart is doing everything right. At the same time, I’ll confess that I’ve had trouble with their wines in the past. The prestige cuvée Liesse d’Harbonville is consistently excellent, but sometimes I’ve found the other wines to be a little rustic and lacking in finesse.

Tasting the current release of Sélection Rosé this week reminded me of what the house is capable of achieving. Based on the 2005 vintage, this is composed of roughly the same assemblage as the Extra Quality Brut (60 percent pinot noir and meunier, 40 percent chardonnay), with the addition of 12 percent red wine from Avenay Val d’Or, fermented and aged in barrel. The beautiful salmon color is of relatively deep hue, which looks particularly attractive in a bottle of clear glass, and the nose reveals silky, delicately fragrant notes of raspberry and red cherry. The key to the entire wine, however, is the superbly calculated dosage — on the palate this strikes a perfect balance, elongating and expanding the aromas and allowing the fruit to express a full range of flavor, while still keeping the wine feeling dry and vinous. I was so impressed by the balance here that I actually commented on it three times within the same paragraph in my notebook. I think, too, that the wine has an excellent weight for a rosé — it’s light enough to serve as a summery and refreshing apéritif, yet it has enough substance to pair with an array of lighter dishes at the table, from salads to mezze to tempura. I imagine it would also be marvelous with certain sashimi, as it possesses the requisite clarity and definition to match the purity of the fish. I’m looking forward to becoming more acquainted with this wine over the summer.

Ployez-Jacquemart is imported into the United States by Weygandt-Metzler Selections, Unionville, PA, and the suggested retail price for the Sélection Rosé is $73.

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