Friday, September 12, 2008

Wine of the Week: Jean Lallement Brut Grand Cru

Jean Lallement is my favorite producer in Verzenay. I like growers such as Péhu, Arnould, Godmé and Hatté, but there’s something about Lallement’s wines that resonates with me, and I find them to consistently be the finest in tone and purest in expression.

To pick at nits, Jean-Luc Lallement’s wines aren’t really 100-percent Verzenay, as he has some vines just over the border in Verzy. But he says the terroir is virtually identical. I tasted the new brut sans année yesterday, blended from 2005 and 2004: as always, it’s composed of 80 percent pinot noir and 20 percent chardonnay, all fermented in enameled steel vats. The ripeness of the 2005 vintage gives this a sweetly succulent depth of cherry and raspberry fruitiness, yet the taut structure and firm, darkly spicy minerality is pure Verzenay, reining in the flavors and keeping them focused and sleek. It’s full in aroma and remarkably fine in texture, demonstrating outstanding quality for a basic non-vintage brut.

Lallement is imported into the United States by Terry Theise Selections/Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY, and the suggested retail price for the Brut Grand Cru is $60.