Friday, October 10, 2008

Wine of the Week: 1996 Pascal Doquet Le Mesnil-sur-Oger Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs

I’ve had little time for blogging, as work of various sorts has been keeping me busy for virtually every minute of my waking life (and is slowly beginning to invade my non-waking life as well, which is never a good sign). In terms of champagne, however, I hardly have cause for complaint, as this week has been full of magnificent things.

I had a wonderful visit with Pascal Doquet yesterday in Vertus — every time I drink Doquet’s wines, I wonder why I don’t do so more often. Doquet farms his vines strictly organically, although this 1996 Le Mesnil was still under the “old regime”, as Doquet only took over the estate the year before, in 1995. This wine shows a pronounced character of the vintage, with its sleek refinement and vividly pointed acidity. At the same time it isn’t overly aggressive, as some ’96s can be, nor is it prematurely oxidative, as some other ’96s can be. It has a terrific depth and ripeness, backed by intense, nearly spicy minerality, and it feels tense and resonant throughout the long finish. I kept it in the glass for about half an hour, and it continued to grow in depth and complexity, driven by that poignant expression of chalk. It made me think, though, that as great as this wine is, the wines that Doquet is making today ought to be even better, as he’s refined his viticulture to the point where he wants it to be, and that can’t help but be reflected in the resulting wine. I look forward to tasting his 2008 (this decade’s equivalent to 1996) in another ten years or so.

Pascal Doquet is imported into the United States by Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, DC, and while they’ve recently moved on to the 1998 vintage, the 1996 Le Mesnil can still be found for around $99.


Marty said...

Yum. One of my favorites! This 1996 I find very complete and VERY satisfying (the best word I have for it). It used to sell for about $86 an was a downright steal at that price.

Keep up the good work, this is one of my top three favorite blogs.

Champagne, yum.

Peter Liem said...

Thanks, Marty.

I find this wine very satisfying too. It's a great example of top-quality 1996.

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