Friday, November 14, 2008

Wine of the Week: Lilbert-Fils Brut Blanc de Blancs

I hinted at this wine in Monday’s post, and it is indeed a non-vintage brut based on 2005. The young Bertrand Lilbert is one of the superstars of Cramant, but remains largely unknown except to a select group of champagne devotees. Part of the reason for this is that Lilbert produces only 30,000 bottles of champagne a year, from a mere 3.5 hectares of vines, and even at the estate the wines often sell out quickly.

The non-vintage blanc de blancs is blended from the grand cru villages of Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry, and is generally composed of equal parts of two different vintages, in this case 2005 and 2004. It’s lively and brisk, with a classic Côte de Blancs finesse and chalky perfume. Lilbert’s wines are always racy and elegant, but this one exhibits a particularly delicious combination of ripe complexity and kinetic, soil-driven tension, making it feel both accessible and expressive at the same time.

Lilbert-Fils is imported into the United States by Vintage ’59, Washington, DC.