2008 Egly-Ouriet Millesime Hits The Highest Mark
This exceptional wine review is for anyone who is still unconvinced about the passion and quality behind the best grower Champagnes on the market today, those of Egly-Ouriet.
To sum up, briefly: Francis Egly is *still* going from strength to strength; his wines today are better than ever; and for the breathtaking complexity and quality of each bottle, they still are *undervalued* in the world of grower Champagne.
We say it constantly, and we’ll say it again: Egly is THE reference for grower Champagne. And we were there from the beginning as one of Egly’s first importers to the US.
What a writeup! And what a wine.
2008 Egly-Ouriet • Brut Grand Cru Millésime
Reviewed by William Kelley
Francis Egly and I tasted a bottle trial disgorgement of the 2008 Brut Grand Cru Millésime that saw six grams per liter dosage, and the wine surpassed even my high expectations. Wafting from the glass with scents of crisp orchard fruit, Meyer lemon, praline, warm bread and walnuts, it’s full-bodied, deep and multi-dimensional, with an immensely layered, concentrated core that cloaks its racy but ripe spine of acidity, abundant but refined structuring dry extract and an incredibly long, precise and sapid finish. It represents the confluence of a great vigneron at the peak of his powers with a historic vintage, and it’s unquestionably the finest 2008 Champagne that I’ve tasted to date. Egly and I agreed that it might be even better with only five grams per liter dosage, but we’ll see what he finally decides when he disgorges the wine later this year. What is clear is that the the 2008 Brut Grand Cru Millésime will be worth any and every effort to seek out once it arrives on the market.
As I wrote earlier this year, far from resting on the considerable and merited laurels that he has accrued over a 30-year career, Francis Egly continues to refine and improve. The latest innovations include refrigerated press pans to immediately cool the must in ever-warmer vintages, a peristaltic pump to handle his wines even more gently and a once-again expanded cellar that gives him the space to work still more precisely. Just like his work in the vineyards, investment in the winery has been incessant. Starting from next to nothing when he began in the 1980s, today Egly holds the equivalent of some 700,000 bottles in reserve wines and wine maturing sur lattes—equivalent to seven times his annual production. His 2008 Vintage, one of the most extraordinary young Champagnes that I’ve ever tasted, is only just being disgorged this year. As readers will know, Egly picks ripe grapes and ferments most of his wines in barrel—some 10% to 15% of which are renewed every year, and all of which derive from the cooperage of his friend, Dominique Laurent—before subjecting them to lengthy sur lattes maturation, typically disgorging with around three grams per liter dosage. But the devil is in the details: no winemaker in Champagne is more precise or meticulous, from vineyard to cellar. I drink Egly-Ouriet very regularly indeed—the Extra Brut V.P. is one of my house wines—and I continue to be amazed at the reasonable tariff such artisanal craftsmanship commands in a region where those qualities remain hard to come by. While the quality of Egly’s wines is an open secret at this stage, I believe that his latest releases number among his best to date. I warmly encourage readers to acquaint—or reacquaint—themselves with them.