For a number of years I have enjoyed the wines of Guy Charlemagne but not had that ‘moment’ when a cuvee blew me away.
Then…I came across a bottle of Cuvee Mesnillesime 1996. Their prestige wine made from, among other great vineyards, Les Chetillons. I had found younger versions of this cuvee somewhat cumbersome and lacking the drive and purity that I enjoy in Mesnil. The 1996 was stupendous. Delicious buttery notes laced with pure Mesnil freshness and balance. The oak, that previously weighs heavy on the palate had integrated perfectly and the wine was giving, what I find in so many great wines from this village, something magical.
The estate is managed by Philippe Charlemagne and his wife. They look after fifteen hectares. 10 in Mesnil sur Oger and Oger, the rest can be found in Sezanne (where they have Chardonnay and Pinot Noir).
They produce a lovely fresh and zippy wine with some green apple fleshyness to it.
The Brut Nature is a 70/30 blend of Chardonnay/Pinot Noir from Sezanne. Crisp, fresh and with good balance given the lack of sugar.
Their Brut Classic is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, 8 g/ltr. It shows some good up front fruit but doesn’t quite integrate for my palate.
The Brut Reserve is a massive step up in quality. Made from Mesnil sur Oger and Oger it is beautifully fresh and clean. Loads of green apple, minerality, wild strawberries and plenty of length.
Les Coulmets is a vineyard situated in Mesnil sur Oger just south of the great Les Chetillons. From this they produce an unoaked blinder simply called Les Coulmets. Always released as a vintage my only reservation is that it is released so early. The 2012, which is available at time of writing, is beyond fresh and desperately needs more post disgorgement time. It is all white apple flesh, flowers and crisp acidity. I am sure this will be brilliant with another 3 or 4 years and another level with 10!
Cuvee Mesnillesime is a bit of a right angle for this house. Made from 60 year old vines in Les Chetillons, Les Musettes and Vaucherot, it is partially vinified in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation. The wine is always a touch heavy on release but, as described earlier develops beautifully if you can give it the time.
As I write this the Cuvee Mesnillesime 2008 is just about to be released. I did manage to get a pre release bottle but have not tasted it… The 2005 is showing some hints of entering the next stage with a touch of honey. It is still vibrant, with plenty of grip and salinity, it delivers a palate full of dried apple and a lovely bitter rind note on the finish.
I cross my fingers the 2008 delivers…I’m sure it will!
Village: Le Mesnil Sur Oger
Region: La Cote des Blancs
Contact: Philippe Charlemagne
Cuvée De Prestige: Mesnillesime
Year Founded: 1892
Style: Fresh, zippy, fleshy apple
Vinification: Steel. Oak used for their prestige cuvee.
Recent Tasting Notes from Guy Charlemagne