The Meticulously Crafted Champagnes of Thierry Thibault
Earlier this year, Gary Westby and I met champagne producer Thierry Thibault at his countryside home in Champagne during the annual K&L Champagne buy trip. I was excited to finally taste the famous Thibault cuvées— there had been quite a buzz surrounding them since we completely sold out of them the same day we sent the e-mail on the last go around.
We sat down with the winemaker and his dog, and discussed his work and family history. He comes from four generations of champagne producers, including his father, Daniel Thibault, the chef-de-cave of Charles and Piper Heidsieck for over two decades. After inheriting two hectares of the family vines over 15 years ago, Thierry decided to produce his own champagne from them. For several years, he worked to improve the vineyards and made champagne just for family and friends. In 2009, he started selling commercially, and now makes just 500 cases a year.
Thibault’s meticulous work in the vineyards and his expertise with pinot meunier really come out in the wines. The Thierry Thibault Brut Champagne ($29.99) is a spectacular value, and composed of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. It has very fine baguette toast aromas and flavors, fabulous, cloud-like texture and a good zippy finish. This is not an austere wine in any way, but still finishes nice and dry.
The Thierry Thibault "Extra Aged" Brut Champagne ($34.99) is half Chardonnay and a quarter each Pinot Noir and Meunier, and spends more than three years on the lees. Thibault has managed to find the perfect point of elegance and expression, with ripe stone fruits, exotic fruits, spice and herbs, highlighted by chalky texture and toasty autolytic aromas while maintaining an overall freshness.
Our last allocation went the same day as the email, so keep your eye out for these two gems on the shelves at K&L, or order yours online now just to be sure.