An Elegant Blanc de Blanc Experience

Last night, we drank a bottle of the fantastic 2007 Thiénot "Black Ball" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne and I have to say that I was very, very impressed with it. This Champagne, which is sourced entirely from Thiènots' own estate in the Grand Cru's of the Cotes de Blancs, is fermented all in stainless steel at their ultra-modern facility just outside of Reims in Taissy. I had tasted this several times before, but this Champagne is for drinking, and sure enough, the 2nd glass was better than the first.

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Thiènot is a young Champagne brand and was founded in 1985 when Alain Thiènot bought his first acreage from the Krug family. He was a very successful grape broker before starting his own house, and through his connections managed to build his estate up to 67 acres. He is a big believer in clean, fresh wines, and has an excellent collection of small stainless-steel tanks to keep his plots separate while not risking oxidation.

We paired the wine with smoked salmon and Boursin on crackers with some fresh garden chives on top. An excellent grower friend of mine from the Aube, far away from the Cotes de Blancs, said to me once that Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs is like a marionette; delicate, precise, elegant and full of hidden complexity. This Thiènot matches that description perfectly, with a soft, round, texture and an airy feel that one could never tire of. The Champagne has beautiful brioche aromas and flavors that transport me to the best bakeries in France, while the wine is balanced by subtle Meyer lemon flavors and a delicate, but ultimately fresh minerality. This 2007 is drinking perfectly in the pocket at 12 years old but should hold for another five to eight years.

I was pleased to offer this Champagne at $119 and felt that it provided excellent value for the money compared to other prestige cuvée bottlings that we carry. At $59.99, it is simply an exceptional value. I hope that you get a chance to drink some of this- it is a real luxury! A toast to you!

-Gary

Gary Westby