Very unique Champagnes and among the best pink-fizz in the entire region. Be ready to have your mind expanded! Given the breadth of the range, it’s hard to make shift with a few telling descriptors. They are flowery and high-flying Champagnes, rather like a cross of Chartogne and Chiquet, but not exactly similar to either. Class, depth and detail are abundant. They are graceful, even when they’re intense. As Aubrys use concentrated must instead of sugar for their dosage, the palate “reads” the sweetness differently. There’s more of a fructose texture, a clotted-cream kind of grip. I find these Champagnes alternately lovable and impressive, and occasionally both.
The Aubry estate is in the village of Jouy-les-Reims in the western part of the Montagne de Reims. Twin borthers Pierre and Philippe farm parcels in the limestone and clay soils of Jouy, as well as sites in three other premiere cru villages: Pargny-les-Reims, Villedommange, and Coulommes-la-Montagne.
Aubry also farms one and a half hectares of ancient grape varieties still permitted by A.O.C. law. Their plantings of Petit Mesilier, Fromenteau (Pinot Gris) and Arbanne were completed in 1989 to mark the 200 year aniversary of grape growing by the Aubry family. Aubry makes two different cuvees to showcase these rare grapes. The Le Novembre d’Or Veteres Vites blends all seven permissible grapes in the Champagne Appelation: Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc Petit Mesleir, Arbanne, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. The Blanc de Blanc Le November d’Or Sable Brut blends Petit Meslier, Arbanne and Chardonnay all from parcels in Jouy-les-Reims. Sable is named for the French word for fettle or fine, referring to this cuvee’s lower atmospheric pressure; four atmospheres, rather than the normal six.
‘Aubry de Humbert’ is the basic vintage wine from L. Aubry Fils, and is named for the bishop who laid the cornerstone for the Reims cathedral. The grapes come from vineyards in Jouy-les-Reims and Villedommange.
It uses all the white grapes (hence Blanc des Blancs), deg 10/2015, zero dosage, and “Sablé” is heir word for a lower-pressure Champagne—4 instead of 6 atmospheres.
For me this and the Sablé Rosé are the Aubry archetypes. Understand these, and you grok them. This one has mouthsfull of salty raw dough and wonderful savory exotic length. Wet straw and haricot vert.
Sans dosage. Deg 2/2016, it’s 25% “black grapes” plus 10% CH, 25% Arbanne, 25% Petit Meslier, 10% Pinot Blanc plus “a little red stuff.” A glorious aroma of 2012; without dosage it gets crackery and dried-beefy, but with a rich florality and fraisesde- bois coming in. Far from a rad hipster novelty—this also tastes good. – Terry Theise
All 2012. And, you know, YES! We smell fruit. A lot of fruit. Fruit and silk and chalk duke it out in a hyperactive twitchy dance, and the finish is like the skins of blackberries. It’s 55% CH, 30% PN and 15% Meunier as still red, and the dosage is a whopping 3g/l. “It’s almost too sweet for me,” said Philippe. Well huh, ‘cause this is still pretty frickin’ dry. ~Terry Theise
The blend is fiendish: 25% Pinots Gris and Blanc—20% Petit Meslier—20% Arbanne—10% CH—5% Meunier—and 20% PN. Dosage is 5g/l, still Extra Brut but less dry than it’s been. And boy does this smell good! The best edition of this wine in a long-g-g time, with the cuvée’s elegant mélange of the “regular” Champagne profile with the exotics from the heirlooms. It’s seamless, breathy, faintly malty, no evident meatiness from the Gris and just a little haricot-vert from the Arbanne. A year in, it’s still a strong version of this wine, still highlighting the Arbanne and Pinot Gris; really solid and savory (just a breath of patisserie) with a finish like roasted green beans with potpourri and soursop. Has a sneaky final saltiness with lemon blossom. It smells, curiously, like a super-classy Auxerrois. ~Terry Theise