If there’s a more interesting grower in this (or any) portfolio than Didier Gimonnet, I ain’t met him. Every visit I make here enriches me. His is a 25-hectare winery, therefore enough wine, which is good because it is VERY BEAUTIFUL WINE with great class and savor. And sensible prices! The wines are suave, creamy and refined, with a “soft” minerality dispersed through the fruit. Silky, stylish wines rather than vigorous, racy wines. These are very deliciously accommodating to the palate.
I suspect some of it might be due to old vines, which impart a palpable creaminess. The majority of Gimonnet’s vineyards are more than 40 years old, the oldest parcel (in Cramant) is more than 80. The wines tolerate a very low dosage, 6-8 grams per liter for most Bruts. “For me, we must have concentration, but also balance, elegance and harmony,” says Didier. ~Terry Theise
Disgorged September 2012, it’s a necessarily superficial look at a wine with decades in front of it, but that first impression is one of salt, bergamot and old BaoZhong tea. ~Terry Theise
Deg 5/2014, this is a vastly different wine than in the 750ml bottle, more flowery and less stocky; more blatantly chalky, sweeter-seeming and showing the starched-ness of Mags. It’s the same wine as the 750s, but Mags develop from the brain down and bottles from the belly out. ~Terry Theise
52% PN (from Aÿ and Mareuil) and 48% CH (from Mareuil, interestingly, along with Cuis, Cramant, Chouilly and Oger), disgorged 11/2013. Of course the “paradox” is that this arch-wizard of Blanc de Blancs, who swore he’d never make Champagne with PN, did it anyway and did it brilliantly.
And this is detailed, sophisticated Champagne, judicious and prudent, but it needs time, time and more time—as many ’07s do. If you recall last year’s 2006 with its open-armed greeting, this one seems markedly stern, for now at least. ~Terry Theise
81% PN (from Aÿ and Mareuil) and 19% Chardonnay (of which 7% is Mareuil). I like this wine and hope Didier keeps making it, though it adds a line item in an already large offering. This ’08 is richer and “sweeter” than ’07, a more endomorphic body showing more PN than last year’s, but with the tightness and length of ’08. Sure it’s atypical Gimonnet but it’s also good Champagne. 81% PN (from Aÿ and Mareuil) and 19% Chardonnay (of which 7% is Mareuil). ~Terry Theise
One of the great values of this offering, this Fleuron is simply otherworldly; gorgeous aromas, patisserie; it’s all here, core, length, chalk, flowers, focus, light-footed intensity; the empty glass smells of pure Chouilly. Young mags can sometimes be shrill, but not this guy! Deg. 12/2015, it’s 33.5% Cramant, 32.5% Chouilly, 10% Oger, 22% Cuis and 2% Vertus. ~Terry Theise
The concept is a food-friendly Champagne by dint of a gentler mousse. It’s also in effect a “young-vintage,” that is, always a single year but not the Vintage wine. It’s also dominated by Chouilly and Cuis. In this case 39% Chouilly (Montaigu 58 years old) and 26% Cuis (Croix Blanche), with 20% Cramant and 15% Oger. Disgorged 9/2013.
This is always a subjective favorite of mine, and I love this one; a wonderful aroma, the vibrating mineral of the cuvée with the sunny greeting of the vintage; it’s really all-in, loaded with clear upfront flavor dominated by a cobalt-like mineral density, like iron, with an ozone-y wet-forest echo; both stirringly complex and also glad to see you. ~Terry Theise
With 4.5g/l rs, again “Extra Brut” could have been used. This is the official vintage wine, and is often the most masculine and full-bodied wine in the range. This ’09 is yummy and stern. Serious and chipper. A ton of almost Veltliner-like meadow flower and vetiver; more density and torque than Gastronome but also more corpulent and with less foreground mineral. ’09 is a virtually perfect vintage for the drinker, not for the student or the judge. Deg. 10/2014, it’s 30% Chouilly (Montaigu), 42.5% Cramant, 9% Oger (Terres de Noël and Champs Nérons) and 18.5% Cuis (Croix Blanche). ~Terry Theise
Back to silk, precision, class and mineral, with less power but more intensity, and with a lot of Cramant herbs, stones and minerals, and a striking pointed jab of spice. One taste and you see why this is an Icon of the Côte des Blancs. It’s 60% Cramant (including vines planted in 1911 and 1913), 24% Chouilly (Montaigu 64 years old) and 16% Cuis Croix Blanche. ~Terry Theise
Deg 12/17/2015, and a radical departure for Gimonnet – a Club monoterroir. It hails from 54% Terres de Noël and Brulis, 23% Champs Nérons (chalk) and 23% Fondy (limestone). It’s a sexy-pants Champagne; it’s got wiggle; toasted brioche, allspice, sautéed peaches, but what really makes this fly is the underlying mineral, and a fascinating note of quince taps your shoulder just before it leaves. ~Terry Theise
This blew me away, a wine I’d always found to be perhaps excessively polite and discreet has found its inner mojo and is seriously beautiful. IT IS ONE OF THE DON’T-MISS WINES IN THIS YEAR’S OFFERING!
It is actually Cuvée Gastronome, with 6% Bouzy PN (from a “name” grower), and it is all 2013. This is crucial because there was no Special Club in 2013, so a lot of that material ended up here. It’s 17% Chouilly (from Montaigu, a great parcel with old vines), 61% Cramant (mostly Buissons, the ancient vines), 10% Oger (including Terres de Noël and 6% Cuis Croix Blanche. Deg. Dec. 2015. The wine is utterly delicious, the best he’s made; chalky, silky, textured, transparent and cooly enticing. ~Terry Theise