NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Les Prémices12979
WINEMAKER: Francis Egly
REGION: Champagne, FR
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
Les Prémices hails from 3.5 hectares of vines in Trigny, northwest of Reims. To use some great growers to geolocate; Trigny is situated just to the west of Saint-Thierry and Merfy (where Alexandre Chartogne is based), and east of Montigny-sur-Vesle (where Aurélien Suenen grows his stunning La Grande Vigne cuvée). The Egly vines span seven historic lieux-dits in the commune. Like the domaine’s Vrigny vines, these plots have come from Annick Egly’s (wife of Francis) side of the family. The return of Francis and Annick’s two children, Charles and Clémence, to the domaine has enabled the family to begin producing their own wines from these plots (previously the fruit was being sold). This is just the second release.
Reflecting what is planted in the vineyards, Les Prémices is an equal blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The vines are, on average, 40 years old and are rooted in clay and sandstone over a chalk bedrock—a soil typical of the Massif de Saint-Thierry area. As always, the classic Egly manifesto applies here—old vines, low yields, hand harvesting of fully ripe fruit, no inoculation, long lees aging, no fining or filtration, low dosage and meticulous attention to detail. One difference here is that the wine is fermented and aged exclusively in tank.
The current release is the first blend to include three vintages and the wine is all the better for it. The dosage for this release was just two grams per litre. We really love this wine and the contrast it offers from the rest of the range. It’s a super mineral, pure fruit wine with a weight and personality that reminds us of the great Jérôme Prévost (perhaps it’s the Meunier influence). Regardless, expect wonderful precision, the delicacy and finesse of sandy soils, some gorgeous nectarine, golden delicious and hay-like fruit notes with a long, spicy and salty close. Very hard to drink slowly!
Francis Egly is a vigneron growing and crafting wines that offer remarkable intensity as well as transparency of site, from vines that are positively ancient by Champagne standards. Like all great French growers, the Egly philosophy can be defined by one word: terroir. Very low yields, old vines, only great sites, perfectly ripe fruit, extended lees aging (the Brut NV can spend up to 48 months on lees) very low or no dosage and no fining and/or filtration are all decisions taken because Egly believes that they allow his terroir to speak most clearly. These practices are identical to the finest growers in Burgundy and the polar opposite of conventional Champagne production.