NV Delavenne Pere et Fils Brut Rosé
 
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Jean-Louis and Jean-Christophe Delavenne No Models or Hermès Ties — But a Gold Medal at Épernay

It was 1985 — our first trip to Champagne with Manhattan money to spend. Once our salesmen "set us up" in Reims and Épernay, it was all tapis rouge.

At Veuve Clicquot, our first stop, we toured the labyrinthine caves beneath Reims and sipped Yellow Label aperitifs. We were guided on this underground tour by a young woman whose face and figure could grace the cover of Mademoiselle.

Alas, she was far more memorable than most of the wines, which were all a bit too sweet and yeasty. But who cared? We felt like big shots. We'd "done" Champagne and had the Gucci ties, the Dior cologne and the polished egos to prove it.

But as the years passed, our taste became more refined. By the early 1990s, we were steering clear of L'Avenue de Champagne in Épernay (purportedly the wealthiest street in France). Instead, we took to the hillside hamlets of the Montagne de Reims, knocking on the doors of Champagne's artisanal "grower" estates, where impassioned winegrowers were turning out signature, chalk-infused sparklers that reminded us of fine Burgundy — with bubbles.

It was on a warm July morning that we first rang the bell outside the courtyard at #6 Rue de Tours in Bouzy. Jean-Louis Delavenne greeted us warmly, then led us toward the family's modest cellars. There would be no high-heeled mannequins, no Hermès scarves or Eau de Toilette. But we hadn't worked our way into one of the most star-studded cellars in Bouzy for the red-carpet treatment. We'd come for the Grand Cru Rosé that — for the second time in three years — had outpointed Moët, Clicquot and Roederer, making off with the Gold Medal at Épernay.

In stark contrast to the stuffed-shirt demeanor of L'Avenue de Champagne, Jean-Louis and his son Jean-Christophe were perfectly understated. We tasted the entire Delavenne lineup over the better part of three hours. Each bottle was drawn from just 10 hectares of hand-tended limestone hillsides, all "riddled" in the cramped family cellar that Jean-Louis had manually excavated over the course of three years.

"Our production is very small. Barely 6,000 cases each year," Delavenne Sr. told us by phone last week. "Last year, after you posed the question, we counted the number of private clients who come to Bouzy every year or two. There are 3,000. Before we met you, our largest customers were allocated 120 bottles per year." Jean-Louis laughed. "And WineAccess wants HOW many?"

The Delavenne Père Et Fils Brut Rosé Champagne Grand Cru Bouzy is salmon-pink in hue, infused with piercing aromas of wild strawberries, cassis and kirsch. The attack is juicy, broad and precise, infused with blood orange, white peach and rose petals. Wonderfully refreshing on the mid-palate, braced by riveting Champenois acidity, this is the finest Delavenne Rosé we've tasted since our first visit.



Tasting Notes

NV Delavenne Pere et Fils Brut Rosé
"The Delavenne Champagne Rosé Grand Cru is salmon-pink in hue, infused with piercing aromas of wild strawberries, cassis and kirsch. The attack is juicy, broad and precise, infused with blood orange, white peach and rose petals. Wonderfully refreshing on the mid-palate, braced by riveting Champenois acidity. Gold Medal at the Concours in Épernay."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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