Tyson Stelzer’s 2018-2019 edition of The Champagne Guide has just been published, with lots of great things to say about AR Lenoble!

Tyson Stelzer’s 2018-2019 edition of The Champagne Guide has just been published, with lots of great things to say about AR Lenoble!

November 21, 2017, Christian Holthausen

“True to its name, a noble approach in the vines and the cellar produces well-composed and tantalisingly affordable cuvées that exemplify Antoine Malassagne’s philosophy of ‘full body with elegance,’ showcasing the strength, structure, definition and opulence of Chouilly.”

“A natural approach in the vineyards has seen the elimination of herbicides and pesticides, ploughing to control weeds and aerate the soil, use of organic manure, and cultivation of grasses in the mid-rows of the vineyards to moderate yields and increase ripeness. ‘I am nearly organic but not quite, as I am concerned about using copper sulphate to combat mildew,’ says Malassagne, a qualified chemical engineer.”

“Driven by a scientific mind, Malassagne is constantly experimenting to refine the détails and improve his wines, rather than following trends. He has trialled wild yeasts, bâtonnage and Hungarian oak, though is not convinced of any. He doesn’t produce the same non-vintage wines each vintage. ‘I try to imrove and make the best wines I can every year,’ he explains. ‘Generation after generation, we try to improve vinification and practices in the vines.'”

AR Lenoble Cuvée Intense – 93 points
“An impeccably crafted wine from noble fruit sources, offering value for money. Crunchy apple and grapefruit define a well-focused fruit profile, backed by the biscuity complexity of bottle age and a touch of oak, culminating in a finish of well-focused malic acid line and neatly integrated low dosage. A touch of phenolic texture does not interrupt its flow or mineral mouthfeel.  cuvée of integrity and poise.”

AR Lenoble Brut Nature Dosage Zéro – 92 points
“A low-dosage cuvée based on the harrowing 2011 season is not a recipe that instils confidence, yet the Lenoble team have done a laudable job of creating a wine of poise and appeal. Depth of apple and pear fruit is layered with the toasty, roast hazelnut character of bottle age and a touch of barrel vinification. The dry dustiness of the season is present, though there is sufficient fine chalk mineral texture, ripe fruit presence and even malic acid flow to create a finish of appeal and harmony without any need for dosage. A monumental feat!”

AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly – 92 points
“Classic Chouilly, and this year a more profound showcase than ever for the ripe opulence of the village, a full and unabashed explosion of glowing locut, yellow mirabelle plum, grilled pineapple, golden delicious apple, even mango. Strategic retention of some malic acidity provides much needed control through a well-defined acid line, which draws out the finish amidst soft, rounded chalk minerality and the creamy texture and toasty, nutty character of arrel vinification. In all, there’s nothing subtle about this rendition, though it upholds admirable balance and appeal.”

AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly Vintage 2008 – 95 points 
***One of the “Best Blanc de Blancs Champagnes of the Year***
“The tension and definition of the energetic 2008 vintage is endearing in the opulent village of Chouilly, and Malassagne has sensitively matched the elegance of the vintage with a subtle 10% oak vinification and a very light dosage. Good gracious, such is the stamina of the season that this cuvée has not Evolved one iota since its release two years ago, upholding youthful lemon, pear and apple fruit of impressive poise and proportion amidst notes of lemon meringue. It’s propelled by a wonderful line of glistening 2008 acidity and pronounced, frothing salt mineral texture, elongating a finish of magnificent line and persistence. Oak lends an appealing, almost invisible note of vanilla and almond. A masterful and age-worthy contrast between the rounded intensity of Chouilly and the vivacious drive of a terrific season.”

AR Lenoble Rosé Terroirs Chouilly-Bisseuil – 93 points
“Lenoble’s pinot noir is too rich to stand along as a rosé, so the house tactically calls upon the structure and fresh acid drive of its Chouilly chardonnay. A philosophy of elegance is upheld by just 12% pinot noir red wine and the result is a more toned demeanour in medium salmon copper, tannin structure and spicy oak presence. It’ a precocious thing, with a momentary fanfare of tangelo, candied strawberry, red cherry and musk, proclaiming Bisseuil pinot noir more dramatically than its small inclusion would suggest, then immediately vanishing. The citrus fruits of Chouilly are articulated through the discreetly handled texture of a glimpse of oak. It concluses elegant and fine, thanks to the tension and chalk mineral structure of Chouilly.

AR Lenoble Cuvée Gentilhomme Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2009 – 92 points
“A glowing, bright medium-straw hue introduces a cuvée that contrasts the exuberance of ripe white fruits of 2009 with a sour acid note and the pronounced charcuterie character of full barrel vinification, disrupting Lenoble’s hitherto record of sensitive use of oak. It consequently lacks something of the dignified refinement that this cuvée has exhuded in the past, a powerful wine that collides ripe lemon and grapefruit with fim acidity and prominent oak character. It achieves the accord with poise and harmony, thanks to the tension of malic acidity and the prominent, fine chalk minerality of Chouilly, drawing out a long and accurate finish.”

AR Lenoble Cuvée Les Aventures Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly – 93 points
“Blended only from seasons released as vintages in their own right, the philosophy of ‘The Adventures of Lenoble’ is to showcase what a small terroir in Chouilly can produce in top years. Quite a quest it is, engineered and structured with a scaffold of Chouilly tension, amplified by barrel fermentation. Never has it looked finer, and this blend has softened and toned magnificently over quite some years since its release, exemplified by long age on tirage under cork; its tense, coiled acidity still well defined, though now calm and integrated, and the classic yellow fruits of Chouilly now further progressed on their journey towards toast, roast nuts, gren olives and coffee beans. Wood works remains pronounced, in notes of savoury, spicy charcuterie complexity and a creamy texture of gentle phenolic grip, yet it preserves the salty chalk mineral texture of Chouilly and upholds its poise, enduring persistence and characterful definition. This is a powerful and formidable experience for the adventurous, yet never heavy nor broad, promising a journey that will linger for some years yet. It’s main-course ready, and deserves to be served a little warmer, in large glasses.”