After the successful introduction of the very first wines in the AR Lenoble “mag series” last year, we have just released AR Lenoble Intense mag 15, the second edition of Intense in the “mag series” from AR Lenoble.
AR Lenoble Intense mag 15 is a blend of 45% meunier from Damery in the Marne Valley, 40% pinot noir from the Premier Cru village of Bisseuil and 15% chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Chouilly. The percentage of reserve wines contained in this blend is an unprecedented 45%, many of which were aged in magnums under natural cork under a pressure of 1.5 bars between 2011 and 2015 before being blended with base wines from 2015 resulting in the final blend. After just over three years of ageing on the lees, the wine has been disgorged and has a dosage of 3g/l.
2015 is remembered for its very hot summer which resulted in relatively high maturity for all three grape varieties. The year was also characterized by a lack of rainfall. The average weight of a cluster rarely exceeded 90 grams. The grapes were very concentrated with alcohol levels often between 10.5 and 11.3 degrees. General acidity levels fell but thanks to strong malic acid levels, pH remained low, often around 3.05. To maintain this acidity, we decided to block the majority of malolactic fermentation in 2015. The meuniers from Damery (where we have 2 hectares of vines) were incredible, so much so that we had the idea to create a wine made from 100% meunier for the first time in our history, but in the end we decided to put all of these beautiful meuniers into our Intense because a champagne house should be judged on the quality of its brut non-vintage and we really loved the 2015 meuniers. Each year the quality of our Intense increases and its absolute perfection is the most important goal for us. The meuniers from 2015 were blended with excellent base wines from our 10 hectares of chardonnay in the Grand Cru village of Chouilly and from our 6 hectares of pinot noir from the Premier Cru village of Bisseuil.
When they took over the reins from their father in 1993, Anne and Antoine Malassagne made the decision to conserve their reserve wines in 225-litre barrels using the principle of the perpetual reserve, a process that continues to this day. A few years later, they invested in 5,000-litre casks to allow for an ageing process that was slower than in barrels.
In 2010, as part of their constant quest to improve the quality of their wines, they decided to add an additional element to the perpetual reserve by conserving some of their reserve wines in magnums under natural cork and staple. As this particular bottle has the ideal “liquid – oxygen” ratio, and as the wines age under CO2, and are therefore protected from oxygen, the cork allows very little air to enter the bottle. Due to the destruction of the yeasts by the enzymes of the wine, a phenomenon known as autolysis, a subtle and exceptional aromatic palate is able to develop. In addition to the exceptional aromatic palate that results from ageing our reserve wines in magnums under natural cork, it also means that we are better-prepared for climate change.
We have also just released AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly mag 15 as well as AR Lenoble Brut Nature Dosage Zéro mag 14. In 2020, the year of the centennial of the house (founded in 1920), we will release AR Lenoble Rosé Terroirs Chouilly-Bisseuil mag 14 for the very first time.
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