NV Étienne Calsac “L’échappée Belle” Extra Brut Blanc de Blanc (100% Chardonnay, 2017 Base, Disgorged in 2020)

Although it’s been three years now, it seems like just yesterday Mitch and I visited with Éntienne…in the basement of his grandmother’s house in Avize where we tasted his latest disgorgements and walked his most prized vineyard—Clos des Maladries—literally in his grandma’s backyard. 

Notice the bold text: 

This, folks, is grower Champagne—which is important to distinguish from the mass-produced, big brand, well-marketed stuff. There is nothing wrong with house Champagne. But to put things in perspective…drinking Grower Champagne is much akin to drinking craft beer from a small, local, independent brewer while drinking the “big house” stuff might be roughly compared to drinking the most common and distributed national brand lagers on the market. While some are passable, hardly any are soulful. 

Most importantly: Grower Champagne=Champagne that is grown and produced by the same family. 

Meet Éntienne:  

Quite simply, Entienne is a Blanc de Blanc prodigy. 

His first vintage was 2010.  

Éntienne is balls to the wall about quality. And his spirit is contagious. 

The art of the Blanc de Blanc is a unique discipline: Champagnes produced from 100% Chardonnay. These are often the prettiest of Champagnes--lifted, light on their feet and distinguished by an unmistakable salinity and mineral charge. 

Unfortunately for most, Champagne Calsac is extraordinarily allocated.

We received our first allocation in 2018 and have been pleased to be able to offer a small parcel for the third year running. 

L’échappée includes 30% reserve wine from Entienne’s “perpetual reserve”.

This is a fancy way of saying that he has a big tank of mature base wine that he has been keeping since 2011 from which each year he takes some out to blend into his annual bottling, and adds some fresh wine back in from the most recent harvest. 

Vintage after vintage the reserve wine becomes more layered and rich offering more and more complexity every year. 

And frankly, this might be the best bottling yet!

The dosage stands at a minimal 3 grams/liter—which makes it one of the driest and most balanced Champagnes in the store. 

Codey Foster, Wine Director

My Notes Read: The latest disgorgement could be his best yet. The 2017 base is simply gorgeous--on the nose: crisp green apple, lemon oil, pear, freshly baked baguette, unmistakable salinity, and wafts of crushed seashells offer a distinct mineral charge. It all comes through on the palate which is laced with the finest, smallest pearl, more minerals, and a thirst-quenching limey core. This is the real deal--a true reminder why I love Blanc de Blanc. Pair it up with popcorn, caviar, and oysters on the half shell! 12%




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