“These are stellar wines. It’s as simple as that.” -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
This Article Contains
Nicolas and Antoine Chiquet along with Antoine’s daughter Marion
Wines of texture and purity, rich, but sleek, concentrated, yet buoyant. Luxury you can afford to drink.
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- Dizy, 1er Cru, home base
- Aÿ, Grand Cru
- Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, (Super)-1er Cru)
- Cumières, 1er Cru
- Hautvillers, 1er Cru
- Vauzelles: on the western side of Aÿ (a Pinot Noir village) are planted with Chardonnay from the 1930’s
- Haut Crohauts: same as Vauzelles, both go into the Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ
- Crohauts-Guillemoine, Dizy
- Cerisières, Dizy
- Sous-Chienne, Dizy
- Moque-Bouteille, Dizy
- La Grange de Dizy, confusingly in Hautvillers
- Colombier, Hautvillers
- This was the northern edge of viticulture until recent decades
- 2nd most northern grape growing region in France, after Alsace, but much less sunshine and more rain.
- Harsh cold winters, short hot summers
- Rain in summer, snow in winter
- Very wet climate, although drought has been an issue in recent vintages because of climate change
- Viticulture is possible because of long, (hopefully) dry, temperate autumns to extend the growing season.
- Because ripeness was a struggle, grapes are usually grown for white wine, or in the last 150 years, sparkling wines.
- Variations between his sites are due to aspect, elevation and proximity to water, like the Marne river.
- Cool climate red varieties Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier dominate, but the vast majority are destined for white or rosé sparkling wines.
- Wines are going to be high in acidity, light in body, low in alcohol, and often need extended aging of 18 months or more to temper the high acidity.
- Sugar is often added to wines at the end, called dosage, to help balance the high acidities from cold climate grapes.
- Chardonnay, 50%
- a high percentage for the Grande Vallée
- Adds finesse and freshness
- Often a signature lemon meringue pie flavor profile.
- If handled reductively, can impart white flower, ginger, green apple, quince and other primary flavors
- Oxidative or aged examples can be full of brioche, kernel, honey and truffle
- Does best in east facing sites with little to no top soil on chalk and other limestones
- Pinot Meunier, 30%
- Supple and fruity, often easier to drink younger than the other two, which makes it a great blending partner.
- Had a poor reputation until the last decade as it was planted in the worst sites, poorly farmed, and over-cropped as a work-horse, or filler grape.
- Now we know when treated with care, it can shine brilliantly on its own or add an inimitable character to a blend (notably in Krug).
- Easier to grow than the other two. It buds later than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, meaning it's a great insurance policy against the late frosts that can decimate the groups of Champagne.
- Its dynamic nature also means it can find a home in any of the soil types of the region, but furthermore, can express terroir with clarity.
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- Pinot Noir, 20%
- Critical for structure and body, more powerful than the other two grapes
- Fruit profile can include red apple, strawberry, apricot, and peach
- Savory notes of spices, stones, rose petal and violet
- Almost always the grape used for rosé Champagne
- Shows best in on south facing sites with clay over chalk
- The vineyards are all sélection massale, rather than modern clones
- Certified Champagne Sustainable Viticulture
- Certified High Environmental Value (HVE)
- Biodiversity conservation, terroir and landscape development
- Plant protection strategy using alternative methods
- Management of fertilizer use
- Accountable management of water, waste-water, by-products and waste
- 30-50% are planted with grass
- Helps with run-off, erosion, and disease
- Pheromone treatment for pests
- A mix of older and younger plots
- Each parcel is pressed and vinified separately before blending
- First press, and the best wines comes from the traditional vertical basket press
- The subsequent two presses are programed on a 4,000 kg Coquart, allowing them to do each parcel separately
- All wines ferment in stainless steel
- All go through malolactic fermentation
- Non-vintage wines age for 2-3 years (legal minimum is 18 months)
- Vintage for 6-10 years (legal minimum is 3 years)
- Riddling is a combination of hand work and gyropalettes.
- Dosage and topping up is made entirely of sugar and juice from the "Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ"
- Use Mytik diamant corks to avoid any TCA/cork taint
The Chiquet family has been growing grapes in the Pinot Noir-centric Grande Vallée since the mid-1700s, and they were among the first to make and bottle Champagne under their own name, in the aftermath of World War I. The very way we think of Champagne today would not exist, were it not for the many generations of Chiquet's devoted to their vines.
Each Chiquet Champagne, even the entry-level non-vintage wines, comes from Premier or Grand Cru sites. They are perhaps best known for producing a singular, outstanding Blanc de Blancs Champagne from the Grand Cru, Pinot Noir village of Aÿ; it manages to express both the mineral charm of Chardonnay-based Champagne and the unique terroir of the village.
A founding member of the Club Tresors de Champagne (Special Club).
The fruit comes from great parcels of many older vine plots, offering a particular richness and concentration. Texture is also added through malolactic fermentation, but a crisp backbone is kept intact with all stainless steel aging.
These are great deals for those who like to find a balance between elegance, delicacy and depth.
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Tradition Brut, NV $54.99 $48.39
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Tradition Brut, NV (375ml) $35.99 $31.67
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Tradition Brut, NV (1.5L) $119.99 $105.59
"The NV Brut Tradition (2016 base) is a fine start to this tasting of new releases from Chiquet. Exotic tropical notes give the Tradition lovely aromatic presence to match its airy, nuanced personality. All the elements are so nicely balanced. This release is perhaps a bit light, but it is also quite harmonious and appealing, especially for the price. Disgorged: January, 2022. 88 pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Rosé Brut, NV $59.99 $52.79
"The NV Brut Rosé (2020 base) is stellar. Lifted floral and savory accents meld into a core of punchy red-toned fruit. Cranberry, white pepper, mint, crushed rocks and blood orange build into the nervy, resonant finish. The Rosé is light in color and finessed, but also has tons of richness, much of that coming from the 18% still Pinot in the blend. Disgorged: March, 2022. 92 pts" -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Cuvée de Réserve Brut, NV $59.99 $52.79
"A mouthwatering Champagne, with a streak of chalky minerality underscoring flavors of ripe green apple and black raspberry fruit, toasted almond and blood orange gelée. Floral finish. Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Disgorged October 2022. Drink now. 200 cases imported. 91pts" -- Wine Spectator
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ Brut, NV $61.99 $54.55
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ Brut, NV (1.5L) $159.99 $140.79
"With its lively, lacy mousse and well-cut acidity, this balanced Champagne would serve well as an aperitif, while its fine mesh and focused creamed apple, biscuit, preserved lemon and minerally brine flavors also recommend this to food. Try with fresh-shucked oysters or other shellfish. Disgorged December 2022. Drink now. 650 cases imported. 93pts" - Wine Spectator
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Millésime Carte d'Or Brut, 2018 $71.99 $63.35
"A bright, lively Champagne, with a crisp texture to the mousse as it carries flavors of crunchy white peach, blood orange sorbet, slivered almond and licorice. Disgorged January 2023. Drink now. 375 cases imported. 90 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ Brut, 2013 $82.99 $73.03
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ Brut, 2013 (1.5L) $160.00 $140.80
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Blanc de Blancs d'Aÿ Brut, 2014 (1.5L) $160.00 $140.80
Gaston Chiquet, Champagne Spécial Club Brut, 2015 $98.99 $87.11
"Finely balanced, with bright acidity enlivening delicately woven flavors of cherry, crushed almond, blood orange sorbet and toast point. Satiny in texture, with floral and mineral accents on the finish. Disgorged January 2023. Drink now through 2028. 625 cases imported. 93 pts" -- Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator