Penet-Chardonnet “TerroirEscence” (Verzy & Verzenay Grand Cru Extra Brut)
Price for The Champagne Society members: $75 (regular price $89)
Penet-Chardonnet is an historic Champagne grower/producer located in the village of Verzy in Montagne de Reims. Fifth generation winemaker Alexandre Penet holds 14 acres of vines located across the Grand Cru villages of Verzy and Verzenay known for its Pinot Noir.
From an early age, Alexandre assisted his grandfather Emile and then his father Christian in the art of making champagne. Yet as a young man, Alexandre decided to make his own way in the world, first as an engineer, and then eventually earning an MBA from the University of Chicago Business School. But the siren song of Champagne called him back to the family estate where he, along with his wife Martine, have created a range of distinctive, top quality Champagnes produced to exacting standards. Wines that combine character, freshness and low dosage. Indeed, Alexandre is a believer in both limiting dosage and not allowing malolactic fermentation so as the expression of terroir can be fully realized.
You may already be familiar with the wines of Alexandre Penet under his négociant label of low and zero dosage Champagnes. The December 2018 Selection for The Champagne Society is produced from the family’s own vineyards. “TerroirEscence” is made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonny from a special selection of Grand Cru parcels in Verzy and Verzenay. It is blended with oak barrel matured reserve wines and represents the essence of Penet’s terroir while perfectly expressing the producer’s style of richness, complexity, and minerality. The base wine is from the 2010 vintage and the wine was bottled on May 26, 2011. After over six years of aging in the bottle the wine was disgorged on August 30, 2017. The dosage is 5.6 grams per liter. Less than 8,000 bottles are produced and each bottle is individually numbered.
In the glass a golden hue hints at maturity. Big and round on the palate, ripe grapefruit and melon eventually turn to mild spice and a hint of toasted nuts. A tight vein of acidity gives the wine great balance and drinkability followed by a long mineral finish.