Champagne Tarlant “Zero” Brut Nature
Two Half Bottles
Price for The Champagne Society members: $64
The Tarlant family has tended vines in the Vallée de la Marne since 1687. They began producing their own wine in the 1870s. Such a long and rich history has allowed Benoît Tarlant, the latest family member to head the estate, to continue their reign as one of the region’s most distinguished growers. Benoît’s sister, Mélanie, works the business and marketing side of the operation.
Benoît’s Ultimate goal is to make zero-dosage Champagne by means of harvesting his fruit when it reaches its “prettiest” maturity — full of flavor with the acidity in balance. But he is not an absolutist. He will adjust his philosophy when the wines call for it, although it is rare for him to produce a wine that receives more than 6g/L dosage (just a hair over Extra Brut).
Based in the village of Oeuilly, the estate totals 34 acres spread across 57 parcels, each vinified separately. The vines average around 30 years old. Benoit embraces the diversity of his many plots but finds it a challenge to cultivate so many distinct sites using one strict technique. Subsequently, he employs a range of methods depending on the site. Some parcels are managed with biodynamic techniques, some organic, and some with Benoît’s form of “herbal therapy,” where various beneficial herbs are planted among the vines.
“Zero” is one of Champagne’s best Brut Nature (zero dosage) wines. There are decades of effort in perfecting the cuvée as Benoît’s father, Georges, has been making it since the early 1980s, long before it became trendy. The blend is roughly equal proportions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Ripe fruit, several vintages of reserve wine, and long aging on the lees combine to produce a wine of beautiful depth. Layers of ripe yellow plum, peach, and citrus precede a honey-toasted richness.