Chiquet Champagne Brut Tradition Carte Verte NV
“In 1919, two brothers, Fernand and Gaston Chiquet — winemakers born and bred — came together to create their house, Chiquet Brothers. They were ‘pioneers’ in Champagne, the very first winemakers to take the initiative, bold at the time, to keep their grapes, turn them into Champagne, and sell their own wine. Nicolas Chiquet planted his first vines in 1746, and since then eight generations have tilled Dizy’s soil.” ― Richard Juhlin, 4000 Champagnes
A guy walks into my old Brady Street shop just as I’m about to lock up for the night. It’s been a long day, and I realize I haven’t seen this guy before. He says he’s new to the neighborhood. He says he’s just moved to the city.
And then he asks me, “What’s Champagne?”
My thoughts start spinning. “Which of my disreputable friends,” I ask myself, “coerced this guy to try to play such an obvious practical joke on me?” And then I realize, this guy isn’t joking. This poor, benighted soul really doesn’t know what Champagne is.
Long story short, an hour later, the guy leaves my shop with two bottles of Gaston Chiquet Tradition ― one of them empty ― one magnum of Gaston Chiquet Tradition, and one bottle of Gaston Chiquet Millésime.
Just another happy Waterford customer!
The moral of the story is, the two first best words about Champagne are Gaston Chiquet. Not because of the estate’s history. Or because of its great terroir. Or because of the care with which the estate grows its grapes and makes its Champagne. But because Gaston Chiquet Champagne is so effing delicious.
The estate’s proprietor, winemaker, and present family descendent, Nicolas Chiquet, grows 23 hectares of premier and grand cru vineyards of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier in the Valle de la Marne region of Champagne. Which means all of the grapes Nicolas grows — including those with which he makes his non-vintage Gaston Chiquet Tradition — are premier and grand cru grapes. As a testament to the quality of his grapes, Nicolas doesn’t age any of his Champagne in oak barrels. He believes their concentration and maturity impart enough body and texture to make aging in the barrel unnecessary.
If you don’t believe Nicolas, just taste his Champagne.
Gaston Chiquet Tradition Premier Cru Brut NV is a classic blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate says the Champagne “reveals an inviting bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, fresh peach, honeycomb, citrus oil, and warm biscuits. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and charming, with a classy mousse, a succulent core of fruit and ripe but racy balancing acids.”
The Millésime Carte d’Or’ Brut 2010 is a sensuous blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. It’s ideal for any drinker who wants Champagne with just the right amount of maturity. The Millésime 2010 is summer flowers, lemon curd, almonds, pears, and autumn spice. It’s Champagne of high class and sublime beauty.
For me, this Champagne has always been an easy call. Which is exactly what I told that guy who wandered into my old Brady Street shop. I always have a few bottles of Gaston Chiquet in my cellar. A couple bottles of the Tradition, a magnum for a dinner party, and a bottle of Millésime for a special occasion.