Saint Chamant (Epernay/Cote des Blancs)

Charming 80-something Monsieur Christian Coquillette of Saint Chamant is the postcard picture of a more senior vigneron – lean, lively, moustache, occasionally sporting a beret, poodle. Christian whizzes around in his beaten-up van between his labyrinthine cellars under Epernay and his old Chardonnay vines in Chouilly, the first Grand Cru village on the Cote des Blancs. Champagne made from 100% Chardonnay, known as Blanc de Blancs, is fresh and lemony when young and becomes magnificently nutty with age. Biscuity, deep, round and rich, yet always with the background freshness of Chardonnay. From time to time we take some of his smooth Cuvee Creme, racy Rose and his Brut Integrale, the driest of dry Champagnes. We tend to major on his vintage Blanc de Blancs – a perrenial hit at The Winery. 1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002s are all long gone. We have two more hits of 2005 before moving on to the 2006s.

David with the Coquillettes