Michael Edwards on Champagne Agrapart

Pascal Agrapart comes to London

Michael Edwards’ comments in his blog www.michaelbulles.blogspot.comon the champagnesof Pascal Agrapart ‘probably the most incisive winemaker in Avize’ who was intown to show his range of champagnes at Vine Trail’s Pascal Agrapart champagnetasting at Quality Chop House in the Farringdon Road....

‘Pascal has always been quite Burgundian in his respect for hisprivileged soils esp in Avize and Cramant but very Champenois in hiswinemaking: precise and supremely adaptive in his use of oak or tank, dependingon the weight and character of individual wines and differently styledvintages. The 'malo' is always conducted at Agrapart, but it is a measure ofPascal's flair that perhaps the greatest wine on the day was a 2005, adifficult, largely too warm vintage prone to oxidation. Not 'Mineral' 05, whichkept its driving mineral focus quite intact. Bravo.’

Here is the race card of six front runners, using stars and the WOFW scorescale out of 20 points. If the numbers and the words don't match, follow thewords!

Les '7 Crus' NV Brut (90/10 Chard/PN ,the first time Pascal has used a little Premier Cru PN Avenas (up from Mareuilsur Ay) in his blend. Initial elevage 25% in oak. 30months ageing under crown cap. Dosage 7g/l.) Veryhealthy and vibrant pale yellow, the vigour of seemingly 08 Chardonnay tempered by the gras Pinot ripeness in09. Smart. *** 16 now

'Terroirs' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs ExtraBrut ( 2007 + 2008. grands crus of Avize, Cramant, Oger & Oiry. Initial elevage 25% in oak. 42 months aging under crown cap.Dosage 5g/l). Bright yellow, maturing hint of gold, dynamic quite punchy bubbles.Lively and energetic mouthfeel, still wound and tight, un peu serree but very promising. Drink atChristmas 2013. ***(*) 16.5

'Mineral' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2005 ExtraBrut (50:50 Avize & Cramant. Initial elevage 50% in oak. 6 yrs bottle aging under crown cap. Dosage 4g/l) Something of a miracle intesting conditions. Perfectly judged ripeness & acidity, pervaded withwonderful mineral flavours, the brisk impact of the chalk. Nothing overdone orout of balance. long and fine. Brilliant winemaking. Grand Vin ***** 18.5

L'Aviseoise Grand Cru Blanc de Blance 2005 ExtraBrut (100% grand cru Avize. Initial elevage 100% in oak. 6 years bottle aging under clampedcork). Hedonism in the glass from first sip to last swallow. Richness, gras, heralded by the golden hue...one senses thebeneficial, enhancing complexity of oxygenating oak. I do like the wine verymuch, but for the moment 'Mineral' seems finer- or rather it is to mytaste. Re-taste in a years time ****17.5

'Venus' Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2005 (100 % Avize.Initial elevage 100 % inoak; 6yrs bottle age under clamped cork). Golden dramatichue - but the decision to make it without dosage in this hot harvest seems spot-on. Ithas all the elegance and depth of Avize yet is crystalline, incisive, veryPascal. But at the end of the day it's still the Mineral 05 that sings to me.And it's thirty pounds cheaper. One mustn't quibble though.**** 18

'Mineral, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2002 ExtraBrut (50:50 Avize & Cramant, Initial elevage 50% in oak.6 years bottle age under crown cap. Dosage 4 g/l) Very richstyle just this side of a little corpulence, not yet sure where it's going butstill remarkable now. **** 17