From vines planted in 1962, the single-vineyard Jacquesson 2004 Extra Brut Avize Champ Cain leads with an utterly remarkable nose. A greenhouse-like profusion of leafing and flowering things is imposed over sea breeze, with jasmine; musky narcissus; nose-prickling spice as if from some exotic orchid; iodine-tinged toasted shrimp shells; and toasted grain all pungently present and anticipating the elusive complexity delivered on a caressingly polished yet consummately refreshing and almost ethereally delicate palate. Over time, the sense of creaminess and the refinement of bubbles became more evident, along with a contrasting impression of enhanced piquancy, suggesting hops and lentil sprouts, all in the context of remarkable poise and transparency to nuance. The endlessly fascinating finish remains infectiously juicy and subtly yet mouthwateringly saline. Lucky owners should plan to follow bottles for at least a decade. (DS)
The 2004 Avize-Champ Gain comes across as intense and vertical in style, with plenty of mineral and savory notes pushed forward. With time in the glass, the fruit emerges, but only with great reluctance. Like all the 2004s, the Avize-Champ Gain has gone into a shell from which it will eventually emerge, but its going to take a few years. 95+ Points (AG)
(100% chardonnay; disgorged February, 2013): Bright yellow. Smoky, vanilla-accented aromas of pit and orchard fruits and chalky minerals, with a sexy floral nuance in the background. At once fleshy and energetic, offering vibrant, mineral-laced nectarine and bitter pear skin flavors that stain the palate. Closes spicy and very long, with a sexy floral element clinging tenaciously. This Champagne received a very low dosage of 1.5 grams per liter. (ID)
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