Vanguard of Natural Champagne in the Greatest Vintage since 2008: 2012 Marguet

Posted on: 01/18/19 7:03 PM


One of the fastest growing stars in Champagne, we’re huge fans of Benoît Marguet-Bonnerave, the man at the helm of Marguet. Located in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, Benoît is a fifth-generation grower that employs biodynamic farming to create captivating, highly unique wines.

Widely considered one of the most important “natural” wine producers in Champagne today, Benoît has been attracting national attention for years (a huge accomplishment in its own right with such a crowded field of rising stars in Champagne.) Famously known for his encyclopedic knowledge, the Wine Advocate’s Stephan Reinhardt told his readers Benoît “…has gigabytes to tell, and his energy seems sufficient enough to illuminate the whole region.”

But smarts and talent can get you only so far. It’s the material that Benoît is working with that makes his story (and his Champagne) so compelling. Benoît’s eight hectares are exclusively from old vines (around forty years old) from prime-time lieux dits, all entirely in Grand Cru villages. All his fruit is organic, the majority of which is grown through the principles of bio-dynamics (this means no herbicides or pesticides). In a region where disease pressure can be harrowingly high, you have to be slightly crazy and extremely talented to produce these kind of wines. Why does he do this? Benoît is convinced that “in the future, wines won’t be rated just upon their aromatic characteristics and pleasures, but in equal parts with respect to nature, farming and health aspects.”

In the winery the work is done entirely by gravity. Fermentation is done plot by plot in old barrels with lengthy aging on its lees. Sugar is never added, and the use of sulfites is virtually non-existent. For fans of grower champagne (especially Benoit Lahaye and Vincent Laval) grabbing a few bottles of Marguet should be an absolute no brainer.

2012 Marguet Ambonnay Grand Cru Les Crayères

“The 2012 Ambonnay Grand Cru Les Crayères is from what is possibly Ambonnay’s most prestigious lieu-dit and blends 72% Pinot Noir with 28% Chardonnay from roughly 45-year-old vines. (In former vintages, the Chardonnay percentage was much higher than the Pinot part, yet the 2014 will even be a pure Blanc de Noirs!) Bottled in July 2013 and disgorged with no dosage and no added sulfites in May 2017, this white-golden colored Crayères offers a deep and rich bouquet of perfectly ripe fruit, butterscotch and pastry intermixed with very fine mineral/iodine flavors. On the palate, this is a pure, fresh, salty, very elegant and complex cuvée with lemony freshness in the purely chalky and salty finish. It’s perhaps the finest and most elegant but also the sharpest lieu-dit bottling of the 2012 vintage from Benoît Marguet. The acidity is nerve-wrenchingly fresh and still needs to be fully integrated. The 2012 is also pretty rich and generous as well as very complex. It should be interesting to follow the development of the 2012 in the coming years. Total production: 4,091 bottles.” 93 Points, Wine Advocate

2012 Marguet Ambonnay Grand Cru Les Crayères

“Benoît Marguet’s citrus-yellow colored 2012 Ambonnay Grand Cru Les Bermonts is an excitingly pure and mineral Chardonnay from a pretty flat single lieu-dit in Ambonnay with vines that were planted in 1952 on deep topsoils covering the chalk. The wine spent almost four years on the second lees before the disgorgement in May 2017. It has fine and matured bright fruit on the nose that is perfectly intertwined with spicy/herbal (almost ethereal) and chalky/iodine terroir flavors. Lean, fresh and elegant on the first palate, this is an intense, highly finessed and pretty complex Blanc de Blancs with great purity and persistent salinity in the long, mouthwatering finish. It’s still young, but with oysters and any seafood or (raw) fish, it should be just perfect. Zéro dosage, just 17 milligrams per liter of added sulfites. 2,277 bottles produced, and each one is worthy of adoration as a terroir wine par excellence. Tasted May 2018.” 94 Points, Wine Advocate

NV Marguet Shaman Rose (2014 Base)

“Predominantly based on 2014 and a blend of 67% Chardonnay with 33% Pinot Noir, Benoît Marguet’s NV Shaman 14 Rosé Grand Cru displays a pale salmon color and a lovely pure, fresh and delicate bouquet of red berries, cherries, citrus and floral notes. Round and elegant yet bone dry on the palate, this is a filigreed yet structured rosé with a good, cleansing, aromatic finish and very delicate, stimulating grip. The wine was bottled in July 2015 and disgorged in February 2018. Tasted May 2018..” 91 Points, Wine Advocate

Posted in Daily Flash By Tim Sellon