2013 Ayala, Le Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France
£52.95 from thewhiskyexchange.com; £57.99, Latitude Wine & Liquor Merchant, 0113-245 3393; £55, Cambridge Wine Merchants, 01223-568989; £55, Dulwich Vintners, 020-8299 1051
This article is exquisitely timely and also rather annoyingly ahead of the game. This amazing wine works perfectly as a stunning New Year's Eve Champagne recommendation, but I am rather itchy about the fact that only a handful of stockists have listed it and only one of them, The Whisky Exchange, is showing it on their website. That is because this wine is fresh off the boat. So please bear with me and forgive me that this truly mesmerising wine is not yet more widely distributed.
I have known the Ayala brand for a long time they even made a special cuve for me for around a decade, so that certainly elevates them somewhat in my estimation! But I haven't visited for a long while and so when I tasted this impressive new vintage all of my memories flooded back.
Only made in top years, Le Blanc de Blancs is a great wine. Made from 100% chardonnay and coming entirely from the Cte des Blancs, it features a host of Grands Crus (25% Cramant, 23% Chouilly and 14% Le Mesnil-sur-Oger) and Premiers Crus (25% Cuis and 13% Vertus) in its make up, so while it is a mono-varietal, there is tremendous layering of flavour and complexity.
With six years spent ageing on the lees and a dosage of only six grams per litre, this is a mellow, but brightly acidic wine.It is ideally suited for New Year's Eve, but I'd buy enough to last you for five years, too!
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com).