Vintages: 2017 (40%) and 2016 (60%)
Disgorgement: December 2021
Time on lees: 41 months
Les Prémices hails from 3.5 hectares of vines in Trigny, northwest of Reims and the Vesle river in the Massif de Saint-Thierry area. To give you your great-grower-bearings, Trigny is situated just to the west of Saint-Thierry and Merfy (where Alexandre Chartogne is based), and east of Montigny sur Vesle (where Aurélien Suenen grows the fruit for his stunning La Grande Vignecuvée). The Egly vines span seven historic lieux-dits in the commune. Like the domaine’s Vrigny vines, these plots have come via Annick Egly’s side of the family. The return of the two Egly children, Charles and Clémence, to the domaine has given Francis Egly the ability to begin producing from these plots. This is just the second release.
Reflecting what is planted in the vineyards, Les Prémices is an equal blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The vines are, on average, 40 years old and are rooted in clay, sand and sandstone over chalk bedrock—a soil typical of the Massif de Saint-Thierry. As always, the classic Egly manifesto applies here—old vines, low yields, hand harvesting of fully ripe fruit, no inoculation, long lees aging, no fining or filtration and low dosage, etc. One difference here is that the wine was fermented and aged exclusively in tank. While the first release was drawn from a single vintage (2016), this release is a 2017 base with 60% reserve wine from the intense, low-yielding 2016—so you can expect something more complex and layered from this release. The wine spent 41 months on lees and was disgorged with one gram per litre.
“Toasty and yeasty aromas dominate on the first nose, with swirling smoky intrigue. It’s full and rich on the tongue, with grilled brioche and creamy intensity paired with bruised apple skin and mashed apple flesh. Custard and viennoiserie characters give weight and body, while the finish perks up with bitter nut skin and greengage freshness. This is a Brut NV to stock up on, as the complexity is impressive for the price. An all-round winner." 94 points, Natalie Earl, Decanter