Drink Distinct: Wines & Producers

Champagne Artisan - Nicolas Maillart

Nicolas Maillart is a dedicated and gifted grower and winemaker. What impresses me most is his willingness and ability to employ different approaches across his range of offerings. 


Some examples:

  • He ferments some wines in steel tanks, others in oak barrels and still others in a combination of the two. The effects of these choices can be significant. Maillart seems more concerned with seeking the best expression for a particular wine than he is with displaying his own signature on them.
  • A varied approach to malolactic fermentation (MLF). For a few decades, there has been a growing, though still minority contingent in Champagne that eschews MLF, a vinification process in which naturally occurring malic acid is allowed to convert to lactic acid. This is what gives many Champagnes their buttery, rich and smooth taste. By preventing this type of fermentation, the winemaker can produce a fresher, tarter wine that some believe expresses terroir more transparently.
  • Maillart uses different degrees of dosage. You will recall that this is the wine/sugar mixture added to balance acidity/sweetness and impact texture. 

The three wines that we are offering - and tasting with Nicolas via video in a few weeks - reflect this flexibility.

 

NV Brut Platine 1er Cru

The base wine ages in tank while the reserve wine remains in barrel. MLF occurs and the dosage is 8g/L. I find this wine very lithe given the high proportion of Pinot Noir and very refreshing given the MLF. Fine purity for a “simple” Brut. Delicious! View the wine

 

2011 Les Chaillots Gillis 1er Cru Extra Brut

Fermented and aged entirely in oak and MLF is prevented. Dosage is an extremely low 2g/L. This top-shelf Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) has tangy freshness resulting from low dosage + no MLF but is rich and sensual from the oak. A brilliant balancing act. View the wine

 

NV Brut Rosé Grand Cru Brut

Fermentation is a combo of tank and barrel. MLF occurs and the dosage is 6 G/L. Grand Cru pedigree is evident compared to Platine in depth and complexity. The oak treatment clearly adds richness as well. This is a serious Rosé. View the wine
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