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The Hambletonian Society has partnered with acclaimed Champagne maker Nicolas Maillart to create a wine to mark the victory of Ramona Hill in the 96th Hambletonian Stakes. This is world-class Champagne and the bottle is a wonderful collector's item for any harness racing aficionado.
Our tasting impressions
The Pinot Noir provides excellent structure and depth but there is nothing heavy about the wine. In fact, it’s quite refreshing and delicious with very pure fruit flavors. Drinking well now but it will evolve and develop more complexity over several years.
About this wine
The Hambletonian Champagne is produced by Champagne Nicolas Maillart located in Écueil. It is his highly popular Non-vintage Brut, which is a mix of 1er & Grand Cru grapes mostly from Écueil and some from Villers Allerand and Bouzy. The vines are more than 25 years old in clay and limestone soil. The composition is 64% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Meunier. Forty percent of the blend is from reserve wine.
The grapes are slowly and gently pressed using gravity-flow techniques. Fermentation is in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and in barrel for the reserve wines. Aged three years on its lees with 40% in oak barrels. Disgorged by hand and laid down for 3 months.
As an aperitif, serve at about 46-50 degrees or with a meal at 50-55.
The Maillart Family has been farming grapes in the village of Montagne de Reims since at least 1753, though there is evidence that they may have been associated with these vineyards 200 years prior.
Nicolas (9th generation) has been in charge since 2003. He is deeply committed to sustainable farming. Maillart is one of the first Champagne estates labeled both HVE (Haute Valeur Environnementale or High Environmental Value in English) and sustainable viticulture. His installation of photovoltaic panels resulted in energy production almost equaling their usage.
The 8.5-hectare estate of only 1er and Grand Cru vineyards in Bouzy, Ecueil and Villers-Allerand are planted to 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. All of their plots are well-situated about halfway up their respective slopes.
In the cellar, fermentation and maturation can occur either in tank, barrel or both depending on the source. The result is a variety of styles for creating blends, as well as the option of producing a wine from a single, particularly impressive batch of grapes. Six different cuvées are produced.