Wine Blogging Wednesday #25: Champagne Fleury

(Posted by Max: Maki is out of commission since her Powerbook's system disk went belly up yesterday.)

When Sam from Becks & Posh announced the Wine Blogging Wednesday #25 to be about Champagne, it gave me a reason to dig a bit through the cellar, where I found a long-forgotten bottle of a Champagne Fleury which must be almost 10 years old.

champagne-label.jpg

It reminded me of the way I got this bottle. Many years ago, I got an assignment for updating a company brochure for a stock metals dealer. The brochure was very heavy on photos, so we were supposed to do some shooting in their warehouses and workshops. So, I rented (as normal for such a project) studio flash equipment and got there. To make the story short, instead of the planned 2 days, I spent 4 long, tedious days in that place.

The company was a family operation, and one of the two sons was more interested in importing wine than copper. And for the inconveniences I had with them, he handed me a wooden box, a gift pack, containing a bottle of that champagne with two matching glasses.

The project eventually got finished, after long, long discussions about whether to use photos of their own staff, or to use stock photos for the office shots. (I recall that one of the sons really wanted to use photos of sexy young girls, never mind that the youngest female worker in their office was probably in her late 40s...)

Anyway, that bottle got into the cellar, and kind of forgotten.

champagne-glass.jpg

Tasting: Champagne Fleury Brut, Elaboré par Fleury Père et Fils, Courteron; no vintage, but most likely produced from the 1996 crop. The back label states that only organic fertilizer and compost is used. According to the Fleury Website, it is a fully organic product.

When trying an over-aged wine, one has to expect surprises. One may or may not like the result, and it could be that the wine has simply turned bad. That said, we opened our minds and then the bottle.

... and the results were positively surprising

A champagne with a light amber color and medium size pearls. The bouquet started with flowers and caramel, and then got a stronger and stronger tone of honey. And honey, it was. The first taste gave the feeling of drinking essence of honey we tasted in many places in the Provence. It was something between acacia and forest flowers, but not as strong as chestnut honey ... very intensive.

This kind of champagne is defniitely not suited for an aperitif. It would well suit rather strongly flavored smoked fish, such as mackarel or a hearty terrine. We didn't eat anything with this bottle particularly because of the system disk belly-up problem which led some crankiness from a certain party.

Conclusion: we liked it very much, well knowing that this was a one-time experience. It even lessened some crankiness a bit.

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Comments

wow, that sounds very interesting. i'm starting to get into wine but haven't yet developed a fine enough palate to discern some of the lighter flavor blendings. great post.

The interesting thing was...we had about 1/3rd of the bottle left. When we had the remainder on Saturday eve, and it had amazingly lost almost all its honey tones, leaving behind just fruity notes. Odd! Either way though it was a surprisingly good champagne.

Thank you! This was especially interesting for me, because we are the Irish importers for Fleury. I hope you won't mind if I tell your story when customers are asking how long champagne can be expected to keep.

Julian: Thanks, and feel free to tell this story (and don't forget to tell 'em where you read it). It was stored in a "normal" (normal for an older house) cellar, but no further climate control.

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