Gosset, founded in 1584, is the oldest still-wine producer in Champagne (They switched to sparkling winemaking in the late 18th century). It is located in Aÿ, the Grand Cru village growing some of the most coveted Pinot Noirs. To sum up the quality of Aÿ Pinots, in the 16th century, the two red wines that fought for a place on the king’s table were from Aÿ and Beaune respectively. Due to Gosset’s prime location and their rich and toasty champagne style, I had always thought their wines were mainly composed of Pinot Noir. This trip corrected my assumptions. In fact, most of their blends have at least an equal part of Chardonnay, from the entry-level Brut Excellence (42% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 13% Pinot Meunier) to their top-of-the-line 1996 Celebris (65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir). According to Philippe Manfredini, the International Export Director, the style of the house didn’t always carry as much Chardonnay. “It was in the late 1980s when cellar master Jean-Pierre Mareigner started to purchase a large quantity of Chardonnay and increased this trend over the 1990s. The main goals were to freshen and enhance the elegance of the cuvées without dramatically changing Gosset’s style.”
The style of the house is based on the rich and voluptuous character of the Aÿ Pinot Noir with crispness from the large percentage of top village Chardonnay as well as no malolactic fermentation. The high proportion of Chardonnay also guarantees longer ageing potential for the wines. I learned that Gosset will be releasing their first 100% Chardonnay wine, Celebris Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, later this year. An unexpected new wine for this venerable house. I am bubbling with excitement, especially since it will be another addition to the brut zero family.