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The Master Francis Egly by Volodymyr Antonov

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EN

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Boris Buliga

Fresh releases by The Master Francis Egly.


In the world of wine appreciation, it's the wine itself and the ensuing conversation that truly matter. While stories and philosophies can be enriching, they pale in comparison when the wine itself is mediocre. However, in the case of Francis Egly, the narrative is different. Here's a winemaker who prefers to let the eloquence of his wines speak for themselves, proving that sometimes the most profound tales are those told in silence, through the medium of meticulous craftsmanship1.

The Champagne region has traditionally been dominated by the Grandes Marques2, who focused on brand consistency, often overshadowing the unique expression of terroir. These large houses blended grapes from various vineyards to achieve a uniform style year after year. However, the 1980s marked a turning point when a few growers, including Egly, chose to diverge from this path. His 'Franz Ferdinand' moment could be seen as a gradual realization and growing dissatisfaction with the status quo, where the unique qualities of his vineyards were not being fully expressed in the wines that were produced by the large houses. This led him to take control of the entire process, from grape growing to winemaking, ensuring that the wines he produced were a true reflection of his vineyard's potential. Together with a few other visionaries like Anselme Selosse, he initiated what would later be known as the small grower's revolution, reshaping the landscape of Champagne production.

The vineyards of Egly-Ouriet, predominantly nestled in the esteemed Grand Cru villages of Ambonnay, Verzenay, and Bouzy, are a testament to Francis's devotion to terroir expression. Dominated by Pinot Noir with a significant presence of Chardonnay, the vines, with an average age of around 45 years, are deeply rooted in the chalky soils. This mature vineyard composition is integral to Egly's philosophy, drawing out a rich narrative of complexity and depth from each vine.

Francis's commitment to excellence is further exemplified in his unconventional approach to harvesting. He often begins when others in the region have finished, allowing the grapes to achieve optimal ripeness. This practice, though risky due to the potential of overripening, is feasible on his 16 hectares and results in a distinctive concentration, complexity, and vinous quality in his wines.

In the winery, Egly's approach is both traditional and innovative. He uses indigenous yeasts to initiate fermentation and gravity to move the wine to used French oak barrels for maturation. The use of Burgundian barrels, which he sources from his friend Dominique Laurent, was not a common practice in Champagne when Francis started doing it. After maturation, the wines are bottled for the second fermentation, and they spend a minimum of 36 months on lees. For certain cuvées, this ageing can extend to over a hundred months.

Egly's unwavering commitment to excellence is the essence of Egly-Ouriet, rooted not just in the terroir of Ambonnay but also in his relentless pursuit of perfection. His wines are not merely bubbly beverages; they are narratives of passion, precision, and patience, each glass a silent yet eloquent representation of the winemaker's craft.

While the mystery of the winemaker adds a layer of intrigue, it's the wine that truly captivates. Francis Egly's reticence is eloquently compensated by the expressive and complex character of his wines. In a world where stories often overshadow substance, Egly-Ouriet's offerings stand as a testament to the fact that sometimes the most profound stories are those unspoken, savoured in the quiet complexity of a well-crafted glass. This is the essence that makes our wine-tasting event not just an event, but a symphony of exquisite expressions, a silent symphony in a glass.

WinePlace
wavg
sdev
price
QPR
🏅 5th4.32410.0156
3,032 UAH
1.3043
🏅 7th4.25130.0096
4,100 UAH
0.8605
🏅 4th4.33350.0128
3,500 UAH
1.1469
🏅 6th4.28350.0185
5,900 UAH
0.6289
🥈 2nd4.72910.0158
21,500 UAH
0.3540
🥇 1st4.76270.0073
13,900 UAH
0.5788
🥉 3rd4.56580.0067
11,500 UAH
0.5063

Egly-Ouriet Les Prémices (d2023) NV

Type
white sparkling, extra-brut
Region
Champagne AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
NV, based on 2019
Disgorged
2023-07
On lees
36 months
Grapes
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
1
Price
3032 UAH
Egly-Ouriet Les Prémices (d2023) NV

This wine secured the 🏅 5th place in our wine tasting lineup.

This 'entry-level' wine is truly wonderful. It offers a sophisticated bouquet of honeysuckle, pear candy, plum, and fresh bread, subtly enriched by notes of honey, nuts, and oil. The complexity and multilayered nature are impressive, yet the wine remains approachable and inviting.

Almost full-bodied, it makes a strong impact and leaves a long-lasting impression, concluding with a pleasant bitterness. Its round and polished character speaks to its near-perfect balance.

This wine demonstrates that 'entry-level' can still mean an experience of depth and sophistication, making it a memorable and delightful choice.

Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Bisseuil 1er Cru (d2023) NV

Type
white sparkling, extra-brut
Region
Champagne AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
NV, based on 2018
Disgorged
2023-07
On lees
48 months
Grapes
Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
2
Price
4100 UAH
Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Bisseuil 1er Cru (d2023) NV

This wine secured the 🏅 7th place in our wine tasting lineup.

The wine presents a delicate and subtle bouquet, with orchard fruits, nuts, white bread, and butter, complemented by hints of bakery spices.

On the palate, it's round, fresh, and quite generous, featuring a pillow-like mousse. The long-lasting chalky finish, accented by smokey notes, contributes to its vinous and complex character.

IMO, this wine would benefit from more time in the bottle.

Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Vrigny 1er Cru (d2023) NV

Type
white sparkling, extra-brut
Region
Champagne AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
NV, based on 2019
Disgorged
2023-07
On lees
36 months
Grapes
Pinot Meunier
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
2
Price
3500 UAH
Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Vrigny 1er Cru (d2023) NV

This wine secured the 🏅 4th place in our wine tasting lineup.

This wine boasts a delicate yet sophisticated bouquet, abundant with lemon candy, bread, cider, bruised apple, and cherry plum, subtly accented by hints of cheese. Its complexity is evident, presenting a vinous and multilayered character that engages the senses. The palate is intense and assertive, yet beautifully balanced by a pillow-like mousse. The finish is exceptionally long and flavourful, leaving a lasting impression. Incredible QPR.

Egly-Ouriet Rosé Grand Cru (d2023) NV

Type
rose sparkling, extra-brut
Region
Champagne AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
NV
Disgorged
2023-07
On lees
60 months
Grapes
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
2
Price
5900 UAH
Egly-Ouriet Rosé Grand Cru (d2023) NV

This wine secured the 🏅 6th place in our wine tasting lineup.

The bouquet of this wine is initially a bit restrained, truly blossoming after some aeration. It then reveals beautiful notes of praline, pastila, orange zest, cherry blossoms, red apples, white cherry, and chausson aux pommes.

The palate is where this wine shines brightly – it's a bit grippy, giving a sensation you can almost chew it, yet it's also intense, generous, and racy, complemented by a pillow-like mousse. The finish is appealing, with a nice touch of orange oil.

IMO, it's a bit too early to drink this wine.

Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru 2014

Type
white sparkling, brut
Region
Champagne AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
2014
Disgorged
2023-07
On lees
96 months
Grapes
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
1
Price
21500 UAH
Egly-Ouriet Brut Grand Cru 2014

This wine secured the 🥈 2nd place in our wine tasting lineup.

The wine offers an opulent bouquet of honeycomb, ripe fruits, and salted peanuts. As it continues to open up with time, it reveals even more complexity, showcasing spices, cider, freshly baked bread, cherry plum, and a hint of jam. It's a truly charming and inviting bouquet.

On the palate, the wine doesn't disappoint. It's incredibly concentrated, vinous, racy, deep, and impressively complex with multiple layers of flavors. The purity and focus of this wine are exceptional, making it a standout choice. The finish is long and leaves a delightful salty sensation with a subtle smoky touch.

Given its current state, it's evident that this wine has excellent aging potential. Tasting it again in a few years would likely reveal even more of its remarkable qualities, making it a highly anticipated experience.

Egly-Ouriet Les Crayères Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru (d2023) NV

Type
white sparkling, extra-brut
Region
Champagne AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
NV, based on 2016
Disgorged
2023-07
On lees
72 months
Grapes
Pinot Noir
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
2
Price
13900 UAH
Egly-Ouriet Les Crayères Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru (d2023) NV

This wine secured the 🥇 1st place in our wine tasting lineup.

The wine's bouquet is not only generous but also beautifully complete and integral, making it a challenge to pinpoint specific descriptors. Nevertheless, I managed to discern some notable notes, including praline, honey, pastila, white bread, white currant, and white flowers.

Despite its inherent power, the wine retains an elegant and somewhat soft character with a pillow-like mousse. Its complexity is truly remarkable, offering multiple layers of flavor that delve deep into the palate. The balance is impeccable, and the aftertaste is exceptionally long and continues to evolve over time. Flavors reminiscent of bruised apples, baked apples with honey, apple candy, lemon candy, and a hint of Jerez grace the palate.

This wine is nothing short of incredible, and what's even more remarkable is that, despite its sophisticated nature, it remains approachable and irresistibly delicious.

Egly-Ouriet Coteaux Champenois Cuvée des Grands Côtés Vielles Vignes Grand Cru Ambonnay Rouge 2017

Type
red still, dry
Region
Coteaux Champenois AOC, France
Producer
Egly-Ouriet
Vintage
2017
Grapes
Pinot Noir
Alcohol
12.5
Sugar
0
Price
11500 UAH (for 2021)
Egly-Ouriet Coteaux Champenois Cuvée des Grands Côtés Vielles Vignes Grand Cru Ambonnay Rouge 2017

This wine secured the 🥉 3rd place in our wine tasting lineup.

Without a doubt, this wine is truly remarkable, and when compared to the 2018 vintage, it shines with its completeness, complexity, and sheer deliciousness. The bouquet it presents is a thing of beauty, reminiscent of wet forest floor, with vivid images of damp leaves, mushrooms, limestone, ripe fruits, and a touch of compote.

On the palate, it continues to impress with its complexity, offering multiple layers of flavor that unfold gracefully. It maintains a delicate and long-lasting presence, leaving a lasting impression. The wine's mineral and slightly bitter finish, combined with good acidity and subtle ripe tannins, contribute to its nearly perfect balance.

This is undoubtedly a wine to savor and cherish. And it's evident that this wine is in excellent condition and is absolutely ready to be enjoyed.

Resources

Raw scores

WineVolodymyr ABoris BElvira KAnton TOlgaMashaAnyaSerhiiDimaYanaNastyaSerhii
4.354.204.304.304.204.604.504.204.404.504.304.30
4.304.304.204.204.104.204.204.104.204.404.40
4.354.404.404.454.304.204.304.304.304.304.004.20
4.304.304.204.204.004.304.504.204.404.204.504.20
4.804.804.704.704.604.904.804.604.804.604.504.50
4.604.904.804.654.804.804.804.804.904.804.804.70
4.504.504.604.604.704.604.704.704.704.604.504.50

Footnotes

  1. This topic was also raised in Rosso Oslavia, when we discussed Radikon and Dario Prinčič.

  2. This topic was discussed in more details as part of Small Growers: 45 years past the revolution. Unfortunately, we were too tired to open a magnum of Brut Grand Cru 2006, which waited us patiently till La Grande Années.