Wine Geek Recommended
Meet the CoolVines Wine Geek! He’ll guide you toward – or away from! – wines that have a unique flavor profile: intentionally oxidized wines, earthy, stinky wines, wines with a bit of fritz on the tongue. Look for him throughout our web site, and on the shelves in our stores, to point the way toward these geeky wines.
A blend of 63% Chardonnay and 37% Pinot Noir, this ripe, concentrated vintage Champagne coats the palate with citrus and orchard fruit notes and a long, vibrant, mineral-inflected finish. Pour as an aperitif or pair with briny oysters or sushi.
Charles Ellner is situated in Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region, and was founded in 1972 by Charles Ellner, a professional riddler who had been buying his own vineyards on the side and making small production champagnes for a small but dedicated clientele. Since then, Charles Ellner has grown to become a large and worldwide esteemed family-owned brand. In the hands of the fourth generation, the house now encompasses more than 54 hectares of vineyards in 15 villages situated throughout the principal vinegrowing areas of Champagne (Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Valle de la Marne, Région de Sézanne, L’Aisne and L’Aube) and of course Epernay, producing about 1,000,000 bottles annually with their own styles, flavors and consistency in quality, as one cuvee succeeds another.
Seventy percent of their production is domaine, whereas the other thirty percent is purchased in grapes (not juice, a big difference) through very stringent selection. None of the wines see malolactic fermentation. They are all fermented in stainless-steel tanks to preserve fresh fruit flavors (only the Chardonnay blended into the vintage wines spends a few months in giant oak barrels between primary fermentation and bottling). They are then left to sit on their lees for a minimum of 4 years (the law is only 18 months) to allow the wines to soften a bit, fill out, and become beautifully drinkable upon release yet ageable at the same time. They use no Pinot Meunier, as they don’t deem it part of a long-ageing blend.
No other winemaking region is as closely associated with celebration and romance. Brand-power here is also stronger than other regions, and consumers pay a premium for consistency and reliability. However a new wave of "grower" champagnes is introducing wines of distinction and character. Major varietals include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.