AR Lenoble, already 100 years old
And frankly, they don't look it.
Although AR Lenoble is a very contemporary company in the way it conceives and crafts its wines, you have to go back over four generations to discover its origins.
1920: Armand Raphaël Graser, whose German-sounding name did not appeal too much in the post-war period, named his brand AR Lenoble. Lenoble, in homage to the nobility of the wines from Champagne, and AR for his initials.
100 years later we find Anne and Antoine Malassagne, brother and sister, at the helm of this very respectable champagne house. Since the 1993-96 period and thanks to 20 years long hard slog, they have successfully revived the brand created by their great-grandfather.
What is their House style?
First of all, you have to go for a walk through the vineyards. The Champagne House has 18 hectares of its own vineyards in Chouilly, one of the 6 villages classified as Grand Cru on the Côte des Blancs, and in Bisseuil, a terroir classified as Premier Cru in the Montagne de Reims. Supplies from partner winegrowers in the Epernay region complete the selection of wines that go into the composition of the champagnes.
In the Blanc de Blancs champagnes, we find the origin of the Chardonnays in a powerful yet luscious style, without any harshness.
Anne and Antoine's work accentuates this stylistic effect by using only very low dosages and with reserve wines making up 30-45% of the blends, as on the Brut Nature "mag 15", for example, with a zero dosage.
What is "Mag"?
Since 2010, Anne and Antoine have been keeping a large proportion of the reserve wines in magnum under cork, ensuring the wines remain fresh. The effect is magical. The wines are in a style of precise vinosity, without heaviness or austerity, showing both finesse and succulence. This is the Champagne House’s signature.
For the 100th anniversary, AR Lenoble decided to open the doors to the domaine's private cellar, releasing bottles made by those who have been important to the history of AR Lenoble Champagnes.
The Champagne House unveiled 8 rare vintages in a gift box (1959 - 1982 - 1985 - 1986 - 1988 - 1990 - 1996 - 2002) and 3 new products in the "Mag" series with Intense "mag 16", Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs "mag 16", and Brut Nature - zero dosage "mag 15".
The anniversary was also an opportunity for us to taste a 1964 which showed rich candied yellow fruit against a backdrop of honey and wax. The old rose aromas complemented the notes of exotic woods in a gorgeously bitter and nutty finish. This is a magnificent, flavoursome and tender wine.
The tenderness of age?