Agrapart & Fils • Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vénus 2015

Agrapart & Fils • Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vénus 2015

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(not yet reviewed, 2012 review for reference)

96 points - Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, August 2019

From a parcel planted in 1959 in lieu-dit La Fosse—and uniting more clay-rich soils from the bottom of the slope with stonier, limestone-dominated soils at the top—this bottle of Agrapart's 2012 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vénus was disgorged in May 2019 without dosage. Unwinding in the glass with notes of crisp white peach, Anjou pear, warm bread and spices, it's full-bodied, tensile and muscular, with chalky dry extract, racy acids and an ineffable sense of completeness, concluding with a long and saline finish.

Serious and softly spoken, Pascal Agrapart is one of the Côte de Blancs's finest vignerons, and I have long admired the chiseled but powerful wines he produces from his organically farmed vineyards. Old vines, ripe grapes, alcoholic and malolactic fermentation with ambient microflora and élevage of vins clairs in tank and seasoned demi-muids are the rudiments of his approach. The Brut 7 Crus, which includes 10% Pinot Noir from Avenay-val-d'Or, introduces the range, followed by the formidable Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Terroirs Grand Cru, a wine derived from the villages of Avize, Cramant, Oger and Oiry. For his next two bottlings, Agrapart blends wines from clay-rich terroirs to produce his Blanc de Blancs Avizoise, a cuvée that finds its complement in the Blanc de Blancs Minéral, derived from the domaine's chalkiest soils. Then come single-vineyard bottlings: the extraordinary Vénus, from Avize lieu-dit La Fosse, and Complantée, from a parcel of young, co-planted vines in the same site.

- William Keeley