Wine Review: Champagne Francoise Bedel Cuvée Robert Winer -96

Today I am reviewing something very special, one of the older wines that we have in our relatively young cellar. Francoise Bedel has for a long time been one of my favorite producers. I have written several times that her wines are the reason I got all excited about grower champagnes. Since 1982 Marie-Louise Bedel has been curious about bio-dynamic methods for producing Champagne. The evolution of her vineyards began in 1996 and by 1999, all 7 hectares of land were introduced to bio-dynamic viticulture and on their way to be certified by ECOCERT SAS.

After tasting a few of Bedels entry level champagnes, and loving them, we came across and opportunity to buy a case of the Cuvée Robert Winer -96 through a British distributor, Henry George Wines. For a price of around 50€ a bottle (with the 2014 EUR/GBP exchange rate) it felt like a steal, and after tasting one bottle, we were convinced it was worth the investment. We recently opened another bottle to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and made some notes to share with you on the blog.

Subtle bubbles and gold colour
Subtle bubbles and gold colour
Cork binded and sealed with old-school methods
Cork binded and sealed with old-school methods
The labels gives a traditional feel
The labels gives a traditional feel

The Cuvée is a heavy on Pinot Meunieur (88%) with a hint of Pinot Noir (6%) and Chardonnay (6%). The dosage is ~8g/l which is an average for a dry champagne. The wine has a mature, gold and amber color and the bubbles are small but lively. You can see that the wine has age. The nose has strong notes of brioche and dried candied fruit and an underlying mineral freshness. The taste is mature with light notes of burned butter. The wine develops even more toasty and nutty flavors when it has a chance to breathe. It is worth the wait and the price of some bubbles to discover the full potential of this wine. I can imagine this champagne being a good pairing with some meatier seafood, like crab and lobster or some white meats. We had it with some nice french cheeses and truffled cold cuts (omnomnom).

All in all I give it a 4 (out of 5) for quality and a 4.5 for value for money (at least when the price is around 50€). After some googling, I can see that we really made a bargain, as the average price today for the -96 is around 120€.  Must send Henry George wines a thank you note as they arranged this case specifically for us directly from the producer herself. This vintage is peaking now, so don’t skip an opportunity to try this wine before it has passed its prime.

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