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BKWine Pick: Champagne Tarlant

>> Monday, May 02, 2011

You find Champagne Tarlant at the top of the small village of Oeuilly, a few kilometres west of Epernay. The view from their house is magnificent, as is their champagnes. Not only are they of high quality, they also have personality. “It is thanks to our passion for le terroir”, says Benoit Tarlant, the winemaker. The family Tarlant has in total 14 hectares of vineyards but everything is not in one single plot, on the contrary. They actually have 60 different plots, which means a lot of different types of soil and terroir. And this adds complexity to their champagnes. “It is important”, says Benoit, “to point out that champagne is actually also a wine, not only a drink for festivities”. He makes a great deal of effort to obtain a base wine of high quality. “Normally we have an alcohol degree between 10.8 and 11 % in the base wine and a high acidity, 8 grams per litre. The acidity should be high, it gives a back bone to the wine”, he says.

Tarlant’s best seller is something unusual. It’s a Zero Brut, admittedly something that is in fashion right now, but for most producers the Zero Brut is a special cuvee, not their volume champagne. Champagne Tarlant Zero Brut Nature is made with a third each of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. It is a lovely fresh champagne, with hints of citrus and it goes perfectly with shellfish or just on its own, as an aperitif. I also recommend La Vigne d'Antan from 100 % Chardonnay from non-grafted vines. The Rosé Zero is also very unusual and something you must try if you are a rosé champagne lover. Tarlant was actually the first to make a totally dry rosé champagne. I also have to mention the complex and full bodied cuvee prestige Cuvee Louis, a champagne that spent ten years in the cellar on the lees.

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