[x]

Experts

Keep up-to-date on all the
happenings at Chandon and
join the fun at one of our many
festive events.

Membership is complimentary.

Join Now >

New vintage, new head of the blend: 2001 etoile Tête de Cuvée

Last year, following a labor of love more than a decade in the making, Domaine Chandon released our first Tête de Cuvée, vintage 2000. The reception was unanimous, extraordinary and, quite frankly, exceeded even our expectations—the wine sold out almost immediately.

Tom Tiburzi - Domaine Chandon Winemaker

Last year, following a labor of love more than a decade in the making, Domaine Chandon released our first Tête de Cuvée, vintage 2000. The reception was unanimous, extraordinary and, quite frankly, exceeded even our expectations—the wine sold out almost immediately.
etoile Tête de Cuvée 2001

A year later, the next etoile Tête de Cuvée in line, our 2001, has just been released, and we’re expecting similarly high marks from our discerning customers. Despite regularly putting in 15-plus-hour days, with bottling and harvest in full swing, Winemaker Tom Tiburzi recently gave us some of his time to discuss what makes Chandon’s newest star such a remarkable wine.

Forecast calls for patience…
Tom, with harvest on his mind, put it into perspective for us. “We just completed the 2011 harvest, and that fruit will go into the bottle in 2012 and need seven years on the yeast, through 2019. Then, it will be disgorged for six months on the cork, so it’ll probably be 2020 before we’re drinking it.”

Part of what makes crafting our Tête de Cuvée so challenging is the near decade lead time and discerning how to craft a blend that craves so many years sur less to mature. When the wine is finally ready, and proves to be as exquisite as hoped, well…it doesn’t last long.

…but it’s worth the wait.
Tom references bright, citrusy notes like tangerine zest, nutmeg and dried black figs, accented by richer flavors such as toasted brioche and hazelnut, with hints of marzipan almond flavor. “It’s really complex, with a lot of delicate nuances,” adds Tom. “All the flavors and aromas meld and marry together. There are subtle flavors, and one flows into the next. It’s very fluid and dynamic on the palate.”

The 2001 vintage gave us extraordinary Pinot Noir base wines, so Tom says it was fitting for Pinot Noir to lead the 2001 etoile Tête de Cuvée’s blend. While the 2000 vintage was led by Chardonnay, and consequently offered an incredibly creamy mouthfeel and nutty finish, the 2001 has a more subtle, tight, nuanced flavor concentration and greater structure.

Comparing the two.
According to Tom, “The 2001 is pretty different from the 2000, in the sense that the 2000 was led by Chardonnay as the primary grape, and the 2001 is 66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier.”

etoile Tête de Cuvée’s composition isn’t set by a specific formula. Rather, Tom and his team evaluate each year’s base wines , and select the very best to be fashioned into an harmonious Tête de Cuvée . “That vintage was a little unusual,” Tom continues. “We had an early spring, with some 80-degree heat spikes that started blooming earlier, May and June were warmer than normal until finally our ususual marine layer returned with cool relief to preserve acidity, so by the time August came around maturity had slowed, allowing the hang time to develop concentrated flavors.”

The resulting wine is subtly complex and makes for exciting food pairing. Tom recommends trying it with seafood such as seared halibut or scallops, or oysters on the half shell. He specifically suggested putting it with a goat cheese and mushroom tart, and raved about a recent tasting with a Spanish manchego cheese.

No matter how you choose to enjoy the newest iteration of Chandon’s etoile Tête de Cuvée, we hope you appreciate the time, care and passion that went into its creation, and look forward to the delightful surprises future vintages will bring. Cheers!