Yesterday I had the great good fortune to meet Xavier Millard from the Champagne House of Mailly. (Sounds like Myee) The firm was named after the town in the region of Champagne in 1929. According to the AOC laws enacted in 1935, a wine company would be unable to be named after a town but due to the fact that this company was named prior to the AOC laws they were the exception to the rule. However, they can only keep their name if they use exclusively grapes from Mailly. Only grapes harvested in 17 villages in Champagne are worthy of the Grand Cru appellation but luckily all the vineyards in Mailly are designated Grand Cru! So, all the Champagnes with the name of Mailly are 100% Grand Cru Champagne. This is a pretty big deal.
In fact fully one-third of the approximately 750 inhabitants in the town of Mailly are involved in the Mailly Champagne business. That’s my kind of town! In a mirror image of the big Champagne houses that established their production facilities on top of existing Roman cellars which had been carved out of the chalky subsoil, the people of Mailly first built their production facility and then began to dig their own cellars beginning in 1933 and finally finishing in 1969. Indeed this is the only cellar dug by hand in the last century in Champagne!
The vineyards there are planted to 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. There is very little Meunier (the third grape of Champagne) planted in Grand Cru vineyards. Mailly vinify the grapes from each of their 70 – 80 plots separately and then blend those separate vinifications to create their extraordinary wines. We tasted:
Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Brut Reserve
A classic, reflecting the plantings of the vineyards, it is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. Aging 3 years on the lees (21 months more than the 15 months required by the AOC) This longer lees contact imparts more subtlety and yeasty notes. It represents a blending of ten different vintages of reserve wines. (Dosage 9 grams)
Super clear light straw hue with iridescent perlage. Yummy baked brioche nose with bright white peach, star fruit, light citrus notes and hints of Jasmine. Gorgeous rich attack with fresh appley notes that dig into the palate and make you want more. mouth-watering yeasty and delicious. +746282 $$$
Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs
Obviously 100% Pinot Noir (my favorite!) it shows a super clear gold straw hue with lovely bright perlage. Meaty rich notes of creme caramel, fresh nectarine, bees-wax and honey. This wine spends 5 years on lees providing an intense mouth-watering attack, beautiful mouth filling flavours of ripe nectarine and savoury fresh baked bread.
It’s rich and fine at once, lingering long after its gone. (12 grams dosage) Insanely good value. +746279 $$$
What a privilege to taste such elegant Champagne! I’d encourage you to look for these wines at your favorite wine store. They represent incredible value for money and singularly wonderful experiences in tasting. Color de Vino carry them in both full bottles and splits.
Oh yes! Remember that Champagnes are not only for special occasions. They are wonderful as aperitifs and work well with most food.