We were able to find some late-release bottles from de Venoge, a house in Epernay that we've worked with for years and from whom we love mining older ex-cellar stock. The 1996 blanc de Blancs was released many years ago, and like all big Champagne houses, they kept a little bit in the cellar to release during a more mature window. The house no longer makes this Blanc de Blanc, and instead, the fruit now goes to their Tete de Cuvee "Princes". The Blanc de Blanc has spent many years sleeping in the cellar at de Venoge, showing more secondary flavors and aromas, with nuttiness, roundness, and superb complexity while never losing its precision and youthful energy. There aren't many '96 Champagnes available at reasonable pricing these days, especially for bottles just released from the estate and from another producer; this could easily cost three times more. To be able to grab a Champagne with 25 years of age direct from the original cellar at this pricing is unheard of, making this an opportunity not to miss. At the moment, we have the only bottles of this available in the USA.
Wine Spectator 95 points! "Rich and toasty, showing a kaleidoscope of aromas and flavor-- coffee, hazelnut, lemon, freisia and mineral--yet with a refined, racy structure. There's a viscosity that balances the crispness, and the two factions will meld in time. Fine vanilla and tobacco aftertaste. Best from 2008 through 2025."