PIERRE GIMONNET Champagne “Cuvée Cuis” Blanc de Blancs, 1er Cru $52
Family-owned, run, made and grown, Gimonnet is one of the best, and best-known “Grower Champagne” producers sold in the U.S. Their Blanc de Blancs (= 100% Chardonnay) “CuvéeCuis” (= Blend from the village of Cuis, a 1er Cru Champagne village) shows tell-tale smells & flavors of the Côtes des Blancs: ripe green apple, lemon custard and quince paste. Also typical of the region is its puckering acidity and soft “crunch” of crushed white rocks that speaks to the concept of “terroir.” Now all that said, “Cuvée Cuis” balances its tang with a sweet & creamy component from lees-aging and dosage. It’s a Brut Champagne through and through, but not to be mistaken for the no-dosage Champagnes (aka zero dosage, Brut Nature, non-dosage).
For top-level Grower Champagnes (aka Récoltant-Manipulant, or RM), Gimonnet is one of the most available and most reasonably priced in the U.S. market. While you can find plenty of nice Champagne for under $50/bottle retail, I generally find $50 is the starting point for something special. Cuvée Cuis is Gimonnet’s entry-level Champagne, but to me, it still qualifies as top-echelon wine. For something other-worldly, seek out a bottle of Gimonnet “Special Club” Champagne, especially a 2008 or 2009.
I shared my Gimonnet “Cuvee Cuis” review with the Napa Valley Wine Academy for their weekly newsletter. This is why my notes are more scholastic than my normal prose. Words in bold are keywords for wine students to study as they relate to Champagne.
89 pts Value Rating 2.6, Wine Factor 1.5 Good Value
Dan brings 25 years of Napa Valley wine experience to Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor. From 2001 to 2017 Dan owned and operated Back Room Wines, a fine wine shop and wine bar in Downtown Napa. He created Back Room Wines and built it into one of the best and most highly regarded wine shops in Napa Valley. Prior to Back Room Wines, Dan was wine buyer at All Seasons Bistro and Wine Shop (1992-1998), Head Sommelier at The French Laundry (1998-1999) and Wine Merchant at Dean & Deluca (1999-2001).
No doubt, tasting, recommending and selling many of the world’s greatest and rarest wines has been part of Dan’s daily routine. That said, one of Dan’s greatest skills, in the opinion of many of his customers, is his ability to evaluate and identify wines that, in Dan’s words, “over-deliver for their price.” Recommending these types of wines in Dan’s entertaining and skillful prose is the foundation of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor.