Located near the village of Venteuil, Champagne J.P. Marniquet is almost a one-man show with Jean Pierre Marniquet (with help from his daughter) handling most of the heavy lifting including hand-riddling and disgorging the wines. As they are in the Valle de la Marne which is the land of Pinot Meunier, they embrace that once denigrated variety and successfully make it the centerpiece of their main cuvees. Marniquet makes real-deal farmer-fizz (estate-bottled Champagne) from grapes he grows on his own vineyards. He ages the wines in his cellar, the entrance to which looks like a Hobbit hole in the hillside across from his house.
Jean Pierre MARNIQUET Brut Tradition, Champagne, NV ($29.99)
An estate bottled blend of 50% Pinot Meunier (which is rather a lot of Pinot Meunier), 35% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Noir with reserve wines in the mix from a small grower-producer located near Venteuil in the Valle de la Marne west of Reims. Aged over 3 years on the yeasts in a cold, deep cellar that was originally a World War One underground hospital bunker. Dosage is quite Brut at 6 grams per liter dissolved in reserve wines. Straw colored and fully sparkling. Dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity. Toasty-yeasty-biscuity with lively lemony citrus and red fruit with limestone mineral earth and a hint of spice. Really very long finish. Delicious, focused, fresh, alive-in-the-mouth. I really like the biscuity taste in a winter sparkler. Yum. BearScore: 92.