WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

24 June 2015

Champagne: Drappier IV 'Quattuor'

As an appetiser to all my Champagne talk fizzing up on a handy new archive page, and a Champagnes de Vignerons special feature (links to it: 'growers' Champagnes, i.e. smaller vineyard owners who make Champers from their own grapes rather than selling them to the big houses) coming out after the summer... Here's a note on a very tasty and unusual (and rather expensive alas) special cuvée made by the perhaps less well-known brand Drappier (outside of France at least).

Drappier's Quattuor IV or 'Blanc de Quatre Blancs' is a blend of four white varieties, 25% of each including three "forgotten" and now replanted grapes Arbane, Petit Meslier and Blanc Vrai in addition to good-old Chardonnay. Their blurb also informs us that "only natural compost" was used in the vineyard, and "minimal added SO2 (the standard wine-making preservative) and unfiltered..." The dégorgement (when sediment is removed after second fermentation and lees ageing for "at least three years" in bottle) took place in January 2014, meaning the wine's had nearly another year and a half maturing gracefully before release.
12% abv: This bubbly shows fair class with its enticingly toasty yeasty nose and honeyed oat biscuit notes, fragrant and fruity too; quite rich baked biscuit and brioche flavours vs fine steely mouth-feel, fresh 'cut' and very dry appley finish (the dosage is only 4.2 g/l residual sugar, about one half to one third of the usual amount for 'Brut' styles); tight crisp and long with delicious complex lingering yeasty tones.
Costs about €60 a bottle in France. The UK agent is Berkmann Wine Cellars in London (where I downloaded the bottle shot from), who told me this Champers is mostly sold in restaurants, such as Les Mirabelles near Salisbury, Burythorpe House Hotel in North Yorks, Lake Road Kitchen in Cumbria, Andaz in London, Midsummer House and Alimentum in Cambridge and The Fat Duck in Berkshire. Approx retail price is £50 e.g. Hedonism wine shop in London. Dublin: €84.95 at The Corkscrew.

2 comments:

  1. Oddbins stock Drappier but not sure how often they refresh their stocks. In the same area of Champagne (Gyé-sur-Seine) was impressed with Robert Barbichon who do a Réserve 4 cépages for a modest €18.

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  2. Thanks Graham, I'll look out for that name. As you say, no comparison value wise!

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