The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is a striking wine which delivers a, seemingly fresh, simple, apple and citrus-fruit taste at first, but then a meatiness and creaminess develops. The mousse is fine and persistent, the acidity riveting, but that iron fist in a velvet glove backbone drives the finish. Indeed, pure Blanc de Blancs is unusual in Ambonnay, where Pinot plays the leading role. Coutier’s NV presents an intriguing combination of the richness that is typical of Ambonnay married to deep, expressive varietal Chardonnay fruit. It’s crisp and beautifully clean with well-defined citrus, melon, peach and brioche. It’s very ‘alive’ and refreshing but also well balanced and controlled. Pair it with pork, rich fish (salmon, tuna, etc), shellfish, mild and soft cheese.
The winemaker, René Coutier’s family has been rooted in the village since 1619, and he is the fourth generation to work the family estate. While Ambonnay is best-known for its Pinot Noir, René’s father was the first in the village to plant Chardonnay here in 1946—a decision far ahead of its time. This has come to define the Coutier family’s house style, which marries the traditional richness of Ambonnay’s Pinot Noir (70%) with the pure, racy crispness of its Chardonnay (30%). R. H. Coutier is one of the best domaines in Ambonnay and is a wonderful introduction to the magic of grand cru Champagne.