“André Robert’s ‘Terre du Mesnil’ is the most excited I’ve been about a Côte de Blancs producer in years. Yes, years. Coming from four of the best plots in Les Mesnil-sur-Oger, this extended barrel/bottle-aged cuvée is Grand Cru Champagne royalty.”
Terre du Mesnil’ Millesime
Bottle size: 750 ml,
In The Cellar
“Terre du Mesnil” is sourced from the family’s top four Chardonnay parcels in Grand Cru Les Mesnil-sur-Oger. Yields are extremely low and the grapes are allowed extended hang-time on the vine to ensure they are bursting at the seams come harvest. After a manual pick and sort, the grapes are whole-cluster pressed into old French barrels where a natural, ambient-yeast fermentation begins. What follows is why today’s 2016’s release is so broad, luxurious, and creamy: It matured in barrel for eight months with regular top-ups and bâtonnage before being transferred into bottle for five years of sur-lie aging. This parcel was disgorged in early 2022 and topped off with a five-gram dosage.
In The Vineyard
Many may be surprised to learn Le Mesnil-sur-Oger was only elevated to Grand Cru status in 1985. Although, by that time, it was a simple formality because most vignerons were already in agreement that this was one of the finest terroirs in all of Champagne. As Champagne geeks know, this village is effectively 100% devoted to Chardonnay, all of it Grand Cru. The village’s east-facing slopes, sheltered by thick woodland on the hills above, are perfect for ripening Chardonnay that maintains racy acidity and beautiful, high-toned aromatics. Champagne geeks will also know that one of the most famous vineyards here is “Les Chétillons.” With that in mind, of the four parcels blended into André Robert’s “Terre du Mesnil,” three are just a few minutes’ walk from Chétillons, and the other is in Chétillions itself! So how did Champagne André Robert gain access to these prime and distinguished sites? His family’s been farming, living, and growing grapes here for five generations. Although the crafting and distribution of their own label didn’t occur until 1962, it didn’t take them long to find a groove: they were already equipped with the finest real estate, elite viticultural know-how, and a hand-carved chalk cellar in the village of Mesnil, to boot!
In the glass, Robert’s 2016 “Terre du Mesnil” reveals a shimmering pale yellow hue with silver reflections and it crackles with a lively, deeply refined mousse. You’ll discover Grand Cru Mesnil perfection on the nose: ripe apricot, fleshy yellow peach, creamy apples, lemon cream, brioche, toasted pecan, grilled pineapple, and crushed rock. The palate is ripe, expansive, and mineral with a bevy of opulent orchard and stone fruits inside a filigreed shell constructed of citrus peel and chalk. If you want texture, length, and broad vinous power in your Blanc de Blancs, get ready for your discovery of the year! Enjoy in all-purpose stems around 50 degrees now and over the next five years.