Thursday, June 5, 2014

Arteis & Co. Champagne, 2002 Extra Brut

Champagne samples are a rarity for me, and I suspect for most bloggers, save for the "elite". A few weeks ago I was contacted by the PR agency representing Arteis & Co. reached out to me to see if I wanted to try one of their Champagnes. Anyone that knows me know I drink a lot of Champagne, usually at least two bottles a week. And I mean Champagne from the region of Champagne, not method traditionelle sparkling wine or cremant from other places in France. Remember, if it says Champagne on the label, make sure it's actually from there and not a poseur from someplace else.

Arteis & Co. debuted their wines last year in New York restaurants, and for a time were only available there. Now, the company is releasing more additional wines and expanding distribution to Los Angeles and San Francisco. As of this writing, the Champagnes are not available at retailers, just high end restaurants in those three cities.

After a few back and forth emails between the PR firm and myself, a sample bottle of the 2002 Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut made its way out to Oregon for me to taste. I wasn't sure what to expect, as this is a brand I have no knowledge of. I was worried that what I'd be tasting was a gimmicky, poorly made Champagne that was created by some huge winery and marketed as "true luxury" or some such thing.

Luckily, I was wrong.

I chilled the 2002 Arteis Blanc de Blancs (100% chardonnay) for a few hours before serving it, but also made sure to pull it from the fridge about 20 minutes before we popped the cork. It poured a beautiful pale gold with green flecks throughout. On the nose, correct mature notes of brioche and red apple helped show more vibrant aromas of lime, wet chalk, and subtle peach blossom. As we all tasted it, eyes widened and lips curled skyward in big smiles. I think this is flat-out delicious Champagne. It's showing a beautiful aged quality that acts as a lovely foil to the freshness. Apples and pears galore on the palate, with supporting flavors of lime and chalk dust, as well as a subtle yeasty component that we all loved. The finish is crisp and clean, with a nice taper that lasts a solid 10 seconds, once again showing wonderful vitality despite the 10+ years of age.

I'm confident in say that this is the real deal. If I ordered a bottle off of a wine list and it tasted like the sample bottle I received, I'd be thrilled. According to the PR firm, the pricing (at restaurants) is $300-350, but that'll vary by location. I have inquired about the availability at retail locations, where the SRP is $129, but as of now the wine is not available outside restaurants. Hopefully that changes soon, as I believe that those of us who love vintage Champagne would enjoy adding this to our cellars. I give it a Highly Recommended and urge you to keep your eyes open for Arteis Champagnes.

Artéis & Co. is imported by Riahi Selection
in New York, H. Mercer Imports in California
, and Wine Collection in Florida. For more information, please visit

This wine was a media sample for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

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