Pascal Boye has an unmistakable glint in his eye when he introduces the wines produced at Nicolas Feuillatte, a relative newcomer who has turned the Champagne region on its head.
“The idea for our Brut Champagne is to be something that’s easy to drink and enjoy,” Boye, export director for Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, told a group of sommeliers and media Tuesday. “We’re not looking for something too sophisticated… Our winemaker says it’s something that you can drink from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning.”
Having made his fortune as a coffee merchant in New York City, Nicolas Feuillatte acquired vineyards in the Champagne region and launched his brand in 1976. He made the savvy move to partner with local co-operatives representing more than 5,000 growers, which has given him ready access to the grapes necessary to build his brand into one of the top three Champagne houses in the world when ranked by sales by volume.
Success has been spurred on by the easy appeal of the sparkling wine produced at the innovative Champagne house. Boye explains the goal is to take the fruit from the vineyards and put it into the bottles. “But it takes three years to do that,” he adds.
Champagne and other traditionally made sparkling wines get their signature bubbles by undergoing a secondary fermentation in the bottles they are sold in. The time-intensive process can also impart flavours suggesting bread, biscuits or nuts by virtue of time the wine spends aging with dead yeast cells.
Some Champagne houses like to accent that bready character through various winemaking decisions to produce a serious, more cerebral style of wine. Nicolas Feuillatte likes to downplay that component to keep their wines fresh and fruity.
Boye reports 10 million bottles of Nicolas Feuillatte are produced each year, most wearing the Brut Champagne and Brut Rosé Champagne labels. Like Lanson Brut and Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut, they stand out as consistently enjoyable and more affordable Champagnes.
Wines of the Week:
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne, Champagne, France
BC $59.99 (080283) | AB $59.99 (500397) | ON $43.05 (537605)
Nicolas Feuillatte classic Champagne captures the integrity and energy of great sparkling wine, with pleasing fruit flavours and a smooth, lingering finish. This is an approachable bubbly that promises to be the life of the party.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé Champagne, Champagne, France
BC $69.99 (267039) | AB $69.99 (709397) | ON $55.15 (267039)
Well-made Rosé Champagne presents attractive salmon hues and strawberry-kissed fruit flavours that add greatly to the appeal. This terrific example underscores Nicholas Feuillatte’s crowd-pleasing house style, which is smooth, delicious and effervescent.