2/1/14 Bonus - When I had a free moment earlier in the trip I visited a wine shop called 520 in Epernay, this place is outstanding and focuses on champagne, with one of the best selections I've seen. The owner invited me back on Saturday to the tasting they were hosting with Alexandre Penet of Penet-Chardonnet, I had a bit of time, so I did. And, I'm glad I did!
The PC wines were impressive, their vineyard holdings are in Verzy and Verzenay. It was a treat to taste these wines for a couple reasons, first they were well made and delicious. Beyond that, on this trip I didn't have anyone on the itinerary that were based on the eastern edge of the Montagne de Reims which has a distinct terroir. Finally, I've only tasted a couple produces that exclusively use one of these two villages. Penet's wines matched what I expected flavor wise from the region, with plenty of intense dark fruit, however they were fascinating because they all had very low dosage. This high acid helped balance the big fruit of the wine to create a compelling experience. It was also great to experience the fruit tones of blackberries and cherries combined the with chalk flavors and precision. I had tasted so much green apple and lemon mixed with chalk, that it was a welcome change. I'm hoping I can convince someone to import these wines to Portland as this is an unrepresented region in our city.