I had a bit of time between appointments so I skipped lunch and sat in a nice little park over looking the vines in Rilly-la-Montagne writing about and contemplating all I've learned on the trip.
I arrived at Vilmart to find a larger than expected operation, and a greeting from a receptionist who was rather stern. I'm guessing someone who suffers fools regularly that want to taste the wines at Vilmart. Anyway Laurent was running a bit behind, so I hung out in this waiting room/ function extra space for harvest time. Like many places I waited, I admired the odd French aesthetic of decorating with a mix of time periods, quality, and attention to upkeep.
When he arrived, Laurent seemed a bit rushed, like he other things to do. He briefly told me about the family history dating back to the 1890's and he's the fifth generation at the helm. He also discussed the interesting break down of Rilly-la-Montagne's vines which are 40% chard, 20% Pinot, and 20% muenier, whereas Vilmart is 60% Chard and 40% Pinot. He showed me the large casks he uses for the younger vines, 30 years old, as well as the barrique which are the for vines that are 45+ years old.
As we talked, and began tasting, Laurent asked me about my bar and which of his wines I serve, and I ran through the list of pretty much everything he makes including a vertical of coeur de Cuvėe. Once he heard all this he went back to the fridge to get more wine. This was not the first time this happened on the trip, it seems many of the winemakers underestimated how much I knew about their wines.
Anyway, we started on the Grande Resėrve NV which is not really available in the US, shame because it's delicious. Beyond this tease, I tasted a few other wines, include the Grande Cellier 2009, which hasn't been released in the the States yet, but was awesome. Not quite as amazing as the 2008 though Interestingly Laurent compared 07 and 09 feeling they have similarities. We progressed the to the Coeur de Cuvėe 2005, which is a weaker vintages, but after retasting it, I'm happy to have it on my menu. A cool wine that suffers from poor association with the vintage. I also found out that the 06 is quick on it's heels, and will be released in March. This was a quick visit, but good to see what's going on. Laurent is a reserved guy who clearly is very thoughtful. Seems like he'd be fun with a few glasses in him.