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Champagne de Castelnau unveils limited release Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2003

Published:  03 March, 2016

Champagne de Castelnau is to release a rare Blanc de Blancs from the challenging 2003 vintage.

Only 11,000 bottles of the vintage, which has been aged on the lees for 11 years, will be available across Castelnau's key export markets, the UK included.

The year 2003 began with a heavy frost that caused extensive damage to the crop, followed by an unprecedented heatwave in the summer which resulted in a early harvest characterised by very low acidity in the grapes.

Chardonnay fared particularly poorly. However, Elisabeth Sarcelet, chef du cave at Castelnau, had enough high-quality grapes to produce a small premium vintage.

Sarcelet selected fruit from vines in the Montagne de Reims crus, which are more usually associated with Pinot Noir production.

Some 80% of the grapes for the Blanc de Blancs came from Trépail, Ludes, Villers-Marmery, Verzy, Tauxieres and Rilly, with the remainder provided by Chouilly and le Mesnil-sur-Oger in the Côte de Blancs, together with Nogent l'Abbesse and Bassuet.

The resulting wine has "faint tobacco, spice and a touch of mint followed by crystallised orange on the nose and a lemon-zesty freshness plus richer creamy caramelised exotic fruits on the palate, leading to a toasty and elegant finish", Sarcelet said.

Keith Isaac MW, head of Castelnau Wine Agencies in the UK, said: "We are excited about the release of the Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2003 and I'm happy to say that most of its rather limited supply will reach the UK, offering our customers the rare opportunity to experience a superb example of vintage Champagne from 2003.

Champagne de Castelnau Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2003

"Champagne de Castelnau's characterful style has found favour with a growing number of discerning consumers of premium Champagnes and the 2003 is expected to build on the track record of success of the Blanc de Blancs 2002 Vintage which has now sold out."

Founded in 1916, Champagne de Castelnau is celebrating its centenary this year.

It is named in honour of General Edouard de Castelnau, a French hero from World War One.

Castelnau sources fruit from over 900 ha of vineyards across some 149 different crus in Champagne.

Champagne de Castelnau Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2003 is available to the independent trade. It carries an rrp of £43.00.

It will be also be available to taste at the upcoming CIVC tasting in London on March 9.