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Taste Test: Blanc de Blancs

According to Oscar Wilde, “Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial.” Take Wilde’s words with a wink of whimsy, sure, but Champagne certainly knows something about pleasure. This season, we’ve set our sights on Blanc de Blancs—Champagne produced solely from white grapes, typically 100 percent Chardonnay. The grape is a natural fit for the Champagne region’s chalky, mineral-rich soil, and its eastward orientation. Known for their tart acidity, bright bounce, and lean profile, Blanc de Blancs are as giftable as they are drinkable. Here are five bottles to add to your wish list.

Louis Roederer 2013 Blanc de Blancs Brut Pleasingly floral-forward, this 2013 cuvée demonstrates the power of a slightly higher dosage (8 grams per liter). Made from grapes sourced from the north and south of the Avize grand cru, this energetic vintage comes from Roederer’s storied winemaking legacy, dating to 1776. With surprising touches of candied lemon and honeysuckle, this wine is just plain fun. $99.99, morrellwine.com

Pierre Péters NV Blanc de Blancs “Cuvée de Réserve” The Pierre Péters estate was founded more than a century ago and harvests much of its Chardonnay from the grand cru of Les Mesnil-sur-Oger. Une Femme Champagne co-founder Jen Pelka describes the wine as timeless, saying, “It changed my life, opening up the possibilities of what Champagne can be.” Exceedingly clean with notes of cream, this nonvintage, grower-producer brut finishes with a wonderful pop of tangy, salty tangerine. $54.99, astorwines.com

Larmandier-Bernier 2010 Vieille Vigne du Levant Extra Brut Owing its complexity to old vine stocks (some more than 80 years old), this distinct wine arrives from one of Côte de Blancs’ leaders in natural wine production, as the estate has been entirely biodynamic since 1999. The grapes are harvested from a single parcel in the grand cru of Cramant, and Vieille Vigne du Levant is beautifully golden and full-bodied. $119.99, empirestateofwine.com

Robert Moncuit NV “Les Grands Blancs” Extra Brut From the creation of Robert Moncuit’s first cuvée in 1928 up until 2000, wines from this family-run estate were sold exclusively within France. Under current winemaker Pierre Amillet, this bready, delicately citrus-accented wine is produced from approximately 80 percent of its base vintage, and the remainder sourced from the previous vintage. $53, vervewine.com

Vouette & Sorbée NV “Blanc d’Argile” Brut Nature “Vouette & Sourbée’s Champagnes are the pinnacle of minimal intervention, ambient yeast fermentation, no dosage wines reflective of their terroir,” says Une Femme’s Jen Pelka. Based in the village of Buxières-sur-Arce, this relatively young estate first bottled its Champagne in 2001, and winemaker Bertrand Gautherot is devoted to the integrity of his vines, initially selling his grapes to larger Champagne houses in the north. “They’re age-worthy wines that any Champagne geek will be excited to explore,” adds Pelka. $99.99, flatiron-wines.com

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