How dry do you want it (and latest news)?

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything on Elitistreview. Therefore, if you do not mind, before I get onto the review of the Gimonnet Oenophile Non Dosé 2012 I was sent in a care package from the Champagne grower themselves, I will update you with the current news from Elitistreview Towers.

Alas, The Editor and I are suicidally depressed. The Editor has been between serious jobs for so long that our cash reserves have run out and trying to live on my loony benefits is crushingly miserable.

Indeed, it is lucky that my organ is still online. The hosting company of Elitistreview had to send debt collectors after us as we had not paid our hosting fees for so long. I am grateful they kept me online, but payments going forward are a great worry and if they deleted this glorious treasure trove of sweary tasting notes it would probably prove fatal for this reporter.

Food is usually pasta with baked beans, some bacon bits on that are a luxury. Buying wine is right out, so I am very grateful to Jeremy for preparing cases and Mark and Alex for hauling these collections of lovely things back from our cellar in France. Huge thanks to Marko de Morey, Alex L and Jeremy S. Also thanks to Keith P from whom we still have plenty of bottles. Without these kind souls there would be no reports in the future (even if Elitistreview continues to exist!!).

Whilst I am thanking people, my great friend Howard has sent us some money (but neither of us can seem to make it arrive). The lovely Katie got us some groceries last week – for a change we have sauce with our pasta and sausage with our beans. Thank you both.

Depression poisons all of one’s thinking. It tells you that you will never escape it, that you do not even deserve to escape it and that you cannot bare the toxic sadness for another moment.

One may well know, on some meta-level, that The Editor is a stunningly brilliant C# developer who will waltz into a good job within days, even in these uncertain times when few jobs are available in the Hampshire area. Depression makes you unshakeably certain that this will never happen and that the terrible shit-storm of your life will just grind on until you reach the end of your tether – assuming the tether is a strong rope and the other end is tied to the balcony rail.

Both The Editor and I are quite susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder and, regrettably, even living in the South of England does not protect from the earliness of dark nights and the lateness of miserable mornings.

There have been some bright spots in this miasma of life-sapping destitution. Linda, purchased a kitten for The Editor, who has been eager for a cat that is his, a few weeks ago. He is incredibly cute, playful and social. His name is Fudge and there is a picture of him after belly strokes below.

Fudge The Editor's kitten

After I took that picture of Fudge and showed it to The Editor he said, with laudable good cheer, “If that is my kitten, then not everything is shit.”

Longtime readers will be pleased to know that the Elitistreview classic cat, Kisu, is still going strong at nearly thirteen years old and 7.5kg of mass. I picture him below in affable mood.


Kisu is pleased as chips with the additional stimulation that Fudge provides, even if Kisu is vastly less speedy and deft of feet. Kisu can apply mass to bend Fudge to his will when necessary – they have a lot of fun together and clearly love each other. It is heartening to see some affection in the midst of these very dark times.

Finally, we come to the tasting note. I wrote an email to Pierre Gimonnet et Fils detailing my love of their fizz and expounding upon some of the better bottles I have enjoyed. Suddenly I receive an email from DHL telling me that I have a package coming to me from Champagne!

The package turned out to have two bottles of their Oenophile Non Dosé cuvée in it. Some people are so kind. I have put a photograph of the back label below to save me from having to copy all the fascinating details of this wine when you can get them direct from the Champagne grower’s label printer. Look at all that flash Grand Cru fruit!

Back label

Gimonnet Oenophile Non Dosé 2012Champagne Oenophile Non Dosé 2012, Pierre Gimonnet et Fils

This cuvée is supposed to be for wine lovers who like their fizz mineral, direct and lacking any softening sugar in the dosage used to top up the bottle once the wine is disgorged. It is going to hurt my stomach that I have irreparably damaged with too many overdoses but, after a distinctly sweet bottle on Dom Perignon 1995 a couple of weeks ago, I can manage direct, linear and painful.

The nose is very vinous. The ripeness of the vintage and the quality of that Grand Cru fruit reveal themselves with an expression of real density and scale, even though this producer is known for elegant wines. There is certainly the elegance and refinement of a top Côte des Blancs wine, but this is a powerful wine first and the bubbles come second to that.

There is a smokey suggestion of gunflint to the nose. This reminds me of really serious Chablis vineyards, particularly my favourite Premier Cru Vaulorent. This vineyard toys with suggestions about what makes up a Grand Cru and what a Premier Cru Chablis should be like.

Similarly, this Champagne flashes the focus and purity of a Côte des Blancs Premier Cru village, always Cuis with Gimonnet, but reveals more power and weight the more air it gets. The subtle gunflint and creamy limestone characteristics become very prominent and it does seem increasingly like one is sniffing a wine of really grown-up origins, as one 86% is doing.

The extended lees contact does give it additional limonene aromas and a sense of real freshness, even though it is seven years old. I love this extended lees contact characteristic in Blanc des Blancs Champagne – it seems a particularly sympathetic match with the flavour profile of Chardonnay.

The palate is undoubtedly very, very dry. However, the weight of the Grand Cru fruit, the creamy freshness from the extended lees contact and the very finest of mousses do not make it searing (but I do get that sensation when it hits my poor, abused stomach, if I am honest).

As the Oenophile tag would suggest this is a dense, powerful, richly characterful wine fine as a light Côte des Blancs quaffer second to that. It has a real bite of limestone on the finish which goes on and on.

Although there is density and a lot of flavour there, this wine undoubtedly has more to express in the future, it feels bound up and taut. Non-dosage Champagnes are normally considered not the best candidates for ageing, but I think the reverse is true for this wine. At seven years old it may be fresh with some fruit, but it needs time for the full power and quality of the oooooohhh fancy fruit this is largely composed from to express itself fully.

I am very glad I have two bottles of this. I have just pulled an intercostal muscle trying to squeeze the other bottle into my wine fridge where it will remain for approximately ten years. It needs that to open up fully and the latent weight to expand to its gloriously vinous full potential.

In summary, Gimonnet Oenophile Non Dosé 2012 is a brilliant Champagne for those with the patience to age it to allow the full power of its components and the quality of the vintage to express themselves in very weighty, vinous form.

However, Champagne should clearly have a little sugar in it so buy the Gimonnet Fleuron vintage, that has almost as grand components, longer lees ageing and some dosage to make a more harmonious wine for drinking or ageing into a real stunner with finesse, power and charm.

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