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An Exceptional Vintage: Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003



Reims, November 2022


The House of Chanoine Frères has a treasure it would like for you to discover. It is a very special exceptional Tsarine cuvée for champagne connoisseurs — Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003.


Tsarine: Fine wines and old vintages


According to Franck Coste, CEO of Champagne Chanoine Freres 1730,


“— As we approach the 25thanniversary of Champagne Tsarine, which we will celebrate in 2023, the time has come to unveil a few of the jewels we have kept hidden away in the House’s oenothèque, where we keep a few bottles from each year. We do that as a way of preserving the memory of the harvests and of all the nuances of expression of the style of our Tsarine cuvées.


This 2003 vintage Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs is a great wine. It’s also the first Tsarine vintage created by our Chef de Cave, Isabelle Tellier, shortly after her arrival at the House in 2001.


Isabelle has kept a close watch over its ageing in our cellars on the Allée du Vignoble in Reims. The wine has aged remarkably well. Its blend of Grand Cru Chardonnays from the 2003 harvest had vintage potential, and Isabelle has brought out its quintessence under the optimum ageing conditions offered by our cellars. Today, Isabelle doses this vintage personally, which guarantees the quality of each bottle.”


This cuvée exists only in very limited quantities and is intended for connoisseurs and serious champagne lovers. Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003 is available only on request and by individual reservation with the House. For further information, please contact Franck Coste, CEO of Champagne Chanoine Freres 1730, directly.

The very rare Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003 bottle, with its labelling and packaging.

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The 2003 harvest: The birth of Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésimé


Isabelle Tellier, Chef de Cave, remembers the year 2003 and its highly contrasting weather in Champagne very well: “The Chardonnays had suffered heavily from the spring frosts; an average of 80% had frozen. And then there were high temperatures starting in late May, followed by a real heat wave, with heavy hailstorms, topped off by strong sunburn in August!


The situation was so bad and the yields were so low that grappillage, which was still possible at the time, had been authorized until October. But despite the extreme conditions, the harvest produced some very fine results, with a strong concentration in the grapes and very good maturity. And, during that memorable year, I was overjoyed at the opportunity to blend my first vintage champagne for Tsarine — a Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, with excellent Chardonnays from the Côte des Blancs.”




Ageing and dosage of Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003


Isabelle says, “This vintage has aged well. It is very concentrated, rich and saturated with taste. It was bottled in 2004 and has been aged “sur lattes” [horizontally] for ten years. Then I decided to continue to age it “sur pointes[neck-down] to let ageing proceed more slowly.


In this regard, the House’s cellars offer the best possible ageing conditions — the degree and stability of the hygrometry, minimal light (and never white light), and a constant temperature of 11°C are ideal, perfectly suited to Champagne wines.


I dose this vintage on demand, bottle by bottle. The bottle’s crown cap remains on throughout ageing. I open the bottle, then dose the champagne very slightly to let the tertiary aromas develop fully. Finally, a cork marked with the vintage is fitted, along with the cap, the wire cage and the foil.”


This vintage champagne should be kept in a vertical position at a cellar temperature of 11°C and it should be drunk within the next few months, since the wine has reached optimum maturity.


Tasting notes and food-wine pairings for Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003


Isabelle Tellier gives us her tasting notes: “Tsarine Millésime 2003 is an intense brilliant gold color; its bubbles are exceptionally fine. The nose expresses the wealth of sun that year with flavors of toasted bread, hazelnuts, and roasted notes. The well-balanced palate is voluptuous and reveals notes of quince jelly, peanut butter and sweet spices. The finish is elegant, with iodine and saline notes.”


For Isabelle, this fine wine must be drunk with a meal whose dishes underline the tertiary aromas developed by ageing. For that reason she advises not drinking it with an aperitif, which could deprive you of full appreciation. She suggests a subtle menu: The highly evolved character of this Blanc de Blancs can pair with the flavors of truffles and white butter sauce; its finish delicately highlights the saline notes of the seafood.




Starter

Scallop carpaccio with truffles


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Main course

Turbot in white butter sauce


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Cheese

Ossau Iraty

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Dessert

Candied-fruit panettone



Throughout the meal, Tsarine Blanc de Blancs Millésime 2003 should be drunk at a temperature of between11° and 12°C.



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