Corbon 1996, when a Millésime becomes Grand

by Chiara Giovoni 01/20/17
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Corbon 1996, quando un Millésime diventa Grand

The day has finally arrived for the devotees of the dry and distinctive Corbon style who have waited for so many long years. Agnes and Claude Corbon’s Vintage 1996 finally arrived on the market at the end of 2016, 20 years after its grapes were picked. Cordon’s wine is based on the Chardonnay from Avize and the producer’s touch is unmistakable as it brings out the full character of this Grand Cru village where the small family winery is situated, surrounded by its vineyards. And it is from this ‘garden’ of 40-year-old vines that Agnes Corbon has been carrying on a small revolution which began when she joined her father Claude in not only producing wine but imposing a more responsible farming approach by eliminating the use of herbicides in the vineyard and embracing greater respect for biodiversity.

But this is not the only key to interpreting Corbon production. Their Champagne has a clear-cut identity, a distinct verticality and an intact finesse, one in which elegance it not contrived but the result of rejecting any excess in the glass, from the effervescence to the traits achieved by aging. The grapes from Avize give the wines a floral profile with a savory minerality that through aging long on the lees allows their vintage Blanc de Blancs to achieve a refined expressiveness from this terroir’s already prestigious Chardonnay.

“Il est urgent d’attendre” observes Agnes Corbon, underscoring how time is a determining factor in creating a Champagne. This is why this Grand Millésime has only now reached the market, after being disgorged in February 2016 and then sitting almost a year in the bottle. Lessing said that “the wait of pleasure is the pleasure itself” and in this case one can say that the suffering from waiting so long has been rewarded by this splendid Champagne.

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