The Moutard-Diligent family can trace its roots in Champagne back to 1642, and its vinegrowing history spans centuries. The family first produced Champagne under its own name in the 1920s, and today farms its own vineyards in the Côte des Bar and buys grapes from other local growers. Their fascinating line-up of wines includes the “Cuvée des 6 Cépages”, made using varieties like Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc that are permitted, yet rarely seen in Champagne. I have to say I was very impressed by this range – these are very softly-styled, easy going wines that some may find lack a little austerity, but for me it was just a delicious line-up of wines that were fruity, well-balanced and particularly enjoyable to drink. UK importer is Hallgarten (+44 (0)1582 722538).
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Moutard Brut Reserve Champagne NV
Moutard’s Brut Reserve is 100% Chardonnay, aged more than three years in Moutard’s caves. This bottle, disgorged on 24th April 2006 pours a pale lemon/green colour, with very fine bubbles. On the nose it is delicately fruity and has an easy appeal, with a light peachiness. On the palate there is a lovely ripeness and limpid weight of pear and peach fruit, with a soft, pillowy mousse and a sense of fruit purity and roundness. There is a bit of creamy depth that develops through the mid-palate, and whilst the lemony, fresh acidity does a fine job of tightening and lengthening the finish, this remains deliciously soft and drinkable. A lovely, very easy to drink aperitif Champagne, yet not without structure. £18.00
Moutard Rosé Prestige Brut Champagne NV
As with all their Champagnes, Moutard’s Rosé Prestige Brut is made with grapes (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) from their vineyards in the Cote des Bar, with their clay and limestone soils. This wine has a lovely colour; a delicate salmon pink, with a good, steady stream of tiny bubbles. On the nose there is a very potent impression of strawberry fruit, with a subtle peachy background and a soft, harmonious character. On the palate this gives an initially sweet-edged impression, with very pure, fruity flavours and a crisp mousse that is lively and fresh in the mouth. This stays crisp and fruity through the mid-palate, with enough richness to be mouth-filling and voluminous, but with that racy edge of crisp fruit and acidity never far from the core of this wine finely honed and balanced wine. This is not a fantastically complex rosé Champagne, but I have to say that like all of Moutard’s wines, it is both delicious and very precisely and beautifully constructed. £18.99
Moutard Champagne Cuvée des 6 Cépages 2001
This fascinating Champagne harks back to the 19th century, when the familiar Champagne grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier where often joined by Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc. Those six grapes appear here in a delightfully fragrant and floral wine, disgorged in December 2005, so with a bit of bottle age. It pours quite a deep golden colour, with an explosion of tiny bubbles across the glass. On the nose a developing toastiness and nutty quality mingles with elegant floral notes and citrus fruit. In the mouth the mousse is lively, and a breezy, mouthfilling weight of ripe apple and pear fruit floods across the palate. This has a hint of sweetness to it, in Moutard’s approachable house style, with a nicely sour lemon and orange acidity adding some resistance into a long, delicious finish. Not a fantastically profound wine experience that says something new about Champagne, but a fascinating one, with the Pinot Blanc character imposing, and with a delicious flavour profile. Hugely enjoyable. £27.00
Moutard Vintage Brut Champagne 1992
Moutard’s 1992, 100% Chardonnay from the Kimmeridgien soils of the Côte des Bar, pours a pale golden colour. A steady stream of tiny bubbles rises evenly. On the nose there is really richness here, and a sense of a maturing, harmonious wine, with nuances of toffee and bread dough, and a ripeness of sweet apple fruit, touching into a peachy quality. On the palate this is bold and fresh, with a nettly crispness and the mousse quite frisky and shimmering, rather than creamy and opulent. It has a very solid lemon zest fruitiness and acid structure, and is both mouthfilling and sharply defined. Perhaps this just lacks the complexity of the 1991 for me, but it has lovely style and is very appealing to drink. £27.99
Moutard Vintage Brut Champagne 1991
Though from a generally sub-par year, this 100% Chardonnay wine from the Côte des Bar in Champagne was an absolute delight to drink 16 years after the vintage I must say. It pours a pale to medium straw/gold, still with a hint of emerald. Tiny, pin-prick bubbles rise steadily and fairly evenly across the glass. On the nose there is a subtly rich toastiness, with buttered crumpets and a delicate peachy fruit quality. There’s a background hint of nettles and a grassy quality, in quite a complex profile. On the palate there’s a delicious edge of sweetness, combined with a smooth, persistent mousse, before a blast of clean, crisp apple fruit begins to dominate. There is a tart, savoury edge to the mid-palate, with background notes of a nutty, almost slightly toffeed character, but really this stays very fresh and beautifully stylish and well-balanced into a long, mouthwatering finish. A delightful vintage Champagne. £27.99