Autréau de Champillon, Champagne (France) Premier Cru Extra-Brut NV

($46, Baron Francois): Though Chardonnay comprises only about 20% of this blend — the reminder is equal parts of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier — the finesse imparted by that grape comes through.  It is a masterful blend because the red grapes don’t dominate, they just add a touch of power.  It delivers a pleasantly piercing touch of green apple-like notes along with a saline minerally component.  It is marvelous as a stand-alone aperitif but those red grapes provide extra oomph.  A cutting edginess from the Extra Brut designation — only 3 grams of dosage — reinforces the idea that it can hold up to say, chicken in a mushroom cream sauce.
92 Michael Apstein Sep 27, 2022