Bérêche & Fils, Champagne (France) Brut Réserve NV

($46): So-called grower Champagnes, those made from one person’s or family’s vineyards, are all the rage.  I recommend this one, not because it is a grower Champagne, which it is, but because of its suave complexity.  Making Champagne from a limited number of family vineyards is a two-edged sword.  A plus is the wine’s potential to express a sense of place, or terroir.  A minus is the inability to even out the blend should localized weather problems affect the vineyards. Bérêche & Fils has the best of both worlds.  This, their standard Brut, contains about one-third reserve wine (the remainder is from the current vintage) and is a blend of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  Importantly, their roughly 23 acres of vineyards are located in several areas of the Champagne appellation: different parts of the Montagne de Reims and the western part of Vallée de la Marne, which allows them to achieve complexity that comes, in part, from blending wines from different terroirs.  Creamy and silky with the perfect balancing backbone, it is an excellent choice as an aperitif.  But it has sufficient oomph to stand up to grilled swordfish or even a roast chicken. It’s important to remember that Champagne is a wine that goes beautifully with food.
92 Michael Apstein May 2, 2017