Well, well! I tasted, but didn't drink Bonnaire range in 2003 with the wine maker and his son. I asked out of curiosity when the son first drank Champagne. It was the father who replied: "The minute he was born". It was probably intended as a joke but I decided to believe it. Since then Bonnaire slipped completely from my radar, for a few reasons of course. It was practically invisible to me as hardly anyone stocked it. My memory of it was great, and memorable but in those days a malolactic Champagnes and a straight Chardonnay weren't exactly on the top of my agenda of Champagne explorations. In those days I was fascinated by Pinot Noir expressions. Though, it would be unfair to say that about a year later I would drink Mumm de Cramant which is a village, grand cru, growing exclusively Chardonnay grape producing extremely elegant and floral Champagnes. Mumm's relic which I have not seen on the shelves for years reminded me of Bonnaire, but yet again, Bonnaire slipped my mind just as Mumm's blanc de blanc slipped from shop shelves; for years (a decade!)
Until, last Friday, it was offered to me as a gift. I was very pleased to see it! I was pleased to see they have changed the design and I was pleased to be drinking it. I was excited to finally have something as delicious as Cramant Chardonnay.
Oh and was it sensational! Round, perfectly balanced, although not a total blanc de blanc but unmistakably rich, full of fruit and long elegance. Structured almost like an Avize Chardonnay would be, and as elegant as Le Mesnil would grow. Brioche nose with light hints of honey will develop over a few years into nice hazelnut tones. And for an entry level Champagne this is an absolute BARGAIN and a total sensation!
I have a new favourite!
Buckets of it now!