Face-off: Three cuvées of 2014 Blanc de Blancs

tasted in July 2022, Gran Canaria, Spain

While we enjoy trying great individual champagne bottles, it is quite frequent that we organize a face-off of different cuvées. For this occasion we have selected three cuvées prestige that are fresh and affordable to try in a tropical summer setup. And the best way to compare wines is using at least one common element (type of the wine, vintage, grape variety, area, vinification technique etc.). For this face-off we have used various common elements i.e. the same vintage (2014), the same grape variety (100% Chardonnay), the same area (Côte des Blancs) and the same bottle format (usual 750 ml bottle). Also all the cuvées are classified as Grand Cru. The major difference is that we have chosen small producers and a big Champagne house. Both Gimonnet Gonet and Bonnaire are small producer while Mumm is one of the biggest house in Champagne. Although very close, there is also a minor difference in terms of dosage: Mumm RSRV has 6g/L (Brut), Bonnaire 5g/L (Extra Brut) and Gimonnet Gonet L’Identité 4g/L (Extra Brut).

All three cuvées are from Côte des Blancs region, but the terroirs have their own particularities. Overall, the 2014 vintage was challenging. The growing season started good with a warm, dry spring, though the summer through August was cool and particularly damp. September proved to be warm and dry and Chardonnay in Côte des Blancs produced some exceptional wines. Let’s now analyse each one in detail:

Bonnaire used for this special cuvée two of the very best plots in Cramant from the estate’s oldest vines from lieu-dits in Le Bateau and Les Terres de Buisson. Bonnaire’s viticulture method is certified HVE3 (High Value Environmental, level3). The vinic and malolactic fermentations are made in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and the wine is kept for at least 6 years on lees before disgorgement.

Gimonnet Gonet’s L’Indentité 2014 is a very limited cuvée (only 4000 bottles are issued). The grapes for this vintage champagne come exclusively from south-facing plots of the prestigious villages of Cramant and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Just like the Bonnaire, the vinic and malolactic fermentation was made in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, followed by a period of 6 month of maturation in the same type of recipients. Then the wine is left for aging on lees for 4 years before disgorgement.

Finally, but not the least, let’s talk about RSRV from Mumm, the reserved cuvée issued in a limited edition. Subsequent of “Mumm de Cramant” cuvée, the RSRV Blanc de Blancs 2014 grapes are collected from the best east-oriented, protected from winds, plots in Cramant (most of them are historical plots acquired by the house in 1882). Vinification is made in stainless steel vats without malolactic fermentation and the aging on lees is made for at least 3 years (our bottle has been disgorged in December 2018). One particularity of this cuvée: instead of the typical pressure of 6 bar, usually met in Champagne, this wine is released with a lower pressure of 4.5 bar (maybe the heritage of the cremant?). This allows the wine to better express its minerality.

Tasting notes:

Bonnaire BdB Cramant 2014: dry, lovely crispy mousse, balanced, medium body, complex aftertaste.

Nose: peach, sweet apples, yeast, pastry, hints of vanilla

Palate: apples, lemon peel, caramel, vanilla, toasty/smoky notes.

Good aging potential.

Gimonnet Gonet L’Identité BdB 2014: intense with good depth, complex and rich, medium body, very well balanced. Long and clean with very pleasant aftertaste.

Nose: white flowers, ripe pear, citrus, almonds, toast. Perhaps some hints of white mushrooms too.

Palate: green apples, pears, butter, brioche, cassis, caramel.

Good aging potential.

Mumm RSRV Bdb 2014: extraordinarily rich and elegant, exhibiting attracting mineral tension, great acidity, fresh but creamy, long and complex.

Nose: white flowers, green apples, pear, citrus, white peaches, brioche. Some toasty notes.

Palate: citrus, green apple, yeast, butter, cream, brioche, sherbet, oyster shell, stone.

Excellent aging potential.

Conclusion: All three champagnes are excellent expressions of Blanc de Blancs, they are fresh, complex and very well structured. While Bonnaire is the winner at the terroir-expression category and Gimonnet Gonet is number one at purity and dryness, Mumm is the gold medal of elegancy / finesse and has the best aging potential. In terms of price, Bonnaire and Gimonnet Gonet are the winners with a medium price of 50euros, while Mumm can go as high as 70euros. Overall, our recommendation is to try all of them now, separately or together, and keep Mumm RSRV for aging in your cellar.

CLB score

Bonnaire Cramant BdB Grand Cru 2014

90


Gimonnet Gonet L'Identité BdB Grand Cru 2014

91


Mumm RSRV BdB Grand Cru 2014

93

*take a look at our CLB scoring

Type of champagne
Bonnaire Cramant BdB 2014
Gimonnet Gonet L’Identité BdB 2014
Mumm RSRV BdB 2014

Extra Brut
Extra Brut
Brut
Vintage2014
Grapes100% Chardonnay
Village/terroir
Bonnaire Cramant BdB 2014
Gimonnet Gonet L’Identité BdB 2014
Mumm RSRV BdB 2014

Cramant
Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger
Cramant
Aged
Bonnaire Cramant BdB 2014
Gimonnet Gonet L’Identité BdB 2014
Mumm RSRV BdB 2014

6 years
4 years
at least 3 years
Sizebottle (75cl)
Price range (euro)
Bonnaire Cramant BdB 2014
Gimonnet Gonet L’Identité BdB 2014
Mumm RSRV BdB 2014

50
50
70

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