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24 July 2014 News

John Gilman has some great comments about the new Champagne Ayala releases, as follows:

Ayala Brut Nature NV (Ay)

The new release of Ayala Brut Nature is outstanding. The wine is a blend of forty-five percent pinot noir, thirty-five percent chardonnay and twenty percent pinot meunier and spent four years on the lees prior to disgorgement, and received no dosage whatsoever. The back label has a place at the bottom to stamp the date of disgorgement, but my particular bottle was not stamped clearly and I could not make out the date. In any event, the wine is absolutely singing, offering up a deep and vibrant nose of pear, lemon zest, chalky soil tones, brioche and white flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and shows off lovely mid-palate depth, with crisp, well-integrated acids, pinpoint bubbles, fine focus and grip and lovely mineral drive on the beautifully balanced and long finish. This is one of the best Brut Natures on the market today from a Grande Marque. 2014-2025+. 93 Points


Ayala ‘Brut Majeur” NV (Ay) Disgorged September 2013
The Ayala Brut Majeur has unveiled a new, black label with its current release (rather than the old white label with red type), or at least it is new to me, and it admirably includes a disgorgement date on the back label. The wine is excellent this year, offering up a very floral nose of pear, brioche, white peach, chalky soil tones, a subtle touch of crème patissière and a garden-full of white flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very nicely balanced, with a fine core, lovely focus and grip, pinpoint bubbles and a very long, crisp and complex finish. The dosage here is probably around nine or ten grams per liter, which may be just a touch too generous for purists, but the balance here is impeccable and this wine is drinking beautifully right now. 2014-2024. 91 Points


Ayala “Rose Majeur” Brut NV (Ay)
I had bad luck with the typesetter on the back labels of the samples I received from Ayala this spring, as this too has a spot for the date of disgorgement on the back, but it did not print and hence, there was no date. In any event, the wine is comprised of a blend of fifty-one percent chardonnay, forty percent pinot noir and nine percent pinot meunier and was aged on the lees for thirty months prior to disgorgement (whenever that was), and then was given an additional three months in the cellars prior to release. The color is a lovely salmon color, with a bit deeper hue than many of the Brut Roses out there these days, and offers up a lovely and quite vibrant bouquet of white cherries, tangerine, chalky minerality, bread dough, lovely spice tones, dried roses and a dollop of citrus zest in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, crisp and very well-balanced, with a good core, fine focus and grip, frothy mousse and very good length on the bright and complex finish. Today, the wine is a touch more complex on the nose than the palate, but another year in the cellar will allow the palate to play catch up. A very pretty bottle. 2014-2025. 90+ Points


2007 Ayala Blanc de Blancs Brut Millesime (Ay) Disgorged February 2013
The 2007 Ayala Blanc de Blancs Brut Millesime is a fine follow-up to the lovely 2005 version I reported upon last year. As I noted then, this cuvee hails exclusively from the grand cru villages of Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize and Chouilly. The bouquet is deep and youthfully vibrant, wafting from the glass in a mix of lemon chiffon, pear, chalky soil tones, bread dough, spring flowers and incipient notes of crème patissière. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, crisp and very elegant, with a fine core, frothy mousse, lovely focus and nascent complexity and a long, poised and snappy finish. Fine juice in the more ethereal style of Blanc de Blancs that will make this an excellent aperitif Champagne. 2014-2030. 92 Points


2005 Ayala “Cuvee Perle d’Ayala” Brut Millesime (Ay) Disgorged October 2013
This was the first time I had tasted Ayala’s Tête de Cuvée, Perle d’Ayala. The 2005 is comprised of a blend of eighty percent chardonnay and twenty percent pinot noir and spent nine years resting sur lies in the Ayala cellars, under cork, rather than crown top, prior to disgorgement. The wine offers up an excellent nose of apple, pear, incipient notes of pastry cream, chalky soil tones, biscuits and a lovely topnote of spring flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still quite youthful, with a lovely core, elegant mousse, crisp, beautifully integrated acids and excellent length and grip on the poised and still fairly primary finish. This is certainly approachable today, but it will clearly be even better with a year or two in the cellar and is an outstanding bottle of high class bubbly. 2016-2035. 93 Points