Rich Report Recommends: The 9 best still wines from the Côteaux Champenois

Rich Report Recommends: The 9 best still wines from the Côteaux Champenois
Courtesy of Bollinger Champagne‍

There are plenty of quirky still wines to choose from, from Bollinger to Timothée Stroebel.

The only thing you can count on is that Côteaux Champenois still wines are small in quantity, and barely even imported into the United States.They are quirky and delightful; each glass is an exciting little discovery. You really can't know what to expect, except that they will not be bubbled.

You can taste the passion behind these wines, which are a world away from the sparklers that power the region's economy. Some were multi-vintage wines, like sparkling Champagne, while others were produced from a single year. Below are 11 of my favorites.

Champagne Louis Roederer 2018 Camille Volibarts ($180)

Courtesy of Louis Roederer

There is a slight saline character to this Chardonnay that might make you think of a fine Chablis when you taste it, since it is the first white Côteaux from Roederer’s Hommage à Camille label. Featuring an elegant dance around strong flavors, this wine is a lively combination of ripe apple, toasted almonds, and floral notes, a heavenly match for a wide range of cheese courses.

Champagne Doyard Côteaux Champenois Blanc En Vieux Fombrés ($90)

This Chardonnay is a rich, round wine like the best white Burgundy, and it has both the texture and the taste of a top white Burgundy. In addition to the mouth-coating poached-pear flavors that linger forever, it is best left open in the refrigerator overnight for the best taste. A perfect match for any rich sauced white fish dish.

Marc Hébrart 2016 Côteaux Champenois Blanc Le Leon ($90)

Hébrart is a Chardonnay made from a distinguished, premier cru single vineyard. It has hints of baked apple and lemon curd in the medium-length finish, and it is an excellent companion to any vegetable-based pasta dish.

Egly-Ouriet 2018 Côteaux Champenois Ambonnay Rouge Cuvée des Grands Côtés ($225)

In spite of the fact that this broad-shouldered Pinot Noir has several gears and needs a few years of cellar maturation to fully pull itself together before opening, it is a wonderful example of Côteaux wine: intensely spiced, with a ripe cherry core and a long finish. It would be ideal to serve it with duck with a fruit sauce once it is ready.

Courtesy of Paris Champ

Charles Heidsieck Côteaux Champenois Ambonnay Rouge ($114)

In the same way that Champagne Charlie's flagship bubbly is well-tailored and self-possessed, this Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied wine with lots of red fruit, cinnamon and violet notes, and a touch of coffee bean that succeeds on its own terms. The wine should be allowed to open for an hour after decanting, and it should be paired with salmon.

Timothée Stroebel 2017 Côteaux Champenois Le Vin Tranquille Rosé de Saignée ($99)

It is rare for 100% Pinot Meunier wines to be produced outside of Champagne, where it serves as a blending partner alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wine's acidity is racy and transports you to a strawberry patch in June while its lively acidity reminds you of a unicorn munching on a four-leaf clover. While technically not technically a rosé, it's technically a light red, with its racy acidity.

Courtesy of McCarus Beverage Company

Benoit Déhu Côteaux Champenois Rouge ($95)

Violette, a horse named after the biodynamic vineyard, has played a major role in the cultivation of this 100% Pinot Meunier grape. It is no accident that violet aromas are included in this early tannin wine. Serve it with squab after it has opened up; it has several spices, as well as ripe plums.

Bérêche et Fils 2018 Côteaux Champenois Les Montées ($100)

A deep and rich Pinot Noir that has been barrel-aged with a distinct coconut taste, but that doesn't mask the cherry and plum flavors that it has to offer. In a couple of years, it will probably be better, with three quarters Pinot Noir and one quarter Pinot Meunier, which will allow you to bring out the pork loin.

Bollinger 2015 Côteaux Champenois La Côte Aux Enfants ($155)

Courtesy of Bollinger Champagne

It is worth the price of the bottle just for the nose of this wine, which reminds me of cherry trees growing in a shady wood. It is an amazingly evocative aroma of a great Pinot Noir and it demonstrates the great quality of its Grand Cru site in the Aÿ region of Champagne. It is a delightful combination of freshness, fruitiness, and class. This wine would make a great match with lamb, normally the specialty of Bordeaux, but try giving it a few hours in a decanter to allow it to evolve.

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