Champagne Gosset
Visiting the Champagne region, part 6: the region's oldest winery

Gosset march to a slightly different beat to many of the other Champagne houses. I wanted to visit them because I had long admired their wines, with their linear precision.

Their main claim to fame? Gosset is the oldest wine producer in the Champagne region, dating back to 1584. However, they are not the oldest Champagne house, though: that title is claimed by Ruinart (1729).

For 17 generations Gosset was family owned, but in 1993 it was sold to the Cointreau family from Charente, owners of Frappin Cognac. The Gosset cellars then moved to Epernay from Aÿ back in 2009, and they now use their previous cellars for ageing and disgorgement.

Production here is a million bottles annually, so this is not a big house, nor is it a small one. This critical size gives them access to a diversity of terroirs (they work with a tight network of growers).

No oak is used here, but they do have a lot of stainless steel vats for the size of the operation. No malolactic fermentation takes place here and they don't need to move the wine around too much.

One of the developments that Gosset are pioneering is working with age in years (much like whisky producers do), rather than just vintage and NV. This is a clever concept.

Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé Brut NV
Half and half Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with 6% red wine to give colour. 2010 base with some 2011 and some 2009, 3.5 years on lees. Pale salmon pink in colour. Fresh and lively with nice purity. Some citrus, with a bit of red cherry fruit and some grip. This is a pure, pretty wine that's quite dry in character with a savoury edge. 90/100

Champagne Gosset Grande Réserve NV
This is one of the two main NV cuvées, along with Brut Excellence, the 'face of Gosset'. It's 2010 base, with some of the neighbouring vintages in the mix, disgorged 2015, a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier, with 8 g/l dosage. Lively and fresh with cherry and citrus, together with some pear richness. Nice balance between the fruity roundness and the citrussy tension. 91/100

Champagne Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs NV
A blend of 2010 and 2011. Very lively and focused with real precision. Fresh, lemony and intense with a lovely pure lemony character and a bit of roundness, but also high acidity. There's a lovely tension here. Very fresh and precise. 93/100

Champagne Gosset Brut 15 Ans de Cave a Minima
The winemaker at the time in the 1990s made a blend of years to see how they'd develop, and laid them down. These were recently pulled out and disgorged and they were really good, and so the concept of doing a whisky-like aged product was devised. This wine was bottled in 1999, and it's Chardonnay dominated. Intense, concentrated and lively with high acidity. There's some chalky, grainy savouriness as well as powerful lemony fruit, with hints of nuts and apples. Very dry and acidic, and really distinctive. 93/100

VISITING CHAMPAGNE
Part 1, JL Vergnon
Part 2, Bruno Paillard
Part 3, Anselme Selosse
Part 4, Pierre Péters
Part 5, Ulysse Collin

Wines tasted 04/16 
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