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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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swirl and savor

Special Feature, Champagne Jean Velut Brut

Beth Ribblett

Being huge bubbly fans ourselves, we don't ever need a holiday or special event to pop a bottle of Champagne.  However, I know many of you may be looking for a nice bottle to have for Valentine's Day and I'm here to tell you your search is over!  While we have a really great,carefully chosen stock of vintage, grower and big house champagnes, over the last few months the entire staff at Swirl has become quite enamored with the wines from Jean Velut.  So much so that we are featuring it in our special Valentine's Day Flite Nite!

Jean Velut is a grower Champagne from one of the lesser known villages sitting midway between the Cote des Bars and the Cote de Sezanne.  Montgueux is known as the “Montrachet of the Côte des Bars” for its fascinating and distinctive Chardonnays supported by area's uncharacteristic chalky, limestone soils. The growers around the region have long sold fruit to some of the marque houses such as Piper Heidsieck, but there are a few bottling their own wines from this unique terrior. 

Denis Velut’s grandfather Jean established this 7 hectare domaine as a récoltant/manipulant (grower) thirty years ago. He practices organic viticulture and does not use any insecticides or chemical fertilizers, instead opting to use organic compost. The wines are made entirely in stainless steel. 

His Non-Vintage Brut is made with 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir. It gets its structure from the steely austerity of the chalk infused chardonnay while the ripe Pinot provides a fruity lift. The chalky plateau on which the vineyards sit is unique to all of Champagne and imparts the Chardonnay dominant wine with that distinctive minerality.   Aromas of apple and pear with a touch of biscuity toastiness, this is super balanced with its bold and zesty palate.  Fairly opulent with fresh lemon, chalk and apples, it finishes with a refreshing burst of racy minerality.

You can try it on Valentine's Day during our special flite nite where you can try 4 bubblies for $15 anytime from 5:30 to 8pm.  Buy it at retail for $41 and share it with someone you care about or keep it all to yourself!  A dozen raw oysters and a bottle of Jean Velut?  Perfection!

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Dec 12
(85% chardonnay and 15% pinot noir):  Light yellow.  Ripe orchard fruits and toasted nuts on the fragrant nose.  Fleshy but precise, offering lively pear and Meyer lemon flavors and a hint of marzipan.  Finishes smooth and long, with musky herb and honey notes. 90 points