Julien and Sarah Launois are making quite a stir from their little home base in Le Mesnil sur Oger at the heart of Champagne's Côte des Blancs. They are a 'new' domaine founded on what used to be an old Billecart pressing house, smack in the historic center of the village. Krug is their next door neighbor.
The couple decided to leave the co-op and bottle their own wine in 2015. Their 6.5ha, all prime real estate in the heart of Le Mesnil, were simply too impressive to relegate to regional blending. And so, the domaine-bottling adventure began.
'Monochrome' has quickly emerged as their flagship wine, and is a marriage of their choicest parcels in Le Mesnil, none more than a chip shot from Krug's famous Clos du Mesnil. 'Monochrome' attempts to locate a non plus ultra of effortless elegance, and so relies less on reserve wine than the domaine's other production. Dosage is just a single gram, furthering aiding the pursuit of an undiluted purity of expression. 'A wine of cold sun and chalk,' says Julien.
This is the 2019 disgorgement of this distinguished cuvée, and the wine has settled in nicely at a convergence point of lusty, youthful charm and detail-rich development. There is first that peerless Le Mesnil purity - citrus and stone in seemingly hi-def - along with complicating suggestions of brioche and white flowers. The texture is creamy, yet shot through with freshness and a distinctly saline edge, with a fine and elegant mousse supporting. I love the trajectory of development here, which has the wine stretching out in a candied citrus and buttered toast direction, lending depth and middle to the wine. This is a delightful Blanc de Blancs at its apogee of expressiveness and, at under $60 in 3-packs, is as smart a value as you're likely to find.