Notes from North Berkeley Imports:
"Older-vine Pinot Noir (planted in 1946) from the pure-chalk vineyard of ‘Crayères.’ Unquestionably one of the finest, south-facing terroirs in Ambonnay, ‘Crayères’ outshines many a vintage wine for its depth and age-ability.
Francis Egly’s grand cru vineyards are located in the villages of Ambonnay, Verzenay and Bouzy; premier cru Pinot Meunier vineyards are located in the village of Vrigny (on the Petite Montagne). Grand cru vineyards are planted to 70 percent Pinot Noir and 30 percent Chardonnay; vine are on average 40 years old. Above all, diligent work in the vineyards to control yields with the goal of obtaining truly ripe grapes (unusual for Champagne) is Egly’s primary philosophy.
Grapes are harvested by hand when perfectly ripe, and pressed full cluster in a refrigerated, gentle press that is designed to avoid any chance of oxydation. Juice is fermented on indigenous yeasts, partially in French oak barrels (purchased from Burgundian winemaker Dominique Laurent) and partially in tank. Malolactic fermentation is allowed or blocked depending on the needs of the vintage.
Wines spend an especially prolonged time on fine lees in bottle, with three to four years the minimum, a choice that differentiates Egly’s textured, supple wines from thinner commercial Champagnes. Dosage before bottling is very low, seldom more than 2-5 grams/L. All wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered."