By Paige Donner
Nestled in the sleepy, gentile hillsides of Épernay, France you will find the House of Champagne Charles Mignon. One of the last remaining fully family-owned and run champagne houses in France, this medium-sized producer issues about 100,000 cases or approximately 1.2 million bottles a year. The house, now in its 3rd generation of family ownership/stewardship, has been a member of the Union des Maisons de Champagne since 2003. Its wines have been listed in the Guide Hachette since 1999.
In other words, Champagne Charles Mignon is one of the purest types of champagne money can buy and even its philosophy of winemaking, of not aging the juice in wood because, “like a beautiful woman, it doesn’t need any make up,” is a philosophy of purity and elegance.The grapes they use are the traditional blends of Chardonnay, mostly from Chouilly, Pinot Noir, predominantly from Bouzy, and their Pinot Meunier from Hautvillers and Damery for its fresh, fruity elements.
So when I recently came across the announcement from Luxury Group Billionaires Row that they were releasing their own champagne, Billionaires Row Champagne, and that what was in their bottles is Charles Mignon Champagne’s Cuvée Comte de Marne Rosé Grand Cru, I had to find out more.
First of all, Billionaires Row defines itself as: “a premier luxury lifestyle company,” that “serves as the definitive authority on connoisseurship”…okay, I can get that pairing. It also explains why they would have chosen such a prestige cuvée, one that is aged a minimum of 4 years in the house’s Épernay cellars and one that is produced in quantities of 20,000 bottles per year – only.
The Charles Mignon Cuvées Comte de Marne are made from the top 15% of the best, or “noblest,” of the harvests’ grapes. When they bottle it, such as for their Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru and their Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru Millésime, as well as the Rosé Grand Cru, they do so in a unique reproduction of 18th century antique bottles.
For the Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru, expect floral notes of acacia on the nose, followed by dried fruits, almonds. This complex bouquet is echoed by the mouth where you find the subtle enhancement of delicate tastes of candied fruits. This beautiful crown jewel of the Charles Mignon champagnes suits occasions such as weddings, receptions, and any events where foie gras might be served on little pieces of triangled toasts.
The Cuvée Comte de Marne Rosé Grand Cru, the one you can now find as well with the BR label on it, is a harmonious subtle salmon rosé that it is perfect as aperitif or paired with molten chocolate cake. Its nose of light rose floral notes and its very fine bubbles give way to delicate flavors of apricot and hazelnuts and a long ample finish with an ever so slight spiciness.
Their Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru Millésime was made only in the years of 2000, 2004 and 2008 thus far. The 2004 vintage is 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, aged for 5 years in the family’s Épernay cellars.
The family Mignon started out in the Champagne region as growers of grapes. It is only since 1995 that the current progeny/ owners have been bottling their own champagnes. Their champagnes are sold today in over 40 countries worldwide, including the U.S., the U.K. and Japan.