NV Dhondt-Grellet Champagne Les Terres Fines, 100% Chardonnay

Another boutique producer, this time from Cuis, and this time 100% Chardonnay. 30% of the wine is vin de réserve from a solera system started in 1986, disgorged 29 June 2015, zero dosage.

This was also purchased from Dave Chan at Wine Journey, http://www.winejourney.com.sg. at a memorable Restaurant Markus wine dinner matching food with wines from Champagne and Burgundy.

Coming from nine different plots all from the limestone rich soils of Cuis with an average age of 45 years, Les Terres Fines is an expression of Chardonnay that could only come from Cuis. The base vintage makes up 70% of the blend with the remainder a perpetual reserve going back to 1986. Dosage is 0g/L.”

My take

This wonderful wine disappeared in a flash. I had noted lemon confit, brioche, citrus and floral before it was gone. Best to leave this to the experts below.

Some tasters comments

“Beautiful medium straw yellow, hint of green; fresh and floral nose, citrus and chalk, well-integrated warmth and richness from the vin de réserve, hint of praline, good depth; wonderfully pure and precise palate, energetic and fresh but nicely rounded and not austere; very good resonance and length.”

“A rising star in Champagne. The signature of the house style – SOLERA system. Adrien’s entry level Dans un Premier is crisp, full of citrus notes and really refreshing that offer good depth thanks to the reserved wines that dated back to 1986. And of course, moving up is the brilliant Blanc de Blancs cuvees. These are amazingly rich and yet the structure of the acids is so classically Chardonnay. Very minutes amount of Dosage : 0 – 5g/l depending on cuvées.”

The freshness of all the cuvees is what impressed us despite the wines are blended with the Solera-System from 1986.

2009 Contrees Fragnoy by Horiot

100% Pinot Noir

This was a complete revelation. Fresh as if bottled yesterday, a truly sensational wine.

1995 Penfolds Grange 13.5%

97 points Wine Spectator

“A massive wine, majestic in its proportions, combining power and grace in equal measure. Flavors of plum, blackberry, chocolate and pepper, with hints of cedar, licorice and mint, swirl through the exotic finish. Tannins swarm but don’t overwhelm the finish, which echoes all day and night. Best from 2004 through 2020.” (HS)

95 points James Halliday

“In the manner of all great stayers, has picked up pace markedly over the past year. Deeply coloured, ripe cherry, spice, vanilla and a hint of licorice rumble through the bouquet; the palate is powerful and sustained by sweet tannins, the plum and black cherry fruit providing the core for the future.” (JH) (10/2000)


It’s brick red verging on black in colour. Nose of sweet toasty oak, sweet stewed plums, chocolate, herbs, licorice, black cherries, pepper spice. a cavalcade of dense, dark fruit and multi layered.

As above, and only medium bodied (a Grange medium bodied?). But the intensity of all the players in this opera is quite stunning. Tannins are still playing a major part, while still giving the other characters room to strut their stuff. It is rich and smooth, layer upon layer of deep dark savoury spicy fruit. The finish goes on long and deep carried way down on the back of spicy pepper and smooth tannins. Is it a paradox? It is voluptuous and imposing, but is medium bodied only.

Voluptuous and imposing, power with elegance.

Congratulations to our friends Ian and Diana Brown who kept this great wine in perfect condition. And what a treat it was to be invited to help them drink it.

1995 Grange

2015 Teusner Avatar

Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz. 14.5%

Winemaker Kym Teusner is one of the Barossa’s young Turks – but with a twist. While many of his generation are making massively rich and ripe reds – often at very high prices – Teusner has aimed to balance the natural power of old vine Barossa material with careful, reductive winemaking that produces wines of wonderful elegance and complexity

His wines are about as close as the Barossa gets to reminding the drinker of the Southern Rhone, and their value for money is quite astounding.

James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2018. 98 Points.

“50% grenache, 26% shiraz, 24% mataro, the grenache and mataro vines almost 100 yo, matured in used puncheons and hogsheads for 16 months. Retains both crimson hue and depth, the shiraz, despite being only a quarter of the blend, has a significant impact, both in terms of dark/black fruit flavour and firmer structure, but at the end of the day, it’s the heady perfume and juicy red fruits of the grenache and mataro that make this glorious wine what it is. Screw cap. 14.5% alc. To 2039.”