Champagne Discovery! Penet Brut Nature Grand Cru

Posted by Ian McFadden

Penet Brut Nature Grand Cru
Meet our new favorite face in Champagne

You'll want to know this guy.

His name is Alexandre Penet. He walked into Crush a little over a year ago with just a suitcase full of samples and the good word of Brad Baker, "Champagne Warrior."

Let me preface this by saying that the percentage of blind samples we try that are actually worthwhile is dishearteningly low. When we tasted Penet's wines, we were absolutely floored by the quality. At the time, he had no representation in New York, and the frustration we felt for this wine that was new and great but unattainable was painful, to say the least.

So who is this guy? The fifth generation winemaker left behind his degrees in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the University of Chicago to buy up six hectares of Grand Cru land in Verzy. As a winemaker, Penet is dedicated, precise, deeply rooted in the academics of Champagne. These wines are highly considered, and eminently drinkable.

Sourced entirely from Grand Cru grapes, the Brut Nature is rich and enveloping on the palate, but with a striking forcefulness on the backend. Unlike most low-dosage wines, his maintain a warmth, an elusive ripeness of fruit: There is sharp structure, but it's not austere.

For Penet, no dosage allows for the truest expression of time and place. And if winemakers who are so invested in the idea of winemaking often tend to lose sight of the fact that, for all the philosophizing and strategizing, Champagne is meant to be drunk and enjoyed, Penet is not one of them. His wines are, at their base, immensely pleasurable to drink.

All this would sound like the lead-up to a much pricier wine, and Penet does offer single-vineyard-focused wines on the higher end under the name Penet-Chardonnet. But the Alexandre Penet wines are more approachable, more affordable, but by no means less serious. He selects trusted growers with whom he works on creating the base wines, crafting a final wine with focus, minerality, balance. The result is a wine that drinks far above its cost.

Good Champagne under $50 is not an easy category and one we're always trying to fill. This does so with flying colors.

Those who already appreciate the erudite purity of brut nature wines will need no more convincing from me. If you've been hesitant about low-dosage, this is the bottle to change your mind. And everyone needs value bubbly—you just don't expect it to be this good.

In a world that feels pretty well discovered already, we're always trying to find new things that excite us. When something like this does come along, it shouldn't be overlooked.

To order, reply to this email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine and Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits