Wine of the Year #1:
Ian's Pick - 2015 Renoir Les Epinettes Grand Cru

Posted by Ian McFadden

I was first introduced to Adrian Renoir’s champagnes at a distributor tasting earlier this year. His 2015 Les Epinettes was a clear standout among the lineup.

In fact, I insisted on bringing the bottle back to share with the staff. For the next few weeks, I was haunted by this bottle. It was that good.

The 2015 Les Epinettes is painstakingly precise and incisively mineral. Made from 50-year-old Pinot Noir vines from the Grand Cru village of Verzy, it shows a dazzling level of elegance and focus. It’s a wine that flaunts Verzy’s finesse and tension with perfect clarity.

Verzy, in the northeast corner of the Montagne de Reims, is one of the most fascinating and diverse terroirs in the region. Unlike the south-facing villages of Ambonnay or Bouzy that produce powerful, bold-fruited wines, Verzy, which faces northeast, produces wines of elegance, clarity, and energy. They are regal wines that are too often blended with the grapes of neighboring villages. I was thrilled to come across this exceptional example of Verzy’s unique terroir.

The warm, dry 2015 vintage turned out to be a wonderful compliment to Verzy’s north-facing Les Epinettes. The wine has a crystal-clear terroir imprint with fine-tuned precision, but what really takes this wine to another level, and why I chose it as my Wine of the Year, is its thrilling sense of harmony and completeness. There's a wonderful balance between its soaring, perfumed red fruits and its gripping, savory minerality.

Adrian Renoir, a 4th generation vigneron, officially took over his family’s estate in 2015, although he spent several years before that working alongside his father. He has made significant improvements in both the vineyards and the winery by transitioning to organic and biodynamic farming and taking a “hands-off” approach in the cellar. Today, the estate’s traditional cuvees are bottled under Adrian’s father’s name, Vincent Renoir, while Adrian’s single-vineyard bottlings bear his own name.

On a personal note, this wine strikes an important chord with me because it was one of the last wines introduced to me by one of my true wine mentors, Ned Benedict, who passed away a few months ago. Ned had a long history of drinking the very greatest wines the world had to offer, but he always got excited about new and up-and-coming producers that might have the potential to become one of the future classics. It’s one of the things I love about this journey through wine, and I will miss sharing these experiences with my friend.

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

Ian McFadden

Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits