When the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes described life in a state of nature as “nasty, brutish and short,” he was probably drinking some cheap imitation sparkling wine. He obviously wasn’t referring to Champagne, and certainly not the Champagne Lenoble Cuvée Intense. While this wine is a Brut, and people who prefer a more delicate style might even call it a “brute,” it is definitely not nasty. Nor is it short. In fact, it may be evidence that Champagne is one of life’s civilizing forces that make life worth living. Though I guess you could say that about any bottle of Champagne.
Simply put, the Cuvée Intense lives up to its name. I opened it near the end a dinner party that started with another very respectable Champers before progressing on to various other wines. After those bottles were done, the crowd was still in the mood for bubbles, and as soon as we smelled the Lenoble, the party regained momentum. This blend of the three Champagne grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – offers rich, toasty aromas followed by deep flavors of red currants and orchard fruits, embraced by toasted hazelnuts. The best description of it really is “intense.” Unfortunately, the wine is not in wide distribution – but it is worth seeking out. And at $50, it’s actually reasonably priced.
Here’s my 3-star (“Extraordinary”) review from this coming Wednesday’s Washington Post Food section:
“Intense” is a good name for this wine – it packs power, but adds finesse in a tightly wound, mouth-filling wine that grabs your attention and won’t let go. Would that there were more of it.
Robins Cellars: Available in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington; Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; and Vienna Vintner.