Let’s begin January(a.k.a Champagnuary) with a BAM, and I mean literally a BAM!. I chose to pop open my most exciting new discovery of 2015 to begin the Champagnuary celebrations, Tarlant Brut Nature BAM!. This exquisite blanc de blanc cuvée has stolen my heart.
So you are wondering why is this wine so special? Well, this Tarlant Champagne is made from ancient retired grapes that were on the verge of disappearing in the Champagne region. Thanks to global warming, technology, and innovative Champagne growers like Tarlant, these rare grapes are being revived. These unique grapes are Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, and Petit Meslier(Blanc, Arbanne, and Meslier), hence the name BAM. Traditionally the dominant grapes of Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, but there are several wine grower in recent years that have dedicated some of their vines to these rare grapes. There are 84,000 acres of vineyards that produce Champagne, only .3% of the acreages are committed to growing Pinot Blanc, Arbanne, and Petit Meslier. BAM is a rare wine with only 1100 bottles produced. I would highly recommend this artisanal Champagne to any wine connoisseur, as it is a beautiful testament to these three obscure grapes.
The Tarlant family has been making wines for generations, since 1687. Currently the Tarlant Champagnes are being produced by Jean-Mary and Benoit. Benoit envisioned making BAM as a tribute to these three ancient grapes. Benoit along with his sister Melanie(Benoit and Melanie aka BAM), took on the challenge to resurrect these three grapes and together have produced this lovely new Champagne. The wine is made from a combination of the 2007 and 2008 harvest. It is made with 18% Pinot Blanc, 18% Arbanne, and 64% Petit Meslier. The vineyards are located in the picturesque town of Oeuilly in the Marne Valley of Champagne and grown on limestone, sand and silica. The wine exhibits its terroir distinctively.
Tarlant BAM is Brut Nature, made with all white grapes and zero dosage. The Champagne has aromas of stone fruit, honey, apples and underneath it all, bread and brioche. The palate is richly concentrated with mouth puckering acidity. This wine is not for the faint at heart, the acidity is gripping yet delightful. This Champagne is definitely one of the most acidic wine I have ever had. The Arbanne grape contributes immensely to this sharp acidity. The palate is full, rich and luscious. The fruit profile of the apples, lemons, and oranges dance on your tongue. The long finish is fresh, crisp, explosive and lingers on the tongue long after your first taste.
Tarlant BAM is a blanc de blanc(made with all white grapes) and is stylistically very different from other Champagnes. It pairs well cheeses, shellfish, and nutty desserts. The sharp acidity of this Champagne also make it the perfect accompaniment with spicy Indian or Thai food.
I first tried the Tarlant BAM at the French Wine Society’s 10th Anniversary Symposium and instantly fell in love with its sexiness, zest, style and uniqueness. I immediately sought it out, though hard to find, since only 1100 bottles are produced. The Champagne is available in a few stores around New York City and through online retailers($160).