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Champagne News: New, Limited Allocation Arrivals from Michel Arnould - 01/29/2018 - Champagne

We just received a new shipment from Champagne Michel Arnould, our top producer of Pinot Noir driven Champagne from the north side of the Mountain of Reims. Along with favorites like the Brut Reserve, Grand Cuvée and Rose, we also received a tiny allocation of vintage products. From his oldest Pinot Noir vines, we received only five cases of the 2011 Memoire de Vignes, and even less of the half Mesnil, half Verzenay 2012 and 2008 vintage.

Arnould is located in Verzenay, one of the most exciting and unique terroirs in all of Champagne; the furthest north of all of the Grand Crus, it faces north away from the sun and still manages to produce some of the most powerful Pinot Noir in the region. Some of the locals say that a mysterious warm air current is the explanation for this ripening anomaly; others will say that it is impossible to explain, like the flight of the bumblebee. I love the distinct, hazelnut quality that this special village stamps on its wines, and I feel very lucky to have convinced Mr. Patrick Arnould to sell us some of his great wines.

Patrick is the fifth generation of Champagne Michel Arnould. They own 27 acres in the village of Verzenay, a quite sizable holding in this high rent area. It is planted to 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, which reflects the average plantation for the village. The black Pinot is king here. The Arnould’s have quite a few plots of vines that are very old and positioned in the golden band of the mid slope, where the sun exposure is best. They have a high proportion of old vines (40 to 50 years old) and all of the wines undergo complete malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and enamel vats.

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
2012 Michel Arnould "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne 23 $49.99 View
2008 Michel Arnould "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne (1.5L) 14 $99.00 View
2011 Michel Arnould "Memoire de Vignes" Brut Champagne >36 $59.99 View
Michel Arnould "Grand Cuvée" Brut Champagne >48 $39.99 View
Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne 90 >48 $32.99 View
Michel Arnould Verzenay Extra Brut Champagne >48 $39.99 View
Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Rosé Champagne >48 $34.99 View


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2012 Michel Arnould "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne ($49.99)

The Carte d'Or from Arnould makes up less than 2% of their small production, and then not every year. Patrick Arnould trades grapes with Delphine Cazals for this wine, which 50% Mesnil Grand Cru from her estate, and 50% old vine Pinot Noir from the Arnould estate in Verzenay. Our allocation is tiny, and this Champagne is capable of very long ageing. -Gary Westby

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 12, 2017

While I've been obsessing over the 2008s, It's great to lift my head and remember the wonderful champagne from vintages to come. 2012, while an extremely tough spring and summer, lead to a miraculously perfect fall. The grapes that made it to the end, although a small amount, are high quality, rich and concentrated. The 2012 Carte D'Or, encompases the vintage's full charater with bold aromatics and finness on the palate. The wine is 50% Mesnil Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their oldest vines in Verzenay. It is filled with notes of tart raspberry and fresh lemon and just a hint of nutty richness.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 09, 2017

This Gold Card blend from our favorite Verzeney producer Michel Arnould is made from half estate-grown Grand Cru Pinot Noir, half Grand Cru Chardonnay from the Côte de Blancs. The vintage showcases rich, concentrated white-fleshed fruit notes with vibrant acidity and the balance only true craftsmanship and extended aging on the lees can produce.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 08, 2017

Arnould's Carte d'Or is fantastic stuff. While I realize I may be preaching to the choir if you are already on this product page, please allow me to tempt you/fill you in if this is a new name for you! The Montagne de Reims village of Verzenay, home base for Michel Arnould, is Pinot Noir country - grand cru Pinot Noir country at that. The wine from here is distinctive even in Arnould's NV bottlings, though in as strong a vintage as 2012 - a consensus pick for one of the best vintages of the last twenty among Champagne growers - the wine simply becomes a must have. Nutty aromas show fruit, though the nose to me is more savory than fruit forward. The palate is all about balance: complete, nicely dry, some golden fruits and still with years of development ahead of it. I could bore you about the virtues of ageing Champagne, far more effective however would be to purchase some of these and crack open a bottle or two every so often over the course of several years, or much, much longer!

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2008 Michel Arnould "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne (1.5L) ($99.00)

The Carte d'Or from Arnould makes up less than 2% of their small production, and then not every year. Patrick Arnould trades grapes with Delphine Cazals for this wine, which 50% Mesnil Grand Cru from her estate, and 50% old vine Pinot Noir from the Arnould estate in Verzenay. Our allocation is tiny, and this Champagne is capable of very long ageing. -Gary Westby

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

We only received three cases of the fantastic 2008 vintage in magnums from Arnould. This Champagne was released in magnum at the same time as the 2012 was released in 750's, giving you, the Champagne lover an extra four years of ageing on the lees for no premium. The combination of half Mesnil Chardonnay and half Verzenay Pinot Noir in the great 2008 vintage has yielded a Champagne for the ages... This one needs a lot of time to unwind its massive concentration.

2011 Michel Arnould "Memoire de Vignes" Brut Champagne ($59.99)

This spectacular all-Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs comes from old vines in the Grand Cru of Verzenay. While 2011 was a difficult vintage overall in Champagne, this is a spectacular wine, with power and richness to spare. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

Don't let the less than famous 2011 vintage fool you- this is flat out one of the top Pinot Noir Champagnes that we have in the store at any price. It is composed exclusively from old massal selected vineyards in the grand cru of Verzenay, and manages to be both very concentrated, powerful and rich as well as maintaining a chalky lift that only the best terroirs can offer in Champagne. If you are looking for kaleidoscope like, multi faceted Champagne this is for you. Too bad we only received five cases!

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

I love Pinot Noir Champagnes. Im always stunned at the power and grace of the good ones, and the Memoire de Vignes from Michel Arnould is, for me, the pinnacle of that style. Made exclusively from the oldest of their estate Grand Cru vines, the precision and depth here are stunning. The rich fruit flavors (think mirabelles, golden apples, cherries, dried apricots) are met on the back end by an equally intense acidity, brimming with minerals and soft spice notes. As you let it warm in your glass, the complexity and length explode! This is a world class, vintage Champagne offered at a mind bogglingly low price.

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Michel Arnould "Grand Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($39.99)

Exclusively from the 2009 harvest, although not labeled as such, this Champagne is composed of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. The Champagne has a graceful, delicate balance that Verzenay wines sometimes lack but with the signature hazelnut Pinot core. I found it to have creaminess to complement its racy cherry fruit on the palate and an extraordinarily long, dry finish. It is dosed at 9 grams per liter: very dry! It will age very well. The Arnoulds own 27 acres in the village of Verzenay, a quite sizable holding in this high-rent area. It is planted to 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, which is average for the village. The Arnoulds have quite a few plots of vines that are very old and positioned in the golden band mid-slope where the sun exposure is best. They have 40- and 45-year-old vines in the lieux-diets of Corret, Perthos, and Coutures and 50-plus-year vines in the red wine vineyard Carreaux. All of the wines made by the Arnoulds undergo complete malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and enamel vats. If you have enjoyed the wines of Lallement, Bollinger, and Krug in the past, I think you will very much enjoy Michel Arnould. They are bold, masculine Champagnes with plenty of toasty flavor. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 13, 2018

This is easily one of the best Grand Cru grower champagnes we offer, and it costs far less than it probably should. It combines the power and structure of Verzenay Pinot Noir on the Montagne de Reims with the delicate finesse and minerality of Chardonnay from Oger on the Cotes de Blancs (70/30). On the nose, I get rich doughy citrus notes, cream and minerals. On the palate, the wine is rich with almond, brioche and apricot notes lifted by vibrant acidity for a finish that lasts all night.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 26, 2018

The decadent, complex Michel Arnould "Grand Cuvée" Brut is the creamiest of their lineup, featuring a toasty hazelnut note and a crisp finish, which balances well with the richness and bright cherry fruit of the palate. Although not technically a vintage release, this is from the warmer 2009 harvest, making it instantly accessible, with weighty texture and just the right amount of lift. North-facing slopes in Verzenay ripen Pinot Noir beautifully but maintain a snap of acidity that pairs well with sushi, and the raciness here cuts through anything with ponzu sauce. This is easily one of my favorite Pinot-based Champagnes in the store, and a killer value.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

This is one of my very favorite non-vintage Champagnes! Cinnamon and I shipped this to Costanoa, a resort by the beach (better than carrying it on our bicycle!) and enjoyed it alfresco after a day in the saddle. We carried Riedel "O" stemless glasses in our jersey pockets (don't try this at home kids!) because we forgot to ship them... We were glad we did. This wine has so much complexity and subtlety it would have been a shame to drink it out of substandard glassware. The Grand Cuvee is very powerful Pinot-based stuff, with a hint of smoke on the nose, a very supple texture and a bone dry, persistent finish. A great reward after a long ride.

Staff ImageMorgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 23, 2017

I tried this for the first time recently and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of this sub-$40 Champagne. Located in Verzenay, a historical Grand Cru rich in calcareous soil, this Champagne is full of ripe white cherries and hazelnuts with a touch of toasty croissant. It's balanced beautifully between richness and brightness with a bracing vein of acidity running through. Pick up a bottle for your next dinner date or party.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 10, 2017

Well balanced, rich, but not overbearingly so. Who knew we'd have so many fantastic Grand Cru champagnes at such a fantastic price, and this here is no exception. This champagne finishes off with a nice toasted hazelnut finish, that simply makes this grand cru irresistible!

Staff ImageJim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 05, 2017

One of the true staff favorites, this Champagne comes off as rich and ripe, but the acidity cuts right through leaving an extremely well balanced, wonderfully complex and driving wine in your glass. Black cherry, brioche, and hazelnut complement. Think Krug at almost a quarter of the price!

Staff ImageJeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 26, 2009

Lovely toast on the nose. Classic pain grille, bright cherry, and hazelnut in the mouth. The ripeness of the fruit is offset by bracing acidity and an intense mineral character. A big, bold wine, this champagne will be the center of attention at any party.

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Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne ($32.99)

90 points Decanter: "Opens with a fanfare of peach, pear and spiced lemon; subtle architecture in the mouth with a chalky subtext and attractive orchard fruit, transported by a flowing mousse. Pretty accomplished and serious. (panel tasting)" (02/2017)

K&L Notes: If you have enjoyed the wines of Lallement, Bollinger and Krug in the past, I think you will very much enjoy Michel Arnould. They are bold, masculine Champagnes with plenty of toasty flavor. This is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, entirely from estate vineyards in the Grand Cru of Verzenay. This is a great party Champagne, since it is full of flavor yet refreshing and moreish. The hazelnut Pinot character so unique to the village of Verzenay is pronounced in this wine, and many good tasters have mistaken it for barrel fermented (it is actually all stainless and enamel fermented) when presented the wine blind. The texture is full and the bead is refined. In short, this is a Champagne that you will be proud to serve to your guests, or perhaps not too proud to save for yourself! (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

The wines of Verzenay are some of my very favorite in all of Champagne, and Patrick Arnould of Champagne Michel Arnould makes some of the very best. This wine has the magical hazelnut quality that many (including myself!) often miss for wood treatment in blind tastings. Because this Grand Cru village faces north the wines are always electric and vibrant, even with high percentages of Pinot in the blend. This is one of our finest values in top grower Champagne, and the price makes it unmissable!

Staff ImageScott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 29, 2017

This standard bearer of Champagne Michel Arnould is both high quality and a fine value. The Pinot Noir dominant blend is redolent with deep cherry fruit, toasted nuts and fine acidity. It could err on the side of big and bold but, it stops just short and offers up balance and interesting character. A great bubbly to drink on its own or to pair with fowl, pork or even lighter beef dishes.

Staff ImageJeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 28, 2017

One of the remarkable things about our direct import program in Champagne and the many small grower producers with whom we work is the opportunity to taste wines from a specific region of Champagne, wines that reflect the particular terroir of one village or another. Upon first sip, I absolutely fell in love with the wines of Michel Arnould. In places like Verzenay and Bouzy in the Montaigne de Reims, Pinot Noir is king. These are big, bold, black fruited Champagnes that really deserve to be drunk out of a Burgundy glass and paired with a meal. The Michel Arnould Verzenay Reserve Brut Cham[pagne is a great introduction to the region, and a steal at this price.

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 30, 2015

This is a fantastic non-vintage bottling from Michel Arnould. The blend consists of a heavy dose of Pinot Noir (75%) and the rest Chardonnay, which creates a wonderfully delicate and floral nose that leads into heaps of red fruit and red berries. The finish is clean and citric. A truly special bottle of bubbles.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 18, 2015

A super pretty, floral, pure and elegant Champagne. Aromas of spiced red berries, baked bread, and rose petal. On the palate it has lovely soft red fruit from the wines 75% Pinot Noir composition. Great drive and freshness on the palate. A lovely expression of this special village (Verzenay). Clean, crisp and quaffable. Great party Champagne. A serious value at just over $30. Crushes most of the "big house" guys on quality at a considerably lower price point.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 16, 2015

Creamy with a bright apple nose and solid minerality, this is classic Verzenay: qualities of hazelnut and cherry shine through, with a richness that almost defies its stainless and enamel aging. The great price makes this beauty go down even easier - a perfect party-pleasing Champagne.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 15, 2015

I love the smooth nature of this Champagne, that subtle richness of the mousse, just a creamy texture yet backed up by an excellent acidity, crisp, light and refreshing--the best of both sides. Such a deal, buy two!

Staff ImageJim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2014

Rich and toasty, yet fresh and focused, this Champagne is chock full of stone fruit and hazelnut. As mentioned, this is a lot of wine for the price!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 06, 2009

Very, very good for the money. MIxed wild berry fruit show good richness with terrific cut and focus as well. Did I mention that this is a lot of wine for the money??

Staff ImageCindy Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 19, 2009

This Champagne has big style! I love to treat myself to a glass on a Sunday afternoon, read a good book - and pointedly ignore the laundry.

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Michel Arnould Verzenay Extra Brut Champagne ($39.99)

Although not labeled as a vintage, this is based entirely on 2010 juice. It is 100% Pinot Noir from Verzenay, the northernmost of all the Grand Crus in this northernmost of French wine regions. The whole village faces north, the wrong way, away from the sun, and yet miraculously ripens Pinot Noir, the most difficult Champagne variety to ripen perfectly. Some say it's because of a meteor that in prehistoric times hit the area that is now the village, creating the faux de Verzenay, a forest where the trees bend and fold in on themselves like a dark wood in The Lord of the Rings. Pair this wine as an apéritif with a smoked salmon appetizer, or even with sashimi.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 26, 2018

Clear lemon fruit on the nose, with a stream of salinity through to the finish, the Michel Arnould Extra Brut is based on the 2010 harvest, a vintage celebrated for creating more linear Champagne. Although this is 100% Pinot Noir and Blanc de blancs is typically the favored suggestion for fish, the Extra Brut is a natural with sushi, especially yellowtail and snapper, which benefits from the sharper acid and low dosage. As a bonus, the Extra Brut's crisp yet easygoing style (it is still a berry-scented Pinot) not only works with food, but as a lively pre-dinner drink if youre not-so-patiently waiting on delivery.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 25, 2014

This lovely dry extra brut is perfect for ringing in the Spring. The minerality is bracing and magnificent. Lot's of white berries and chalk. Surprising balance despite the overt dryness.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 09, 2013

Last night, Cinnamon and I had such a great experinece with our sushi and Chamapgne that I had to write about it. The Arnould started off on the austere side before the first bite of food, but with the sushi it was magic. It did particularly well with the ultra rich Akasaka roll, providing a clean foil to the deep fried tempura shrimp, eel and avocado bonanza. The fish brought out the hazelnut character that makes Champagne from this north facing cru so special and the completely dry finish refreshed the palate with every sip. This is going to be a repeat bottle with sushi for sure!

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Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Rosé Champagne ($34.99)

This rosé bottling is 100% Grand Cru Pinot Noir. The wine is made by assembling multiple vintages and red Coteaux Champenoises sourced from old vines. This lovely Rosé Champagne offers hints of raspberry, strawberry and red currant. It is refined on the palate where the berry notes unfurl into subtle notes of grenadine.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

The value that Patrick Arnould delivers with this top-notch rosé is mind boggling. This is the only rosé Champagne that I have ever had that is exclusively Pinot Noir, but made by blending wines that are vinified white with wines that are vinified red. Patrick is very proud of his Burgundian clones in his best exposed vineyard plot that he uses to make the red wine that gives this Champagne its color and flavor. This rosé has dark cherry authority as well as complex savor from that high quality vineyard. It also has easy refreshment and a dry chalky finish from the rest of his Grand Cru estate vineyard that makes the white Pinot portion. A must try for every rosé fan, and a stunning value.