Ayala "Majeur" Brut Champagne
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Light yellow. Lively, sharply focused lemon and green apple aromas pick up deeper melon and peach qualities with air. Spicy and precise on the palate, offering juicy citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors and a touch of candied fig. Powerful yet lively, finishing with strong punch and building mineral and floral qualities. This suave Champagne has the heft to handle rich foods and the tension to work by itself. (JR)
Ayala's NV Brut Majeur is a solid entry-level wine. Dried pear, hazelnut, spice and licorice notes open up in a pretty, toasted NV Champagne to drink now and over the next few years. The Pinot comes through loud and clear in the wine's breadth and overall texture. (AG)
Wine & Spirits
Luscious ripeness lends this wine a quince-like flavor, feeling round and generous against the chalky briskness of Champagne. For all its fruitiness, this is dry, firm and grounded, a clean aperitif or a first-course wine for a rabbit terrine.
*Editors' Choice* Ayala, based in Aÿ in the heart of Champagne, has been transformed since Bollinger bought it in 2005 and this nonvintage proves it. This is a balanced blend of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. The result is crisp while not too dry, and therefore drinkable as an apéritif. Apple and bright citrus combine with green plums to give a fruity wine that is also structured. The cellarmaster continues to reduce the dosage (sugar) so there is a crisp, tight aftertaste.
Smoke and forest floor notes lead the way here, with the chalky texture carrying subtle flavors of grilled nut, lemon meringue and dried currant. Balanced, offering smoke details on the fresh finish. (Web Only—2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The NV Brut Majeur shows lovely balance in an approachable, up-front style well-suited to near-term drinking. Clean, mineral notes add a sense of proportion on the fresh, vibrant finish. The blend is 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier, 80% of which is from the 2004 vintage, while the rest of the wine is composed of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reserve wines.
After a long absence in the US, Ayala Champagnes have returned. The Brut Majeur is a low-dosage wine that balances the fullness and intensity of the Pinot Noir with Chardonnay's finesse and Pinot Meunier's aromatics and fresh fruit. Scrumptious!