Champagne Castelnau has launched its second ‘Hors Catégorie’ prestige cuvee.
The £100 bottle’s full title is Champagne Castelnau Hors Catégorie CCF 2067, a reference to the Col de la Croix de Fer. The mountain is one of the toughest climbs on the Tour de France, for which the house is the official Champagne.
Castelnau is often associated with Chardonnay – both through its Blanc de Blancs and its Brut Réserve NV (40% Chardonnay), but CCF 2067 has 85% red grapes in the blend, including 45% Pinot Meunier.
All the wine has spent some time in oak sourced from the nearby Argonne forest, and the cuvée has been bottled at a slightly lower pressure to minimise the perception of oak tannins on the palate.
Imbibe found it to be a wine with an impressive balance between weight and elegance, with the well-judged oak adding breadth and texture on the palate.
The new wine is intended to cast a halo effect over the Castelnau range in the UK, for which the on-trade is a key priority.
‘We’re not setting out to sell millions of bottles of Hors Catégorie,’ said Keith Isaac MW, general manager of Castelnau Wine Agencies. ‘We would rather grow our volumes of Brut Réserve.’
Castelnau currently has total global sales of just under a million bottles a year, but is hoping to more than double that by 2025, with the UK on-trade a priority.
Champagne Castelnau Hors Catégorie CCF 2067, £100 (retail); Castelnau Wine Agencies, 020 7751 2490