Champagne Review: Paul Goerg
Jean-Philippe Moulin could have simply retired in 2007 when he stepped down as head winemaker at Champagne Ruinart, champagne’s oldest House. Instead he joined Champagne Paul Goerg as managing director and head winemaker, choosing to learn about champagne from the point of view of the growers. Paul Goerg is an association of seven families with more than 100 relatives who collectively own and farm nearly 300 acres of Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in the area known as the Côte des Blancs. Freed from vying with competitors to purchase the best grapes, Jean-Philippe’s work now begins with cultivating exceptional quality fruit. Subsequently, he manages each detail of the champagne-making process from pressing, to vinification, blending, and disgorgement.
The families behind Paul Goerg began collaborating in the 1950s, providing fresh-pressed chardonnay to well established Houses such as Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, and Charles Heidsieck for use in their blends. In 1984, the families set out to build their own line of champagnes named for Paul Goerg, the renowned négociant and mayor of the village of Vertus, remembered for his passionate commitment to preserving the quality of the local vineyards.
The Paul Goerg Blanc de Blancs Brut is an ideal place to begin to understand champagne, not just as a party drink, but as a fine wine and aesthetic experience. The champagne is 100 percent chardonnay sourced from Premier Cru vineyards at the base of the Montagne de Reims. There, the south-facing slopes provide rich supple wines and the east-facing slopes yield wines that are firmer and more mineral driven. Made with 40 percent reserve wine and aged for more than three years before being released, the champagne has fine bubbles, delicate citrus and acacia aromas, and a long creamy finish. Serve it as an aperitif or with seafood, sushi, or sole meuniér.