2013 Bereche et Fils Le Cran Extra Brut Champagne
Vincent and Raphaël work with a range of Champagne terroirs, mostly in the north of the region near Reims. The quality starts with thoughtful viticulture and low yields from a high percentage of old vines many planted in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the brothers took over the operation from their father in 2004, all chemical herbicide use was stopped and returned to labour intensive manual cultivation of their vines. In the cellar they employ long, natural fermentations and extended aging on lees. Parcels are vinified separately, and three-quarters of the production spends time in 350-litre barrels, while the reserve wines are held in demi-muids of 600 litres. Unusually, bottle aging is mostly under cork for the second fermentation (tirer à liege). The brothers believe this allows slightly more oxygen to get to the wine, resulting in Champagnes with finer bubbles and seamless texture. None of the wines go through malolactic fermentation. Bottling occurs without filtration and disgorgement is still done entirely by hand.
The 2013 Premier Cru Le Cran is showing especially well, bursting with aromas of pear, mirabelle, crisp yellow orchard fruit and blood orange, complemented by hints of buttery pastry. Medium to full-bodied, layered and multidimensional, it's concentrated and intensely saline, concluding with a long, mineral finish. The late 2013 harvest has lent an exotic quality to the fruit tones this year that's very appealing, especially since Champagne hasn't seen to late a harvest in any of the years that have followed. This bottle was disgorged in July 2020 with three grams per liter dosage. Drink 2021 - 2035.
William Kelley - Wine Advocate (April 2021)
The 2013 Le Cran is a powerful, heady Champagne. Creamy and resonant in the glass, the 2013 possesses tremendous volume that only builds with time in the glass. Apricot, dried pear, spice, cedar, chamomile and lightly honeyed notes all flesh out as this dramatic, vinous Champagne gradually reveals its many charms. It is a very typical wine from this late ripening year with both intense fruit and bright, salivating acids. Dosage is 3 grams per liter. Drink 2021 - 2030.
Antonio Galloni - Vinous