This outsanding 2014 Brut is not to be missed. "Mid-gold in hue, the aromas here already have me salivating, both floral and citrus elements combine with nuances of freshly baked patisserie. With time in the glass, this wine really starts to blossom; what strikes me most is this is a tauter style of Vilmart, with terrific freshness and backbone, yet all the while remains subtle and poised. Creamy-coated white fruits and citrus come to the fore, all underscored by a brilliant, racy acidity that captures notes of that citrus, zingy quality that seems so typical of the Vilmart style. Expressive and textural, this is a wonderfully fine-tuned vintage – one of harmony, elegance, and delicacy. That luxuriant mousse and rounded fruit that are recognisably Vilmart impress so much, but that juicy, racy, zingy acidity that leads to a markedly saline finish signal for me a special vintage."
Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region. Vilmart & Cie. traces its history back to 1890, when it was founded by Désiré Vilmart, and from the beginning, Vilmart & Cie. has always been a récoltant-manipulant, making champagne exclusively from estate-owned vines. Since 1989 the estate has been in the hands of Laurent Champs, the fifth generation of the family to take the helm of the house. Vilmart's Laurent Champs farms 11 hectares of vines and enjoys a rare advantage in this highly morcellated region: those 11 hectares are divided into merely 12 plots. All are close to the winery in Rilly-la-Montagne and oriented south or southeast, and all their soils are rich in chalk. A partisan of barrel fermentation and élevage—working exclusively with Meursault's tonnellerie Damy since 1992—Vilmart is a source of powerful, vinous wines that are invariably polished and racy. Recent releases have demonstrated an increasingly adept mastery of oak, its influence remaining firmly in the background, and they're developing more slowly. "This is one of Champagne's top estates, and the wines reviewed here come warmly recommended." -Robert Parker.