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- H. Coutier is located in the grand cru village of Ambonnay, one of the top towns in the Montagne de Reims. The family has been in Ambonnay since 1619, with the current estate head being René Coutierm who is keeping with the times and practicing organic methods. Their nine acres is planted to 2/3 chardonnay and 1/3 pinot noir, despite the town being known as pinot noir territory. René’s father was actually the first vigneron to plant chardonnay in the village in 1964. The village has a bit less limestone than others, with more clay that creates a more sumptuous style of Champagne. The house style is accentuated by René’s techniques that seek to marry the traditional richness of Ambonnay fruit with the racy and pure style that he cherishes. In this regard, only half of the Coutier wines go through malolactic fermentation, as he feels that this perfectly balances opulence with raciness in the finished wines, and he does not use barrel fermentation or aging. The blend in their NV Brut is 80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay and it does go through full malolactic fermentation, but retains its racy acidity and signature red fruit characteristics of Ambonnay with moderate yeastiness and floral aromas. This is drinking beautifully now but could age a few more years as well.