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The Ernest Rapeneau Champagne (Dec. 2021) is exclusive to Trader Joe’s in places where Trader Joe’s sells wine but is otherwise sold all over the world. Ernest Rapeneau has been in the wine business since 1901 and has concentrated on Champagne since 1927.
The winery is run by the 4th generation of the family and was founded in 1901; they started concentrating on Champagne in 1927. The Ernest Rapeneau winery is located in the village of Epernay, which is the capital of the Champagne region.
The Avenue de Champagne is located in Epernay; it is a six-block-long collection of impressive Champagne Cellars, dating back to the late 1600s. Some of the cellars are Moet & Chandon, Pol Roger, and Perrier-Jouet. Ernest Rapeneau has some legendary company.
The Ernest Rapeneau Champagne (Dec. 2021) is a blend of grapes; the Ernest Rapeneau website says it is 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay. The importer, CK Skaggs, indicates the blend is 56% Pinot Noir, 38% Pinot Meunier, and 6% Chardonnay.
CK Scaggs is the importer Trader Joe’s uses, so the blend used for the TJ’s Champagne may be different to keep the wine at a particular price point. There are 319 villages in Champagne approved for vineyards, and Rapenue uses vineyards in 51 villages. Some villages have more expensive grapes than others.
CWF reviewed this Bubbly in 2017 and we were very impressed. Ernest Rapeneau Champagne (Dec. 2021) is available in a full bottle and half bottle (10.99), so you can give it a try and not be out much money if it is not your style. There were no full 750ml bottles at my local Trader Joe’s, but a whole bottle should not cost more than $22, which is an excellent price for real Champagne with a long history. The alcohol is 12%.
The Ernest Rapeneau Champagne (Dec. 2021) Tasting Notes
The color is pale golden yellow with tiny energetic bubbles. The nose is crusty bakery bread, lemon, dried cherry bits, a dose of minerality (limestone in the vineyard soils), melon, pear, and orange-blossom honey. The Ernest Rapeneau Champagne (Dec. 2021) is a well-balanced Bubbly with delicious fruit flavors and enticing acidity.
This Bubbly tastes like sharp, tart cherry, a salty/nutty sensation, yeasty bread, pink grapefruit, Anjou pear, soft spice, and a little stone fruit. The mid-palate mirrors the main body of this Bubbly but does add non-sweet pineapple and soft, faint, tart cranberry.
The acidity is solid; it will have you reaching for another sip before without thinking about it.
- The Ernest Rapeneau Champagne (Dec. 2021) is a real-deal Champagne and a bargain.
- This Bubbly is well-made and delicious.
- The more I sip this Bubbly, the more I like it.