The StoryThe ALDI Monsigny Brut Champagne #3 is a non-vintage $19.99 ALDI exclusive, a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay sourced from multiple vineyards in Champagne, France. It seems this is a brand name that ALDI owns and in the past several different Champagne Houses supply the Bubbly for ALDI. But it seems, and it isn't easy to be sure, that Philizot et fils has been making these Bubbles since 2012.Philizot et fils are negociants, which means they do not grow the grapes and possibly do not perform the first fermentation on the grapes. That isn't unusual in Champagne, most of the big, famous Champagne Houses do not own their vineyards or if they do have some fields only use those grapes on the most exclusive Bubbly.ALDI in Europe and Australia are far more famous for their value wines than in the US. Their wines often win prestigious awards and Monsigny Brut #3 won the best Champagne award in an international wine festival. In Europe, the Monsigny Brut is known for its low price and for being one of the best Sparkling wines under $50.Is this the same Champagne that won the award? It does not seem to be, the award-winning Bubbly was 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay and while that is only a 10% difference with the Chardonnay and the Pinot Meunier, that does make this a different Bubbly. I asked a winemaker once on why they would add 1% of a grape to a blend and they said everything you do to wine makes a difference. Ten percent of something makes a big difference.Is this a Champagne made for ALDI America and not the same as the European effort? I don't know, but the $20 selling price is attractive and ALDI has an excellent track record with this Bubbly. There are some great reviews online and who knows, maybe the change in the blend (I am not positive these Bubbles are from the same producer) made this Champagne even better than advertised. The alcohol content is 12%.The Tasting NotesThe color is a mix of platinum and silver and the bubbles are plentiful. The nose is crisp and clean, there are scents of cherry, lemon, a nice hint of minerality, a little melon, and lightly floral. This is a well-balanced Champagne, nice and dry, it almost evaporates on your palate. It tastes of tart, sour cherry (not sweet and ripe), lemon cream, a slap of minerality, a touch of crusty bread. The mid-palate adds that salty, nutty “on lees” thing, lime, and soft black cherry (again not juicy and ripe). The acidity is spot-on, enough to let the flavors unfold and enough to get you reaching for the next sip. The finish is full and does not stop.The Summary * I came into this post thinking this, at $19.99, would be ok for a party Champagne, but not for the New Year's Eve toast or any other very special occasion, but I was wrong. * That this version of the Monsigny Brut # 3 wasn't the same Champagne as the Sparkling wine that received all the acclaim in Europe was a red flag, after all, it is 20 buck Champagne. * Now, I do prefer Pinot Noir based Bubbly to Chardonnay-based Bubbles, so I am predispositioned to enjoy this 60% Pinoir Noir Bubbly. But this Champagne is delicious * This is the best entry-level Champagne I have tasted in some time, period. * That you can buy 2 bottles of the Monsigny Brut #3 for the price of a typical entry-level French Champagne is crazy.
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