Champagne de Castelnau has just celebrated its 100th anniversary with the launch of its first ever prestige cuvée, Hors Catégorie, at the Square Restaurant in London. Michael Edwards reports.

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Just 3,500 numbered bottles of the new prestige cuvée bottling called ‘Hors Catégorie’ have been made and has been crafted in an elegant, linear style.

As a multi-vintage champagne, the blend comes from a third each of 2008, 2009 and 2010, dominated by Pinot Noir (55%) partly aged in local non-invasive Argonne oak.

Founded in 1916 by a group of growers on the Montagne de Reims, they named their Champagne after an heroic First World War general, Edouard de Castelnau.

Heirs to a 100 year-old tradition, Castelnau’s growers now farm over 2,200 acres of long-lived crus mainly in the south east corner of the Montagne around Bouzy and Trepail; Pinot Noir country for sure but as deservedly known for an ampler style Chardonnay and Meunier which are more resistant to heat wave vintages.

The house specialises in a rare Brut Réserve non-vintage, long-aged on lees for up to six years.

At the Square Restaurant, we tasted the Réserve at maturing stages of its development from different base years: crisp mineral 2013; exquisite 2012; generous 2009; the current Brut Réserve, base wine 2007, a fine year, ready to drink now. They’re no slouch at vintage Champagne either, still with the legendary 2002 in stock, rich, fleshy, reined by an enduring freshness.