Champagne de Castelnau has released a deluxe cuvée to celebrate the founding of the house in 1916. Hors Catégorie is a multi-vintage blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 28% Pinot Meunier and 17% Chardonnay, aged on lees for five years.
'In 2010 we decided to work on a new cuvée for the new century,' said Pascal Prudhomme, general manager. 'We wanted to think about the future and make something for the young men and women who will start drinking our brand, with new packaging to appeal to a new younger generation of drinkers,' he added.
Hors Catégorie translates as 'beyond categorisation' and the name refers to both the difference in style of the new cuvée (which is a more delicate style than the house's usual range) and to Castelnau's role as the official champagne of the Tour de France, where the most difficult hills to climb are described as 'hors catégorie'.
It is a blend of 15 different base wines from Bouzy, Les Riceys, Trépail, Montgueux, Montagne de Reims and Mont de Berru. A third of the wines come from the 2010 vintage, a third from 2009 and the final third from 2008, all aged for a year in oak barriques.
Only 3,500 bottles of Hors Catégorie have been produced, all individually numbered.
RRP £85, Castelnau Wine Agencies, 020 7751 2490