Royal Montcourt is a Marque d’achetuer (MA) champagne made by La Maison Du Champagne (The House of Champagne) for James Busby fine wines, the procurement and supply arm of Coles Supermarkets. They are responsible for house wine supply to the Coles brands; First Choice Liquor, Vintage Cellars and Liquorland.
At the lower end of the cost scale for a genuine Champagne ($25 a bottle), Royal Moncourt attacks the lowest price point for champagnes in Australia, in competition with Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny and Woolworths’ Aubert et Fils.
As the brands applied to MA champagnes are invented by a marketing department, they don’t necessarily need to uphold an industry reputation like a Negociant or Recoltant house does, because for the most part they are meant to be good value, bargain bin specials.
The significant majority of MA wines are typically made from the cheapest wines produced during a vintage, while others source a specifically allocated grape supply directly from growers. Regardless, the wines are made to budget – hence the final price tag.
It’s handy to know a few things about the laws of Champagne when reading wine labels, and Royal Montcourt is a case in point.
For instance the words “Family owned champagne producer has over 200 years experience” is true, when acknowledging the body “La Maison du Champagne”, who blend and make supermarket wines on consignment for big companies the world over – just as they have for many years.
Also, the term “Grande Cuvée” can be applied to pretty much anything, as it simply means “Great Vintage”. However, NV means “Non-Vintage” (blend of wines made over several years), so there’s no direct reflection of the quality because you could have 99% wine from bad vintages, and 1% from a strong one and still say “Great Vintage”.
Lastly, the online selling point “Aged for a minimum of 15 months” sounds like a great, long time on yeast; particularly when compared to non-champagne sparklers. But the laws of Champagne production state that 15 months aging is the absolute minimum that all champagnes must do. And because storage is one Champagne’s most expensive processes, the faster you clear the floor of bottles, the cheaper your production costs.
Be mindful that most of a champagnes flavour is typically developed during aging (also know as the second fermentation – the first fermentation is making of the base wines) – and usually the longer a champagne sits fermenting away, the more notable the final flavour. This is why most Dom Perignon vintage wines have around 8 years (96 months) of aging.
Despite these points; understand that like most wines; champagne production is an alchemy. Sometimes with the right tweaking, the formula just works regardless of the viticulture, equipment, time and resources spent.
You just can never be sure to write off wine until you try it. Just don’t be surprised when something cheap doesn’t shine…
From: Epernay, Champagne, France
Cost & Source: $25 a Bottle from First Choice Liquor
Blend Ratio: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier (50/15/35) with ? g/l dosage.
Aging: 15 months
Sipped: November 2018
In The Glass:
Look: A very pale golden hue with big bubble streams.
Smell: Has a whiff of slight vinegar on the nose, blended with the yeast smells of fermentation and fresh, ripe, crisp strawberries.
Taste: Royal Montcourt tastes a little thin on flavour, with one dimension in terms of main body that doesn’t really grab you. The fruitiness and character doesn’t notably enhance throughout the first and most important part of a sip.
It arrives a bit tart on the start, with predominantly lemon and lime notes dominating the tongue. It leaves with a bit of a bitter finish, where a bit of fungal notes mix in among the sourness.
We tried it both chilled and a little warmed up and there was no notable improvement to the flavour in either state.
Drinkable and serviceable, but kind of a one-and-done drink if you were to grab one at a party.
At Parties: For a cheap champagne bowl filler it will do it you have a good canapes service. I would probably go for Moutard at the same price though.
As a Gift: Simple: Don’t do it. Buy a Chandon or a good local sparkler.
At Home: Try it once. It may well spice up a labour of love meal you share at home. Don’t buy a case.
Score & Verdict:
At $25 I feel it is okay value for the quality.
How did I drink it?:
Watching the Seahawks beat the Packers with my Bestie. For him, Montcourt was likely better than the sour taste of defeat.
How did you drink it?:
And how did you find it? Let me know!
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