Cycling themed prestige cuvée Champagne hits market
The third in a series of cycling-themed prestige cuvées from Champagne Castelnau has been released, and, once again, it references a gruelling Alpine mountain pass.
The top end Castelnau expression is called Hors Catégorie, which is a French term to refer to the hardest climb in a race – an ascent that is so tough, it is ‘hors catégorie’ or ‘beyond categorisation’.
Each new Hors Catégorie release carries the name of the hardest climb of the Tour de France in the year when the Champagne was bottled, which was 2013 for the latest launch.
As a result, this third expression has C.M 1993 on the label, which stands for ‘Col de la Madeleine’, a mountain pass in the French Alps that climbs to 1993m over 19km with an average gradient of almost 8%, and took riders to the highest point in the 2013 race.
This latest non-vintage prestige cuvée is a combination of Castelnau wines from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages.
The blend of wines is aged for nearly a year in oak barrels before undergoing the secondary fermentation in bottle to become Champagne.
The Hors Catégorie C.M 1993 contains 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Meunier and 15% Chardonnay from the crus of Trepail, Ludes, Mailly and Montagne de Reims Ouest. 5,100 bottles and 400 magnums were made in June 2013 and were disgorged in July 2019.
The Hors Catégorie collection is distributed in the UK by Champagne Castelnau’s UK subsidiary Castelnau Wine Agencies and the latest cuvée is available for retail purchase from Stone Wines in north London, RRP £120.00.
The first Hors Catégorie was released in 2016 to mark 100 years since the since the Castelnau brand was created in 1916, with just 3,500 of the cuvée released.
Castelnau’s cycling connection runs deep: the brand has been the official Champagne sponsor of the Tour de France since 2012.