The Ayala Brut Majeur NV is one of the cheapest Champs in our selection at 26,90€. It is nice that they mark the degorgement date and provide a useful back label. Degorged: 01/2006. Based principally on reserves of the 2003 vintage. 67% Pinot Noir, 26% Chardonnay, 7% Pinot Meunier. 12% abv.
The colour is pretty immature and light.
The nose was upon opening a little too yeasty, but that cleared up very quickly. There is that acacia-tree's smell that I love, which I often find in Champs. As expected from the blend, it has lots of Pinot-oriented scents: flowers, figs and orange peel (how to distinguish between botrytis "orange peel" and Champ Pinot N "orange peel"? Anyone? Let me know please!).
The mousse is small and intense and is correct. The palate is very fruity and it has high acidity - I guess reserves of non-2003 wine was used enough to keep this in lovely balance! There is a bit of hollowness to the mid-palate - I don't know if that is because this is a "cheap" Champ or because it is mainly based on 2003 fruit, but whichever it is, it isn't too bothersome since the whole works.
The aftertaste is lovely, fresh and crisp, dry and long - there is even a slight mineral component. It seems that I don't find minerality in Champagnes as often as in still wines. Anyone else notice that?
All in all, a very positive experience. I don't buy Champs very often because I'm stingy and I find cheap Prosecco almost as lovable (and much more mineral, lol!). This, alongside Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut NV is the best buy here for Champ.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.