Sip Champagne like an NBA Champ with Champagne Cheurlin!

Have you heard of Champagne Cheurlin? 🤔

This award-winning winery is the first and only African American owned Champagne house, and it recently became available in our market here in Ontario!

We’re very excited to taste Champagne Cheurlin and share our notes, but before we do, let us tell you a little bit about their story.

NBA champion, respected CEO and cannabis and beverage entrepreneur Isiah Thomas and his holding company, Isiah International Inc., has a diverse portfolio that includes cannabis oil and CBD companies, as well as the legendary Champagne Cheurlin. 

Isiah discovered his love of Champagne after winning the 1989 NBA Championship, and soon went on a quest to find a favourite. It seemed to have taken a while to taste through the best of the best (which we can attest to), but the connection with Cheurlin was soon made. Purchased in 2015, Champagne Cheurlin expanded Isiah’s business portfolio and under his guidance, it rose to prominence in North America. Despite a period of uncertainty around the luxury beverage market as a result of COVID-19, Isiah’s Champagne Cheurlin continued to grow and was profiled  in magazines such as Forbes, OK Magazine, US Weekly, and many more as noted on the brand’s website.

The brand itself dates back to the late 1700’s, when a Catholic priest from Landreville (with the last name Cheurlin) first began making the Champagne that would become the backbone of his family. We’re not quite sure if this particular monk sowed some seeds and grew his family (along with his vineyards) to pass on his name, but hey, who’s to say? Fast forward to the present day, and the current generation of the Cheurlin family under the guidance of Isiah Thomas continues the tradition of their ancestral founder, producing, cultivating and crafting high quality Champagnes.

Cheurlin Brut Spéciale is the winery’s flagship Champagne, and a very well renowned wine at that (taking home several accolades in 2018 at the New York International Wine Competition). 

The cuvee is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; the Cheurlin vineyards actually do not produce any Pinot Meunier, though in addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc is produced.

The wine sees extended aging sur lie, which contributes an autolytic character – those subtle toasty notes on the nose and palate that we know and love. The defining character in the Cheurlin Brut Spéciale, though, is the minerality and the aroma of fresh field apples and lemon. Overall, the wine has a classic, pleasing and elegant profile, in which all components are balanced and harmonious – something that Isiah was seeking when falling in love with Champagne at the end of the 1980’s. It certainly is something spéciale!

Coming in at 5 grams of residual sugar per litre, the Cheurlin Brut Spéciale is drier than most (a choice that Isiah has been championing for the American market). We suppose having an NBA champion at the helm might have an impact on sugar content, eh?

This wine is available at the LCBO under Vintages No. 542943, for $72.20.