Martynas Pravilonis - Champagne Lombard
16th of February 2022
The incredible story of Martynas Provilonis, dropping bioinformatics studies to being ranked 4th best sommelier of the world...
The story starts in 2008 when Martynas decided to drop from bioinformatics studies. He then started to study psychology and, on the same time, started working in a small wine bar in the centre of Vilnius old town, managed by his uncle. Martynas gratefully hold him responsible for catching the wine bug. During the following years, Martynas has been working in different wine stores until 2016, when he joined the stunning Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius.
After finishing his courses at the Lithuanian sommelier school, Martynas decided to assess his own level by starting competingwitho other professional sommelier. In 2014, he entered his first national competition and the student beat the master. Indeed, Martynas managed to reach the finals and to be ranked above his uncle.
Today, Martynas is the “Head Sommelier”of the Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius, has the WSET level 4 and is a Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Sommelier. He has won 4 times the Best Sommeliers of Lithuania competition, 2 times the Best Sommeliers of Baltics Championship ad, in 2019, reach the 4th place in the Best Sommelier of the World competition !
Today, we had the chance to have Martynas taste a Grand Cru from the Lombard Champagne house. Here is his feedback:
Cramant Grand Cru - Lieu-dit Les Bauves
Martynas Pravilonis's tasting notes:
This champagne comes from a single plot called Les Bauves which is found in the Cramant Grand Cru village. The Chardonnay vines were planted in 1962 in a clay-loam soil with pure chalk underneath. It is a 2015 vintage champagne aged for four years on the lees with no dosage added after disgorgement.
It shows attractive crystal bright and rather pale straw colour with a steady stream of very fine and quick bubbles shimmering in the glass.
On the nose at first very well defined and vivid aromas of freshly cut lemon and lemon zest, fresh green apple and subtle notes of white seaside flowers comes out. Then notes of salty, seaside-like aromas of oyster shells, sea spray on the rocks and iodine emerge creating a somewhat cool and fresh impression about this champagne. Given some time in the glass the aromas change slightly, becoming sweeter and showing lemon curd, meyer lemon, even candied tropical fruits such as mango. Also the very subtle hint of sweet woody vanilla becomes noticeable (the wine has been aged 6-8 months in used oak barrels) which adds another layer of complexity. Saying all this, the nose still feels very youthful, slightly tight but nonetheless complex and nuanced.
On the palate this champagne is bone dry, lean, racy and structured but not harsh or too angular. This is achieved by the very fine and creamy mousse which rounds out the edges of pronounced lemony acidity (no malolactic conversion has been allowed). Adding to it there is the same saltiness which is found on the nose creating mouthwatering freshness which goes on into long finish.
The wine is well balanced and there is power in it which is clearly felt already, despite flavours being still youthful and quite tight at the moment. In conclusion - this is racy, structured and transparent champagne clearly reflecting it’s terroir. Due to solid structure and rather tight flavours it feels still youthful but should develop beautifully in the coming years.
Due to “marine” and lemony character as well as solid structure and power this champagne should handle rather solid dishes with a certain intensity.
Starter: Stone Bass Ceviche with passion fruit juice used as marinade, compressed cucumber and avocado cream. This dish takes you straight away to the sea. It is fresh, pleasantly salty with a bright streak of acidity provided by the passion fruit juice. It should suit the champagne very well or vice versa. Compressed cucumber adds another note of freshness creating a light but characterful starter.
Main Course: Cod Loin served with pomme puree and clam sauce. This is a rather rich dish both in taste and texture so the solid acidity should cut nicely through the meaty fish as well as creamy potato puree while the flavours and aromas of champagne would suit and compliment those found in the sauce.
Serving at this maturity I would open this champagne half an hour before service and would serve it in tulip shaped white wine glasses to fully express the aromas and flavours.
Varietal : 100% Chardonnay from Cramant GC
Vintage : 2015
Champagne type : Grand Cru Cramant
Location of the vineyard: Lieu-dit "Les Bauves"
Soils : Clay and pure chalk subsoils
Made from 0% of reserve wine
Alcoholic fermentation in stainless vats
No Malolactic fermentation
6 to 8 months in oak barrels
48 months on lees