Life is such (or is it business?) that cooperatives often have difficulties aiming for top quality. The small cooperative Champagne Mailly, based in the Grand Cru village Mailly of course, is one that succeeds in its aim to make quality wines. They were founded in 1929 and dominates the production in the village, located just a bit south of Reims in the Montagne de Reims. They make wine from 70 hectares, all classified as Grand Cru grapes (even the chardonnay, which is in a minority here).
If you are planning for a New Year’s dinner you could try their vintage Mailly Grand Cru 1998 for the main course (yes, why not?). Pinot noir is the dominant grape, giving a lot of body and a touch of chocolate, but keeping a very fresh acidity. Would go well with a pink breast of duck with a red wine and balsamic vinegar sauce. (Don’t forget to send me an invitation…)