Passion Chardonnay – Printemps des champagnes 2016

2016 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING

This year, the 10 champagne winegrowers of Passion Chardonnay met the 19th of April at the prestigious Brasserie Conti of Reims for the 2016 Printemps des champagnes. A tasting where the Brut Nature – or Zéro Dosage – was put in the spotlight for the greatest pleasure of the wine professionals present that day.

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Terroir interpretation by Passion Chardonnay

True composers of their terroir, the 10 passionate winegrowers go beyond the mondial renown of the Chardonnay of Champagne. Indeed, the white grape variety is famous for its quality but the winemakers lift the veil of one of the secret of its fineness : the coccolith – a microscopic calcareous disk making up part of the covering of certain marine plankton and forming much of the content of chalk by its aggregation. An underestimated factor and nevertheless the main part of distinction and excellence of the sub-soil of Champagne : bringing to the Chardonnay freshness, minerality, delicacy and elegance.

Through their champagnes, the winegrowers of the Passion Chardonnay reveal the multiplicity of expression of the Chardonnay by highlighting the peculiarity and personality of their terroirs – Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger, Vertus but also Bassuet, Chouilly, Montgueux, Sézanne, Villers-Marmery and Trépail – as well as their know-how and their choices during the wine-making process.

A refined tasting

In the center of Rheims, city of the coronations, took place the third edition of the Passion Chardonnay tasting. The Brasserie Conti – from the Hotel Continental – welcomed the 10 winegrowers and their guests in a “bistro” atmosphere of the refined restaurant. Old building from the 19th century, the hotel epitomizes the impressively rich cultural heritage and refined elegance. The visitors discovered a vast lounge with a panoramic view on the city center of Rheims and where each winegrower was present to share an exclusive moment with wine professionals. Geoffrey Orban was also present ; 2006 champagne ambassador, he was presenting each 2015 still wine and their terroir. A tasting allowing to understand the influence of the soils and their impact on the structure and complexity of the wines.

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2016 Tasting – Blanc de Blancs and vins clairs

One grape variety, 10 winegrowers ; the producers from Passion Chardonnay put in the spotlight the peculiarity of their terroir and the specificity of the precious Chardonnay of Champagne. During one day of tasting, they shared their know-how and their passion but also revealed the expression panel of the Chardonnay.

Among the winegrowers, Laurence and Charles from the Champagne Baffard-Ortillon Beaulieu reveal all the authenticity of their terroir of Bassuet through their champagnes. The two producers brought their refined and round Fleur de Craie as well as Signature 2008 with its powerful and greedy aromas of hot butter and brioche. And finally, the complex extra-brut cuvée Léone with its vinification in casks developing citrus aromas and toasted notes.

At the entrance, the three brothers from Domaine Collet in Fontaine Denis have well-defined specialties. Their wines are sharp, complex and always delicate, mineral and greedy. Among them : Empreinte de Terroir Extra-Brut – expressive and mineral -, Athime Extrême – exotic and vinous with a nice mineral liveliness – and Empreinte de Terroir Chardonnay – fresh, mineral with an elegant complexity.

Located in Trépail, in the Montagne de Reims area,  Fabrice Bertemes made the visitors discover his terroir as well as his harmonious, fruity and opulent cuvées. The winegrower brought his floral Brut Tradition with generous biscuit notes, his buttered and honeyed Blanc de Blancs 2011 with ripe fruity aromas and finally the Brut Nature : a delicate and intense cuvée with spicy notes.

From the Côte des Blancs in Avize, Olivier of Champagne Franck Bonville manages to highlight the purity, the fineness and the freshness of his chalky terroir. Olivier was presenting the same cuvée – a 2010 Grand Cru vintage – in three different version : brut (7g/L) , extra brut (2,5g/L) and brut nature (0g/L). A generous and delicate cuvée with exotic notes.

In Villers-Marmery, Nicolas and Marie-Noëlle Henriet-Bazin create together delicate wines and respect the typicity of their terroir through their work and their wines. Nicolas and Marie-Noëlle were presenting their Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Premier cru – fresh and elegant with some dried-fruit notes -, the cuvée Marie-Amélie 2010 vintage – a powerful and well-balanced Blanc de blancs brut Premier cru – and the Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 1996 vintage – saline with spicy notes, the cuvée developed an elegant maturity.

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Not less than 3 winegrowers for the village of Cramant… First Philipe Glavier, with his 5 cuvées expressing 5 different shades of the Chardonnay. For the tasting, the winegrower brought his Vintage Folie de Cramant 2009 – an aromatic and  mineral Blanc de blancs -, the Brut Nature La Grâce d’Alphaël – subtle and fresh – and finally the Extra-Brut Cuvée Genesis – a powerful, vinous and harmonious cuvée.

The second estate from Cramant was Champagne Guiborat Fils, where Karine et Richard Fouquet create wines expressing all the delicacy of the Chardonnay. The 2009 Vintage Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra-brut was explosive and offering a generous maturity whereas the cuvée Prisme.11 Extra-Brut Grand Cru is fruity with an incredible fineness. Finally, Pur Prisme Grand Cru Brut Zero was a mineral and expressive Blanc de blancs from old vines.

Last but not least of the winegrower from Cramant, Lilbert-Fils who proves that for one village, the soils offer a multitude of expression for one grape variety. Bertrand offered 3 elegant champagnes : the delicate Non-vintage brut and the cuvée Perle – refreshing and surprising at the same time with some brioche notes. Finally, the cuvée Cramant 2007 Extra-Brut offered a lot of richness and maturity.

For Jean Velut, it is the terroir of his village – Montgueux – that brings all the specificity to his champagnes. Denis brought his cuvée Premier Temps – a pure and exotic blend of Chardonnay (90%) and Pinot Noir (10%) -, Témoignage – a Blanc de Blancs 2008 vintage very clear and with a lot of finesse – and Patience – a gastronomic and well-balanced wine.

Finally, one Clos and one village – Vertus – for the Fourny Family who creates fresh and delicate Vve Fourny & Fils cuvées. Emmanuel and Charles brought their cuvée Monts de Vertus 2009 Extra-Brut Premier Cru – complex and mineral -, the cuvée “R” Extra-Brut Premier Cru – opulent, delicate and saline – and the cuvée Brut Nature Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru – an intense and fruity champagne with a lot of freshness.

One grape variety but multiple personalities and very distinct cuvées. The tasting was, once again, a moment of conviviality and discovery.

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