2017 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING
The 10 winegrowers of Origines Champagne association gathered this year again to present a selection of clear wines from the complicated but excellent in quality, 2016 harvest as well as their prestigious cuvées produced by their rigorous wine making process. A tasting located in the center of the South vineyards of Epernay in the magnificent Château de Pierry and meant to give a summary of the 2016 production of each winemaker of the association.
Origines Champagne gets the Printemps des Champagnes underway at Château de Pierry
For the 4th year in a row, Origines Champagne kicked off the tasting marathon of the now famous Printemps des Champagnes on Saturday. An elegant tasting in a friendly atmosphere perfectly orchestrated. Saturday, April 22nd, Florence, Nathalie, Benoît, Laurent, Jérôme and the other friends of the group Origines Champagnes launched their event at the Château Pierry where they hosted professionals from all over the world in order to introduce them a taste of their cuvées as well as the still wines of the last harvest.
Château de Pierry is a prosperous-looking and superb residence close to Epernay, capital of Champagne. Built around 1734, by Monseigneur de Choiseul-Beaupré, bishop-count of Chalons-en-Champagne and peer of France, this luxurious house is the reflect of French charm. It is in the elegant living room where a clear wines tasting set up and a food corner were arranged that each member of Origines Champagne was presenting 3 clear wines from the harvest 2016 as well as 3 to 4 champagne cuvées.
Initially, 5 members who were friends got together and created this label in order to participate to the Printemps des Champagne but also to meet regularly, exchange, taste and share their experiences in the objective to improve their wine quality. From 5 they became 10 as each initiating winegrowers proposed a new member. In the end, all members of Origines Champagne had of course challenged their imagination in the choice of their clear wines and their cuvées in order to valorise as best as possible the value of their terroir and their wine-growing and wine-making approach. A way for the visitors to get a deeper knowledge of the Champagne terroir and discover the know-how of the winegrowers as well as the many facets of their vineyards.
Meeting 2016 clear wines
The tasting begins with the clear wines of the harvest 2016 – a way to understand a little bit more this future vintage. The clear wines are the basis of all Champagne blends. They are the expression of a terroir, a vintage, a vine, a unique style … All the art of the winemaker is to marry them together to constitute the most beautiful cuvées of Champagne… And the year of 2016 has not been the easiest for our dear winegrowers (and not only in Champagne)…
Indeed, after a cold and unpredictable spring, the beginning of the summer was humid and favorable of vine diseases – including the mildew. Fortunately the end of August brought sun and heat allowing the quality and maturity of the grapes to rise. However, few days of heatwave led to further loss… A complicated year that offered a dispatched harvest : degree of maturation varying from one cru to the other and one grape variety to another. Even so, the harvest luckily brought an unexpected good quality of grapes with great potential.
10 winemakers for highly individual champagnes
The association regroups 10 winegrowers from the Champagne area representing multiple facets of the appellation and its diversified terroirs. This year the group welcome a guest among them : Champagne Bruno Michel, an estate from 1980.
For the vineyard of Vallée de la Marne, Benoît Déhu from Fossoy was offering clear wines and cuvées coming from a clay terroir with green marl. Working on only three plots and 2,25 ha, Benoît is a rigorous winemaker who crafts generous, intense and mineral wines with unique texture. His 2016 Pinot Meuniers clear wines for example developed an elegant maturity with a great minerality.
Florence De Vulliod for Champagne Florence Duchêne in Cumières has a terroir with unique soils with mainly marl (i.e clay-limestone). With a production of only 10 000 bottles a year and a 4 hectares vineyard spread over no fewer than 56 plots, the winemaker creates single plot cuvées to express different facet of her terroir.
Fabien Grumier from Champagne Maurice Grumier offered cuvées from his chalky terroir terroir of Venteuil. His 8,5 hectares divided in 29 plots gives him an range of different crus and allowed the winemaker to produce highly expressive wines with a strong mineral identity that will benefit from being kept.
To the West, Jérôme Bourgeois from Croutes sur Marne farms a clay and limestone terroir expressing the delicateness of the Meunier spirit. His vineyard is spread on 6,5 hectares divided in 30 plots offering a large range of different identity for Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz. Jérôme creates pure, mineral and racy cuvées.
In Trélou sur Marne, Tristan Hyest works on 10 hectares spread over 42 plots. Pinot Meunier benefits from a clay and sandy soil whereas the Chardonnay vines are planted in chalky terroir with an average strong slope. Tristan produces from great quality grapes generous and vibrant wine perfect for culinary moments.
Nicolas Salomon from Champagne Denis Salomon is located in Vandières where the soil is made from clay and chalk which means it is a marl terroir. The winegrower farms a vineyard of 3,75 hectares in total divided in 21 plots. Denis Salomon champagnes are very fruity with a great concentration of its aromas and an elegant minerality
From Rouvres les vignes in the Côtes des Bars, Nathalie Falmet farms a soil of Upper Kimmeridgian with clay and limestone. Her 3,5 hectares of vineyard are divided in 6 different plots. The cuvées from Champagne Falmet estate are generous and highly individual wines with charming and fresh fruit notes.
The estate of Pierre Amillet – winegrower for Champagne Robert Moncuit – is located in Le Mesnil sur Oger in the Côte des Blancs area. The highly chalky terroir of 8 hectares is divided into 25 plots. The chalk is a chalk of the Campanian with thick hard limestones. The cuvées are harmonious, subtle and mineral for great moment of pleasure.
In Oger, Laurent Vauversin manages with respect the 3 hectares of the Champagne Vauversin estate. His terroir spread over 17 plots is made of raw chalk with clay flint in some parts of the vineyard. The young winemaker creates mineral, refined and complex cuvées which are both striking and original.
On the Montagne de Reims, Patrick and Valérie Rénaux from Champagne Soutiran in Ambonnay are in charge of a 6 hectare estate with about 30 different plots. The specificity of the terroir of Ambonnay is its chalk rich in magnesium bringing a great minerality to the wines. The champagnes of the winegrowers are fresh, rich and racy with a distinctive mineral salinity.
For the South vineyards of Epernay, Guillaume Orban from Champagne Bruno Michel – guest for this year edition – presented his cuvées from Pierry. More than forty plots form his terroir of 15 hectares ; so many chalk and marl to his palette to craft his wines. Expressives and well-balance, his champagnes offer saline notes and great fineness.
Through its winegrowers and their wines, the Origines Champagne group offers a great diversity of style, terroir, story, approach … delivering a true terroir experience for the pleasure of professionals.