2017 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING
During the last edition of the Printemps des Champagnes, the 10 winegrowers from the group called Champagne Terroir etC… organized their annual still wine tasting. The opportunity this year again to discover the potential and the character of the last harvest but also to learn more about the producers, their philosophy and their champagne cuvées through two days of tasting and for the most luckiest during a private dinner with the winemakers.
Champagne Terroir etC…
10 winegrowers, 10 individualities, 10 approaches, 10 villages… but 1 philosophy : to produce “champagnes made from A to Z in the respect for the expression of their terroir”. Following this principle, the champagnes of the winemakers reflect their commitment to their terroir and express the identity of the soils and subsoils but also of the know-how of the champagne maker. Through their work, each of the member of Champagne Terroir etC… is devoted to their vineyard respecting the environment and producing wines that are the most natural possible. Several members are even High Environmental Value certified.
Let’s not forget that the name ‘etc…’ or ‘et C’… – which means in english : “and C” – is because the group wishes to make discover the champagne through a different theme every year and a theme starting with a ‘C’. This season, the association chose the theme of ‘C like Chefs’, the opportunity for professionals to discover and rediscover the wines of the winegrowers through moments of Complicity and gastronomy.
Dîner des chefs
Last Sunday 23rd of April, we had the chance to be invited to a special rendez-vous with the winemakers of Champagne Terroir etc... On the program : a bus tour in the vineyard while sharing a glass of champagne with the winegrowers followed by a gastronomic dinner around chosen cuvées of the different estates. A convivial and sharing moment for a perfect introduction to this year theme: Champagne Terroir et Chefs…
After the pleasure to enjoy a glass of champagne with view on the vines, the apéritif continues in the court of Cercle Colbert in Reims with some food-pairings about appetizers. 4 champagnes were presented with their dish :
- The delicate and floral héritage cuvée of Champagne Poissinet was served with a smoked salmon bite and its dill sauce on Nordic bread
- To go with the intense and aromatic Blanc de Blancs 2010 from Champagne François Secondé, king shrimps flambées on pineapple rondel, taramasalata and poppy seeds
- The delicate and woody 2007 Bertille cuvée of Champagne Gaidoz-Forget was paired with a cube shaped foie gras, crushed pistachios and its confit of ratafia
- Finally, the structure and round Champagne René Jolly Blanc de Noirs was offered with a poultry Colombo and crisp pepper amuse-bouche.
Going on with the first course, the group chose a crab meat cracker, roasted jumbo shrimp served with sauce vierge to paired the complex and mineral 2008 Blanc de Blancs from Champagne Colin.
Following for the main course, a grilled veal eye of round steaks, meat jus and printanier vegetables to pair the delicate and vibrant 2008 Monodie cuvée of Champagne Appolonis Michel Loriot.
Before the dessert, the group offered a 5 cheese buffet including:
- a Chaource to go with the aromatic and frank Provocante cuvée of Champagne Piot-Sévillano
- a Langres cheese served with the powerful and structured Blanc de Noirs champagne of the Dauby estate.
Not one, not two but three desserts for a sublime sweet finale :
- the Prestige cuvée of Champagne Bergeronneau-Marion – a smoky and elegant Blanc de Noirs – was served with a Paris Brest
- The expressive and gourmet Saignée 2 Terroirs from Champagne Xavier Lecomte was paired with a seasonal red fruits Puff pie
- Finally, the generous and velvet Pinot Noir Ratafia of Champagne Colin paired perfectly a homemade Chocolate Mousse with roasted almonds.
The day after, we came together again with the winegrowers of the Champagne Terroir etC… group to taste their champagne ranges and their clear wines of the 2016 harvest.
We start the tasting with Martine and Michel Loriot from Champagne Apollonis in Festigny. 12 generations have succeeded each other on this 7 hectares estate spread over about twenty plots and managed following the HVE approach. The first cuvée presented was Palmyre Brut Nature – 70% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay – a rich and round wine with expressive fruit notes. The second, Authentic Meunier is complex supple and round 100% Meunier champagne with well balanced strawberry aromas. Finally, Monodie Meunier Vieilles Vignes 2008 Extra Brut – a vintage made exclusively of Pinot Meunier from old vines – is both expressive and complex with honey mineral notes.
At Champagne Bergeronneau-Marion in Villedommange, Fabien and Virginie works hand in hand with their parents – Véronique and Florent – on the 15 hectare family estate. The vineyard is spread over the Montagne de Reims – Villedommange, Sacy and Jouy Les Reims – and the Massif de Saint-Thierry – Chambray and Trigny – but also includes a 2.10 hectare Clos with old vines of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Tasted during the event, the Grande Réserve Brut – 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay – is a well-balanced and fresh wine offering light and round aromas whereas the Blanc de Blancs Brut – 100% Chardonnay – is complex, elegant and fresh with notes of maturity. Finally, Clos des Bergeronneau – a 100% Pinot Meunier wine from the 2008 harvest of the Clos – develops spicy, concentrated and mineral notes.
In Vertus, Delphine manages with Romain and Richard the estate of Champagne Colin. 7th generation of the House, they farm together 11 hectares located on the South of the Côtes des Blancs terroirs – Vertus, Bergères-les-Vertus, Cuis and Cramant but also Oiry and Sézanne, Venteuil and Dormans. Delphine offered for the tasting the Parallèle Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru – 100% Chardonnay from Vertus and Bergère les Vertus – a delicate and mineral wine with crisp notes as well as Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2008 Vintage – 100% Chardonnay from old vines of 45 years old in Cramant and Oiry – an highly aromatic wine with honey and toasted almond notes. Last but not least, Les Prôles et Chétivins Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru 2005 vintage – 100% Chardonnay from 55 year old vines of Vertus – a mineral complex and fresh champagne.
From the village of Sillery, François Secondé – only independent producer of the village – farms an estate of 5,50 hectares on Sillery, Mailly-Champagne, Puisieulx and Verzenay terroirs with a great respect of Nature and Men. The winegrower of Champagne François Secondé offered that day his Blanc de Blancs Brut Sillery Grand Cru 2010 : an elegant 100% Chardonnay wine with a lot of freshness, iodic and fruity. As for La Loge Blanc de Noirs Sillery Grand Cru – a 100% Pinot Noir wine -, it offers power emphasized by an elegant freshness with lightly woody notes and red fruits aromas. Finally, Grand Cru Brut – 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay – is an harmonious wine with mineral and floral notes.
Christine and Vincent are from Vincelles. Together they represent the 10th generation of Champagne Piot-Sévillano and they farms a total of 8 hectares on the sun-soaked hills of Vincelles using the High Environmental Value approach for high-quality grapes. The Tradition Brut champagne of the estate – 70% Pinot Meunier, 15% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay – offers great structure, finesse and balance with floral and fruit aromas whereas the Prestige cuvée – 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Pinot Noir – is a vinous wine with complex, spicy and mature notes. To finish the tasting with Christine and Vincent, Provocante : an highly aromatic 100% Pinot Meunier wine with white fruit and saline notes.
At Champagne René Jolly in Landreville, Pierre-Eric Jolly takes care of 13,55 hectares in the Côte des Bars spread over 5 plots with a terroir of hard limestone subsoils and marl soils. The winemaker chose a sustainable viticulture with no chemical fertilizer in order to offer generous wines like his Blanc de Noirs Brut – 100% Pinot Noir, 4 years blended – which is powerful, fruity and round or a frank, round and delicate Cuvée RJ Brut – 54% Chardonnay, 46% Pinot Noir – offering brioche notes. Finally, Coffret Editio – Pure 2005, 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay – is a delicate and complex champagne developing vanilla and toasted notes.
At Champagne Gaidoz-Forget, for more than 4 generation the family perpetuated the tradition. Today, Anne and Luc look after a total of 10 hectares of vines located in Ludes. The vineyard located in Montagne de Reims area is farmed following the HVE approach for pure and fresh wine. The Carte d’Or Brut cuvée – 80% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir – is fresh with hazelnut and lemon aromas whereas the Réserve Brut – 50% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay – is a lively wine with complex and fresh character. A elegant finale with the Rosé Brut : an opulent and fresh cuvée with red fruits notes.
In Cuchery at Champagne Poissinet, it is Régis – 5th generation – who manages the 7 hectares of vineyard spread over 35 plots. The estate is located mainly in the Vallée de la Marne – Cuchery, Baslieux, Leuvrigny, Troissy and Mareuil le Port – on marl and limestone terroirs. The winegrower offered three different champagnes at the tasting. First, Constance Brut : a round and elegant 100% Pinot Meunier wine expressing the complexity of the Meunier. Then, Séduction Rosé Brut – 100% Pinot Meunier, selection from old vines – which offers red fruit of forest notes with a lot of fineness. Finally, Héritage Brut – 70% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay – develops power, freshness with saline and floral notes.
At Champagne Dauby in Aÿ, mother and daughter cultivate together a vineyard of 8 hectares spread over 5 villages – Aÿ, Mutigny, Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Avenay and Barbonne-Fayel – and following a sustainable and responsible approach to preserve the well-being of the vines. Flore Dauby presented their Blanc de Noirs Brut Premier Cru : a 100% Pinot Noir wine from Mutigny expressing power, elegance and profoundness. As for the Blanc de Blancs Brut – a 100% Chardonnay from Mutigny and Barbonne-Fayel -, the cuvée is generous, fresh and round with citrus aromas. Flore Extra Brut Coeur de Cuvée – 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay – is well-balanced with elegant saline notes. Finally, the Coteaux Champenois – a white still wine made from Chardonnay – offers complexity and freshness.
For Champagne Xavier Leconte in Troissy-Bouquigny, Alexis represents the 6th generation. The family takes care of 10,02 hectares with around 40 plots located in Troissy Dormans, Mareuil-lr Port, Vandières and Aÿ. Alexis offered during the tasting different cuvée of the range. First, Signature du Hameau – 80% Pinot Meunier, 15% Pinot Noir, 5% Chardonnay, 20% oak -, a wine with a lot of freshness and balance with light vinous and fruity notes. The second champagne, Prestige cuvée – 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Meunier – is spicy, fresh and elegant. Then, Scellés de Terroirs 2007 – 100% Pinot Meunier – offers complex, mature, vinous and woody notes. Finally, Saignée 2 Terroirs – a bled rosé from a selection of 2 plots of Pinot Meunier – develops stewed red fruit, morello cherry and vinous aromas.
For the Vins clairs, Frédéric PAGNEUX – Former chief sommelier and professor at hotel and catering school – from Consulting Vins et Mets offered during the event a unique tasting with food pairings.
- Pear, goat’s cheese and Ardennes honey pouch for a blending Vin Clair like the 40% Pinot Noir and 60% Pinot Meunier blend from Champagne Bergeronneau-Marion. The blending highlights elegantly the pear then the honey note of the pouch.
- Melting Chaource Pastilla and Galanga zest for a 100% Chardonnay still wine like the Blanc de Blancs wine from Champagne Poissinet. The wine highlights elegantly the Galanga from the Pastilla.
- Bruschetta au gratin with Langres and Espelette pepper with a Pinot Meunier and oak maturation vins clairs like Tête de Cuvée Meunier 2016 of Vincelles from Champagne Piot Sévillano. The Espelette pepper revives the fruit aromas of the Pinot Meunier.
- Brie from Meaux Cromesquis and crystallized sultana grapes for 100% Pinot Noir Clear wines like Coeur de cuvée d’Aÿ Grand Cru 2016 from Champagne Dauby. A food pairing with a nice balance and emphasizing the structure of the wine.
Through this two days of tasting and this exceptional dinner, the group of Champagne Terroir etC… offered to the professionals two moments of conviviality in order to fully appreciate their cuvées and exchange about their philosophy in a friendly atmosphere.