2017 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING
During the Printemps des champagnes week, Monday 24th of April, professionals from all over the world had an appointment with the winegrowers of the Génération Champagne group. The opportunity for the visitors to discover or rediscover the philosophy and know-how of each of the 9 estates but also the shared values of the members of the association.
The group called Génération Champagne chose to highlight the family values and closeness to make the professionals discover their cuvées. Created in 2013, the association regroups 9 renowned estates, possessors of a family know-how that has been passed on for several generations.
Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs, Vallée de la Marne, Vallée de l’Ardre or Côte des Bar… Spread over the Champagne vineyard, the members of Génération Champagne offers a mosaic of personalities and diversified terroirs of the region. The group combines perfectly heritage and creation, but also assumes an environmental ethic.
Exceptional tasting across the years
In the magnificent sun room of the Pavillon CG – located in the city center of Reims – each estate of the Génération Champagne was represented by one of the generations to present the Vins Clairs of the last harvest as well as their emblematic cuvées. The winemakers also offered different vintages ranging from 2005 to 2000 for the oldest, the opportunity for the professionals to better understand the impact of the climatic conditions of one year and the influence of time.
Indeed, 2000 offered a relatively clement winter but spring brought a mild spell with the appearance of heavy hail falls on the sectors of the Marne region. Then, appeared a succession of summer temperatures and thunderstorms throughout the flowering period to finally finish with a quite dry harvest. A quite capricious weather for this vintage. Two estates chose the vintage of the 2000 harvest : Champagne Sadi Malot brought a smooth and mineral wine with brioche notes whereas Champagne Monmarthe offered a mineral and honeyed champagne with still a lot of freshness.
2001 was a rather complicated year but the end of August was marked by a steady return of the sun, allowing the grapes to continue their maturation. Few vintages of this harvest are available but Champagne Veuve Olivier & fils presented a fresh vintage with light and elegant mushroom notes.
September 2002 was beautiful and perfectly dry which ensured a beautiful maturity of the grapes. The wine of this year offers beautiful concentration, richness, maturity and suppleness. Champagne J.Charpentier offered a quite complex but fresh champagne with dried fruit notes.
2003 brought extreme weather conditions in Champagne with a period of frost during the spring then exceptional heat, severe thunderstorms and slender. Finally, the end of August offered heat episode which allowed those rather rare vintages to develop a beautiful maturity. Champagne André Robert was presenting Le Mesnil 2003 cuvée: a ripe and complex Chardonnay reflecting the best quality of this harvest.
2004 was an incredibly abundant year. Indeed, the beautiful sunshine during spring with its balanced precipitation but also the rains during summer for finally a return of the sun brought a generous harvest as well as a beautiful balance of alcohol-acidity. Champagne Sanchez Leguédard chose this complex vintage with its vanilla and brioche notes.
In 2005, the volumes proved to be reasonable, for a harvest quality absolutely exceptional – an optimal ripeness of the grapes. After two difficult years and very harsh for the morale of the winemakers, this year 2005 was announced under more favorable auspices. The winter brought cold which lasted until spring and its many phases of frost. From April to June, the temperatures were rather cool. A mixed summer with the return of the sun in September allowed exceptional maturity. The vintages of this year offer purity and great finesse. Three estates were presenting a 2005 Vintage. First, Champagne Herbert Beaufort and its elegant and harmonious wine with spicy notes. Then Champagne Stéphane Coquillette offered a complex and powerful wine. Finally, Champagne Lagille & fils brought an elegant and round champagne with candied fruit aromas.
Already the fourth generation for the Champagne Herbert Beaufort. From the well-known village of Bouzy, Henry, Hugues and Ludovic farm 13 hectares of vineyard on a thick chalky terroir located on the south slope of the Montagne de Reims. Together, they create highly individual wines expressing the individuality of the terroir of Bouzy. Offered during the tasting, the Brut Carte d’Or Tradition – 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay – is intense and expressive with notes of ripe fruits. As for the Yllen Rosé cuvée – 100% Pinot Noir, saignée method – it offers a fresh and delicate character with red fruit aromas and vinous notes. Finally, the Cuvée du Mélomane is a fresh Blanc de Blancs with honeyed, iodic and menthol notes as well as a lemon-flavored finish.
At Champagne J.Charpentier – located in Villers-sous-Châtillon – it is the 5th generation who is in charge of the 15 hectares. The vineyard is spread over 38 plots and offers a great diversity of crus – Villers-sous-Châtillon but also Reuil, Binson-Orquigny, Châtillon-sur-Marne, Mareuil-le-port, Verneuil, Mont-Saint-Père, Neuville-sur-Seine and Le Breuil – all located in the Vallée de la Marne area. The terroir provides a limestone soil sometimes mixed with a sandy soil and marl. The champagnes are mineral and fresh like the Prestige Brut – 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay – : elegant and sharp with toasted notes and floral aromas. As well as the Pierre Henri cuvée : a frank and expressive 100 % Pinot Meunier with brioche and woody notes. As for the Rosé – 80 % Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir -, it is a a well-structured cuvée with blackcurrant and floral notes.
At Champagne Stéphane Coquilette in the village of Chouilly, it is Stephane – 4th generation of the estate – who takes care of the family vineyard which is divided into more than fourteen plots. The estate leans on chalky and generous terroirs which are enhanced thanks to a sustainable viticulture but also a HVE conversion. An approach allowing the winegrower to create delicate and generous cuvées reflecting the respect of their terroir. A philosophy clearly perceptible during the tasting with the Rosé Marie-Aimer cuvée : a Pinot Noir champagne expressing fresh and delicate fruits of the forest notes. As for the Cuvée des Clés Grand Cru Aÿ – 100 % Pinot-Noir -, it is a generous and intense wine with expressive brioche notes whereas the Dianne Grand Cru Chouilly cuvée – 100% Chardonnay – is fresh with white flower and citrus aromas.
Located in Treslon, Champagne Lagille & fils estate is managed by Vincent – 4th generation – and covers a total of 7,35 hectares. Treslon is a small village in the Vallée de l’Ardre area, west of Reims with a south exposure and mostly on soils with marls. The family of winegrowers chose a sustainable viticulture to respect their terroir but they also strive to innovate permanently through their work. Vincent presented at the tasting, the Carte Blanche cuvée : a well-structured 100 % Meunier wine expressing a peppery character with a lot of suppleness. The Rosé – 100% Meunier – is expressive with vinosity marked by dried fruit notes. To finish, the Grande Réserve – 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Meunier, 1/3 Chardonnay – is rich and fruity with generous pastry notes.
Cindy Malot is the 5th generation of the Champagne Sadi Malot estate. Located in Villers-Marmery, the vineyard counts 10 hectares of vines – including 80% of Chardonnay in the village of Villers-Marmery and 20% of Pinot Noir in the cru of Verzy. The conscientious winegrower put the sustainable viticulture into practice as well as the HVE method. This respectful approach preserves the deep limestone rock terroir and allows to harvest high-quality grapes. For the tasting, Cindy chose to present the Brut Rosé cuvée – 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir – : an intense, vinous and supple wine expressing candied red fruit. The second champagne, Coup de Foudre 2011 – 100% Chardonnay from Villers-Marmery – is expressive, vinous and refined with spicy notes. Finally, Brut Authentique – 100% Chardonnay from Villers-Marmery – is both elegant and mineral with fresh fruit aromas.
In Ludes, Jean Guy is the 6th generation on the estate of Champagne Monmarthe. With his wife – Sandrine – he takes care of 17 hectares in the heart of the Montagne de Reims– 15 ha in Ludes and 2 in Taissy. Spread over 22 plot, the vineyard offers a terroir with chalk and limestone soils that the family preserve thanks to the Haute Valeur Environnementale approach. A certification they obtained for the respect of their vines and their terroir. Sandrine chose three cuvées of the estate for the tasting : Privilège – 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay – : a round and well-balanced champagne with a lot of character ; The Rosé de Ludes cuvée – 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay – a complex and full-bodied wine with generous licorice notes. Finally, Clos Adoré Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay from vines of 1978 – an elegant and delicate cuvée with fresh hazelnut notes.
From Cumières, José and Sébastien represent the 3rd generation of Champagne Sanchez Leguédard. The winemakers manage a total of 5 hectares spread over the terroirs of Damery, Cumières and Oger in the Côte des Blancs. In order to preserve the quality of the soils with more and less high and scattered quantities of marls, clay-limestone and chalk all the vineyard is worked following the organic method and is under organic conversion since 2013. During the tasting, the winegrower presented the Grande Réserve Brut cuvée – 80 % Pinot noir and 20% Pinot Meunier -: an harmonious and expressive wine with apricot and honey notes. The Rosée de Saignée Brut – 100% Pinot Noir – develops black fruit notes with elegant vinosity and minerality. As for the Cuvée Nature – 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier -, it expresses minerality and freshness with a lot of elegance.
At Champagne André Robert in Le Mesnil sur Oger, Claire – 5th generation on the estate – works with her father – Bertrand. Together, father and daughter farm a vineyard is spread over 14 hectares with a chalky terroir with limestone and composed of plots spread on not less than 7 villages. The specificity of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger is that the plots are quite small and offer a great variety of identities. The winegrowers benefits from the HVE certification – High Environmental Value – for their respect of their land. The Pauline cuvée – 70% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay – is fresh and fruity with an elegant vinosity. Les Jardins du Mesnil – 100% Chardonnay – offers white flower notes with an elegant minerality. Finally, Rose de Vignes – Pinot Noir – is fresh and persistent with wild strawberry aromas.
Located in Trélou-sur-Marne, Champagne Veuve Olivier & fils was represented by Sandrine Charpentier 4th generation on the estate. Sandrine takes care of a total of 18 hectares divided into 21 plots. The family chose a sustainable approach and a vinification plot by plot to value this terroir located on the south slope of the Vallée de la Marne. The marl soils brings a lot of minerality and the winegrower creates subtil but expressive wines. The Carte d’Or Brut – 10% Chardonnay and 90% Pinot Noir – is round and fresh whereas the Rosé Brut – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay- is subtil and fresh with generous red-fruit notes. The Vieille Réserve Brut – 35% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier – offers a lot of maturity and roundness in a very elegant style.
This year again, the group of Génération Champagne organized their annual tasting with a simplicity but a lot of elegance. The opportunity for the professionals to discover the 9 estates of the association in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.