2018 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING
15th April 2018 – Joyful, passionate and with a great respect for their lands, the winegrowers of the association of Les Mains du Terroir de Champagne hosted wine professionals from all over the world at the City Hall of Reims for their annual still wine tasting. An event to present the vins clairs of the last harvest and their cuvées as well as the richness of the Terroirs de Champagne through the 17 estates of the group members.
The spirit of Les Mains du Terroir association
Friendly, joyous and jolly fellows in life but when it comes to terroir and its care, the 17 winegrowers of the group takes things very seriously. From the Côte des Bar to the Vallée de la Marne … all the areas of the Appellation are represented through the association. The members share the same passion for their job and their terroir with common values and a great respect for their terroir but each one with their very own personality…..
Paul Vincent and Caroline Ariston from Champagne Aspasie – attentive, curious, always optimistic and experimenter. Maxime from Champagne Maxime Blin – instinctive, hospitable, conscientious and sensitive. Jérôme and Valérie from Champagne Coessens – rigorous, atypical, meticulous and openminded. Marie and Alexandre from Champagne Marie Copinet – sensible, inventive, inspired and devoted. Charlotte and Valentin from Champagne De Sousa – full of passion, creative, pedagogue and terroir translater. Pierre and Sophie from Champagne Déthune – determined, considerate, visionary and dynamic. Paul from Champagne Fallet-Dart – discreet but highly enthusiast at the same time and hard-worker. Pierre Cheval from Champagne Gatinois – elegant just like the wines he crafts, visionary and pro-active.
Chantal and Pierre from Champagne Philippe Gonet – chardonnay choreographer, attentive, ambitious and discreet at the same time. Cyril and Maxence from Champagne Janisson Baradon – committed, modern, original and innovator. Géraldine Lacourte et Richard Desvignes from Champagne Lacourte-Godbillon – friendly, devoted, patient and with a family spirit. Isabelle and Michel from Champagne Serge Mathieu – dynamic, dedicated and meticulous with a clown and off the wall spirit. Alexandre from Champagne Penet-Chardonnay – a quiet strenght, connoisseur, detail oriented and creative. Isabelle and Benoist from Champagne Perseval-Farge – joyful, life enthusiastic and sincere wine authors. Eric and Mickael from Champagne Eric Rodez – generous, artistic, nature philosophers and epicureans. Jean-Pierre and Caroline from Champagne Vazart-Coquart – kind, curious and emphatic with a geek side. Didier et Thierry from Champagne Maurice Vesselle -simplicity with a touching sincerity and a “spirit of the past” with a touch of impertinence.
This year, it is with a new President that the group welcomed the professionals from all over the world. Indeed, Charlotte De Sousa stepped down in favour of Marie Copinet to take the operations of the association, starting with the Printemps des Champagnes annual tasting. The event took place in the City Hall of Reims in a joyous, friendly and relaxed atmosphere with highly individual wines from one table to an other. Furthermore, the group has some surprises in stores for this year’s program as their ambitions continue to evolve. The spirit of the group persists of course and the members wish to develop the tasting of November and abroad events – first in Europe – and to continue to promote the Champagne Appellation and its terroirs.
2018 Printemps des Champagnes
The workshops by Geoffrey Orban
Geoffrey Orban of EducaVin – terroir specialist, French Ambassador and Vice-European Ambassador of Champagne in 2006 – who accompanies each year the association had his hands full as this year it was not one, but two activities he organized.
First, the professionals in a hurry could go through the Flash tasting. The opportunity to discover the influence of the soils through one cuvée suggested by each Champagne growers of the group. One by one, the terroirs of the 17 estates spread over the Appellation are explained – chalk, limestone, clay, sand, marl… – each one with a different impact on the wines – salinity, fluidity, suppleness, frankness, amplitude or even smoky character… A immersive trip through the terroirs of Champagne.
On the dais of the impressive reception room, we met with Geoffrey for the second activity. The terroir professional was hosting an Olfactory workshop : the presentation of a panel of different and precise wine odors to train to the recognition of fragrances, aromas and scents. The aromas depends on the grape variety, the evolution and the type of terroir. For example : Mandarin matches Pinot Meunier, especially coming from sandy soils, honey from Pinot Noirs wines with long ageing and vanilla from the vinification in barrels.
2017 still wines – expressive or sometimes still a little bit shy for now, the vins clairs of the group shows a great potential for sure and demonstrate the rigor of the winegrowers. Indeed, hail, frost, intensive rains leading to rots… 2017 was for sure a complicated year in Champagne that requested a great care in the vineyard and a strict sorting during the harvest for some terroirs in order to have quality grapes to create great wines.
Zoom in on 4 winegrowers
Champagne Maurice Vesselle
Didier and Thierry from the village of Bouzy creates wines from long aging and with a beautiful tautness on the finish thanks to the tillage of the soils – deep ploughing, buttage and more – as well as the absence of malolactic fermentation. Their champagnes from and for aging bring out elegantly the character of the terroir of Bouzy and the winemakers take risks but create perfectly balanced wines between the acidity of the terroir and the complexity of the aging.
The 2017 Chardonnay still wine – 100% Chardonnay – is expressive, aromatic with white flower and fruity notes. It shows a great potential. The Bouzy Rouge still wine – 100% Pinot Noir – is a little bit shier for the moment but with a beautiful acidity and a generous fruitiness. The finish taut and saline expression the hard-work on the terroir.
For the champagnes, the Brut Cuvée Réservée – 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay – is taut and brisk with the power of Pinot Noir and the elegance of Chardonnay. A punchy and well-balanced wine. The Rosé Brut – 100% Pinot Noir – is fresh with little red fruit aromas and vinous notes whereas the Brut 2007 – 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay – offers generous bread and butter notes with a beautiful tautness on the finish. A wine still with a great potential. Les hauts chemins 2007 cuvée – 100% Pinot Noir – brings brioche aromas with minerality and vinosity balanced with the freshness and acidity. Finally, the 2000 Vintage – 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay – develops generous honey and vinous notes with aromas of old wines but the freshness is still present. The finish brings vanilla, woody notes with an elegant salinity.
Paul Vincent and Caroline Ariston come from the terroir of Brouillet and its soils of great diversity – clay-limestone, tuf, sand, chalk… The couple uses oak barrels for a part of their vinification. Through their work, they express their terroir following a pragmatic and methodic approach. Indeed, they know perfectly their soils and adapt their method to create precise and mineral cuvées.
The 2017 old varietal still wine – 40% Arbanne, 40% Petit Meslier and 20% Pinot Blanc vinified in tanks – is well-balanced and brisk with a beautiful tautness and vegetal notes. It has still some secrets to reveal but it shows already a great potential. The single-plot Blanc de Blancs still wine – 100% Chardonnay from 2016 harvest vinified in oak barrels – is mineral, round and expressive with light woody notes as well as generous yellow flower and vanilla notes.
Regarding the cuvées, Cépages d’antan – 40% Arbanne, 40% Petit Meslier and 20% Pinot Blanc vinified in tanks – is exotic, expressive and profound with generous brioche aromas as well as saline notes on the finish. The Brut Blanc de Blanc – 100% Chardonnay from old vines between 20 to 60 years old vinified in tanks – offers fresh hawthorn and white flower notes with a certain complexity whereas the Brut 2011 vintage – 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Pinot Meunier and 1/3 Chardonnay vinified in tanks – is aromatic and brings yellow flower, butter and mineral notes. A taut and full-bodied wine with an elegant acidity and salinity as well as a light vinosity.
Champagne Fallet Dart
At the Fallet-Dart estate located in Charly-sur-Marne, the process is precise : the vinification is partially done in oak barrels and each plots is vinified separately in order to offers limitless possibilities of creation. The mix of tradition and modernity allows Paul to craft authentic and distinguished wines with a lot of personality.
The Charly-sur-Marne still wine – 2017 Chardonnay vinified in tanks – is aromatic and expressive with generous white fruit notes. It shows a beautiful and elegant maturity of the grapes at the harvest.
For the champagnes, the 2008 Extra-brut vintage – 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, 50% in oak barrels during one year – is fresh, vinous and saline with a great finesse and offers citrus as well as pear notes. The Clos du Mont Cuvée – 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir from 2004 harvest, vinified 100% in oak barrel – is evolved and brings honey, marmalade and generous caramel cream aromas as well as melted vanilla notes. The finish is delicate and mineral.
For Benoist and Isabelle, it is essential that the champagnes of the estate are crafted without any compromise. It is this rigorous approach – both in the vineyard and during the wine-making process- that allows them to create champagnes with the strength and frankness of their sandy and clay terroir exclusively located in the cru of Chamery.
The Lieu-dit Les Goulats still wine – 32% Arbanne, 28% Fromenteau, 30% Petit Meslier and 10% Chardonnay – offers an elegant acidity and well-developed fruit aromas. An expressive terroir wine. As for the Lieu-dit “Les Spectres” still wine – 100% Chardonnay – it is vegetal, fresh and fruity with mineral notes and a delicate acidity.
Regarding the champagnes, the single plot “Les Goulats” cuvée – 55% Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Fromenteau and 45% Chardonnay, 25% in oak barrels – is elegant, vinous, and well-balanced between the freshness and fruitiness. It develops generous lemon notes. The C. de Nature – 43% Chardonnay, 32% Pinot Noir and 25% Meunier- is expressive, vinous and fresh with generous mineral. Finally, 197 vintage 2005 – 55% Chardonnay, 31% Pinot Noir and 14% Pinot Meunier, 32% in oak barrels – is fresh, generous and mineral with butter, vanilla and brioche notes.