2018 PRINTEMPS DES CHAMPAGNES TASTING
16th April 2018 – The Hotel Ponsardin in Reims was hosting the 13 winegrowers of the association called Des pieds et des Vins for their annual tasting within the week of the Printemps des champagnes. For the wine professionals from all over the world, it is the opportunity to learn more about the vins clairs of the 2017 harvest but also to rediscover the terroir-driven wines of the winemakers.
Des pieds et des vins : Winegrowers of expression
When it comes to champagnes, the winemakers of the association Des Pieds et des Vins are on the same tracks : deeply passionate and close to their lands and their work, they craft wines before bubbles, favoring the respect of their terroirs and committed to sustainable approaches – mostly organic and biodynamic. A common philosophy explained by the fact that the winemakers do not seek to produce the next wine à la mode but are in pursuit of a perfect alchemy between their soils, their climates and the vine. And make no mistake : each one of them with their own methods and know-how creates terroir driven wine of an incontestable quality…
2017 vins clair tasting with 3 winegrowers
In the viticultural areas of France, not one harvest is alike and 2017 was especially particular. Hails, frosts, pressure of the early vegetative cycle, heavy rains causing rots… The 2017 harvest demanded an extra-attention nay in some cases yield loss and rigorous sorting. In appearance, not a high quality season however it unveils something completely different at the vins clairs tasting with wine of high potential. Zoom in on the still wines of 3 members of the association.
At Champagne Robert Barbichon, three different vins clairs were presenting. First, the Blanc de Noirs – 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier, a base of 2017 (90%) blended with 2016, 8% of the wines aged in oak barrels and the malolactic fermentation carried-out – shows a beautiful balance between acidity, fruitiness and maturity. The Rosé vin clair – a 100% 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé de Saignée with a 26h maceration – developed elegant vanilla and red fruit aromas with a nice freshness and acidity on the finish. Finally, the Coteaux 2017 vin clair – made from the press wine of Pinot Noir – is aromatic with elegant wood notes counterbalanced with the fruitiness and minerality.
The estate of Champagne Barrat-Masson was offering a vin clair from the taille of Chardonnay from the clayey terroirs of Villenauxe. This future Blanc de Blancs vinified in oak barrels is ample and already revealing generous pear and vanilla notes with a beautiful freshness.
As for Champagne Aurélien Lurquin, it was 4 vins clairs from the last harvest that were presented. The first one – a 80% Chardonnay and 20% Petit Meslier blend – is exotic, aromatic, fresh and with a certain maturity whereas the second – a 80% Chardonnay and 20% Petit Meslier blend as well, but without added-sulfur – offers a light effervescence and is frank and mineral. The third vin clair – a Pinot Meunier vinified 100% in oak barrels – is generous and well-balanced with vanilla aromas. Finally, the last vin clair – a single plot Pinot Noir wine from clayey terroirs with south exposure – unveils power, minerality as well as fruitiness and acidity.
Champagne tasting – an immersion in the terroirs of Champagne
After an overview of the vins clairs of the last harvest, it is time to have a taste of the cuvées of the members of the association.
Starting with Champagne Robert Barbichon, a 9 hectares estate located in Gyé-sur-Seine and Biodynamic certified.
The Blanc de Noirs – 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Pinot Meunier, a 2014 base (90%) blended with 2013 and a 3g/L dosage – is revealing a beautiful aromatic power with mineral and blackcurrant notes on the finish. The Rosé de Saignée – 100% destemmed Pinot Noir exclusively from the 2012 harvest with a maceration of 24h and a 5g/L dosage – offers strawberry, floral and vinous notes with light brioche aromas. As for the Coteaux Champenois – 100% destemmed Pinot Noir exclusively from 2014, with a 24h- maceration, the vinification and aging in oak -, it is taut, fresh and generous with a delicate vinosity and elegant fruit aromas.
Located in Vrigny, Champagne Guillaume Sergent is an Domain of 1,9 hectares spread over the terroirs of Vrigny, Coulommes and Chenay.
Les Prés Dieu – 100% Chardonnay 1er Cru from sandy soils with limestone and exclusively from the 2016 harvest with a dosage of 1g/L – is fresh, frank and generous with a certain maturity as well as honey and white fruit notes whereas Le Chemin des Chappes – a Blanc de Noirs made of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier from the 2016 harvest and with a 1g/L dosage – offers a nice power and an elegant chalkiness on the finish. A cuvée with a lot of finesse.
At Champagne Etienne Calsac in Avize, the estate counts 3 hectares of vineyard spread over the village of Avize, Grauves and Bisseuil. The Domain is certified for its HVE and sustainable viticulture.
L’Echappée Belle – 100% Chardonnay Premier Cru from a 2015 base and with a 3g/L dosage – is fresh, supple and mineral with dried fruit aromas. Les Rocheforts – a single plot Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru from Bisseuil with a base of 2015 and a 4g/L dosage – is expressive, taut and mineral with saline notes. The Clos des Maladries cuvée – a single plot Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru from Avize exclusively from the 2014 harvest and without any dosage – is complex and fresh with biscuit and oak aromas. Finally, Rose de Craie – 88% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Noir from a 2015 base and with 5g/L of dosage – is fruity and mineral with delicate red berries notes.
In the village of Villenauxe, Champagne Barrat-Masson consists of 7 hectares farmed organically and located on the clay-limestone terroirs of Bethon and Villenauxe. One of the many specificities of the estate is to do the disgorgement by hand.
The Grain d’argile cuvée – 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir with a base of 2014 (80%) blended with 2013 and a 2g/L dosage – is frank, fresh and ample at first but the finish offers a beautiful salinity. As for Fleur de Craie – 100% Chardonnay exclusively from the 2014 harvest and without any dosage -, it reveals finesse and minerality with white flowers notes. Les Margannes – 100% Chardonnay exclusively from the 2013 harvest and without any dosage – is ample, taut and frank with saline and mineral notes. Finally, Les Volies – 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from the 2015 harvest, with a vinification in demi-muid and without dosage – develops yellow fruit and delicate woody aromas highlighting the fruitiness, power and minerality of the wine.
Exclusively located in Verzy, the 7,5 hectares of Champagne Mouzon-Leroux are managed following a rigorous biodynamic approach since 2008. For the vinification, the wines age on lees, there is neither fining nor filtration and few or no added sulfure.
L’Atavique – 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay mainly from the 2014 harvest (80%) blended with 2013 / 2012 vinified 25% in oak barrels and with a 2g/L dosage – is taut and frank with dried fruit and floral aromas. L’incandescent Rosé de Saignée cuvée – 100% Pinot Noir exclusively from 2015, with a 25h maceration, vinified 25% in oak barrels and with a 3g/L dosage – offers saffron, wild berries aromas and yet still brings this impressive minerality and fresh length. L’Ascendant – a Soléra of the Atavique cuvée since 2010 (50% L’Atavique 2013, 50% L’Atavique 2012/2011/2010) made 60% of Pinot Noir and 40% of Chardonnay, vinified in oak barrels and with 2,5g/L of dosage – unveils white fruit and pastries notes with a great frankness. L’ineffable – a 100% Pinot Noir Brut Zéro 2012 vintage vinified 50% in oak barrels – is complex, fresh and mineral with floral and butter notes. Finally, L’Angélique – a 100% Chardonnay 2011 vintage vinified 50% in oak and with a 2,5g/L dosage – bring complexity and a delicate freshness with vanilla, quince and bread notes.
From Crouttes-sur-Marne, Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz is an estate of 6,85 hectares farmed with a biodynamic approach since 2009 and Demeter certified.
The 3C cuvée – 45% Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay mainly from the 2015 harvest (70%) blended with 2014 with a zero dosage – is floral and mineral with elegant white fruits aromas whereas the M cuvée – 100% Meunier exclusively from 2015 harvest and without any dosage – offers freshness and acidity balanced with complexity and yeast notes. The N cuvée – 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Meunier mainly from 2014 (85%) blended with 2013 and with a zero dosage – brings power, finesse and intensity with quince and brioche aromas. To finish, the RS cuvée – a Rosé de Saignée champagne exclusively made with Pinot Meunier from 2015 harvest and with a maceration of 22h but no dosage – is highly mineral with blackberry, rose and grapefruit notes.
Located on the sandy and clay-limestone soils on marl subsoils of Vandière, the estate of Champagne Nowack counts 3,6 hectares which are ploughed. During the wine-making process there is neither fining nor filtration.
La Fontinette – 100% Meunier exclusively from the 2014 harvest and with a dosage of 1,5g/L – is persistent and elegant with green apple, hazelnuts aromas. La Tuilerie – 100% Chardonnay from 2013 harvest with a 2g/L dosage – is delicate, expressive and mineral with fresh citrus notes. L’Arpent Rouge – 50% Chardonnay, 48% Pinot Meunier and 2% Pinot Noir with a dosage of 2g/L done with juice from the same plot used for the wine and the bottling and aging is done with natural cork – is vinous and fresh with an elegant complexity with citrus peel and biscuit notes. Finally, Les Bauchets – 100% Pinot Noir exclusively from the 2012 harvest and with a 2g/L dosage – is crisp with white cherry, hints of chalk and dried rose petal aromas.
At Champagne Corbon in Avize, the estate of 2,7 hectares is spread over the terroirs of Avize, Vandières, Verneuil, Vincelles and Trélou. For the vinification, the Domain does not any fining, filtration or cold stabilization.
The Chardonnay Grand Cru 2006 vintage – 100% Chardonnay from Avize without malolactic fermentation and with a 6g/L dosage – is fresh and crisp with yellow fruits and mineral notes. The Brut d’Autrefois – a perpetual blending cuvée with 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from a 2008 base and 5g/L of dosage – expresses finesse and freshness with elegant dried fruit, ginger and honey aromas. Les Bacchantes 2009 Grand Cru cuvée – 100% Chardonnay from Avize vinified in oak barrel, bottling and aging is done with natural cork – brings peach, orange peel and toast notes highlighted by the freshness and minerality as well as white pepper aromas.
Exclusively on the terroir of the village of Meurville, the 8,5 hectare estate of Champagne Remi Leroy do not use filtration or fining during the winemaking process of its terroir-driven wines.
The Extra-Brut Blending – 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, with a base of 2014 harvest (80%) and a dosage of 4,5g/L – is taut and complex with fresh hazelnut and yellow peach notes whereas The Brut Nature Blending – 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay, mainly from 2014 (80%) with a zero dosage – is frank and taut with acacia flower and brioche notes. The Blanc de Noirs 2011 vintage – 100% Pinot Noir with 2g/L of dosage – is powerful and sharp with pastries and roasted notes. Finally, the Saignée Les Crots 2013 cuvée – a 100% Pinot Noir Rosé de Saignée without any dosage – is vinous and fresh with licorice and blackcurrant aromas.
Spread over the village of Chamery, the 2,5 hectares of Champagne Thomas Perseval are managed under the organic viticulture approach.
Le Village 2012 vintage – a 100% Chardonnay Brut Nature vinified 11 months in barrels – offers freshness and complexity with smoky and chalky notes. La Pucelle 2014 vintage – a blend of 90% Pinot Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir from complantation aged 8 months in barrels and without any dosage – is taut, delicate and intense with citrus and honey aromas. La Mazure – 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from complantation and from the 2014 harvest, vinified 8 months in barrels and without any dosage – is tight with finesse and elegance and expresses woody notes. The Coteaux Champenois Blanc Sous le Cerisier 2016 vintage – 60% Chardonnay, 30% Petit Meslier, 15% Arbanne and 15% Pinot Blanc, vinified 16 months in barrels – is fresh chalky and well-balanced with a light bitterness and white flower notes.
At Champagne Vadin-Plateau in Cumières, the 7 hectares of vineyard are divided on the terroirs of Cumières, Hautvillers and the estate is HVE certified with ploughing of the soils. During the wine making process there is neither filtration, fining nor cold stabilization.
The Renaissance cuvée – 100% Pinot Meunier 1er Cru from Cumères with a 2015 base (80%) blended with 2014 and with a dosage of 2g/L – is complex and fresh with herbal, pear and cherry aromas whereas Intuition – 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier and 30% Pinot Noir with a 2013 base (80%) blended with 2012 and with a 2g/L dosage – offers elegance and balance with citrus and white flower aromas. The new Carac’terre cuvée – 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay from the 2012 harvest with the bottling and aging is done with natural cork – brings complexity and purity with fresh fruit and mineral notes highlighted by the zero dosage. Bois des Jots – 100% Pinot Noir from the 2013 harvest without dosage, the bottling and aging is done with natural cork – is aromatic and intense with notes of almonds and white flowers. Finally, Ovalie – 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay vinified in egg-shaped tanks, the bottling and aging done with natural cork and with a zero dosage – is fresh and vinous with yellow fruit and stewed pear aromas.
Located exclusively in Villers-Allerand, Champagne Stroebel counts 3,5 hectares managed under the organic viticulture. There is neither filtration, fining nor cold stabilization during the vinification.
The Héraclite Pinot Meunier cuvée – 100% Pinot Meunier from the 2014 harvest and without any dosage – is mineral and generous with light smoky notes and bitterness whereas Héraclite Sous Bois – 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier from the 2014 harvest, vinified and aged in oak barrel without any dosage – is complex, round and frank with vanilla and mineral notes. The Triptyque cuvée – 52% Pinot Noir, 36% Pinot Meunier and 12% Chardonnay mainly from the 2014 harvest (60%) blended with 2013 (25%) and 2011 (15%) without dosage – offers power, freshness and frankness with saline and iodic notes on the finish. The Logos Rosé de Saignée – 100% Pinot Noir without dosage from the 2013 harvest and with a 40h maceration – bring finesse with mixed berries and fresh blackcurrant aromas as well as a light vinosity and a delicate bitterness on the finish. Le vin tranquille rouge 2015 Coteaux Champenois – 100% Pinot Meunier vinified 13 months in oak barrels – offers an explosion of aromas with woody and vanilla notes counterbalanced with stewed fruit notes. A complex and full-bodied wine.
Finally, Champagne Aurélien Lurquin, an 2,3 hectare estate in Romery follows an organic viticulture approach.
Les Crayères du Levant Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay from the 2015 harvest – is mineral and saline with white flower and fleshy fruit notes. Les Crayères du Levant Blanc de Noirs – 100% Pinot Meunier from the same plot and without any dosage – offers freshness, tautness and frankness with butter and saline notes. The Coteaux Blanc de Noirs – Les Crayères du Levant from 2015 harvest – is frank, mineral and generous whereas the Coteaux Rouge – Pinot Noir from the plot called Les Forcières and from 2015 without any added sulfure – is a full-bodied wine with vinous, stewed fruit, mineral notes as well as cherry aromas.
It is always a pleasure to share this moment of the year with the winegrowers of Des Pieds et des Vins. A special time of friendliness and exchange…