April 17, 2018 – Emotions, passion, authenticity and commitment… the annual tasting of Artisans du Champagne held the fourth day of the Printemps des Champagne in the luxury establishment of Domaine Les Crayères in Reims. During this 8th edition, the artisans presented their vins clairs from the complex 2017 harvest as well as their champagne cuvées for the greatest pleasure of wine professionals.
Les Artisans du Champagne 2018 – vin clair tasting
For the 2018 edition, the winegrowers of Artisans du Champagne received their guests in a friendly and bubbly atmosphere offering authentic and highly-individual champagnes produced with respectful viticultural methods and winemaking processes without artifice as well. A philosophy clearly highlighted during the still wine tasting… zoom in on 6 winemakers.
From the Vallée de la Marne – in Mareuil-le-Port to be exact – we met Jérôme Dehours. A winemaker with a great attention to details whose approach adapts to nature, to the expression of a vintage and to the identity of a terroir.
The winegrower presented his Mareuil le Port, Lieu-dit Brisefer 2017 vin clair : a 100% Chardonnay coming from old vines (1947-1992) vinified without added sulfure. A beautiful aromatic expression of Mareuil le Port revealing the maturity of the grapes at the harvest and sign of an expressive, yet fresh and well-balanced future cuvée.
Located on the Côte des Blancs area on the slopes of Vertus, Yannick and Guillaume Doyard have a great respect for their terroir through their approach, revealing its multiple facets through authenticity, elegance, finesse.
Father and son chose their Clos de l’Abbaye 2017 vin clair : a single plot 100% Chardonnay still wine from old vines (1956) located on the chalky terroir of 1er Cru Vertus. An elegant, delicate but highly aromatic and mineral Blanc de Blancs with pure white flowers notes. Impressive !
On the Montagne de Reims in Ecueil, the generosity and personality of Frédéric Savart and his wines are renowned. Results of precision, respect and passion, his champagnes are highly individual….
The winemaker brought his Les noues 100% Pinot Noir 2017 vin clair : a Pinot Noir still wine from the lieu-dit called Les noues. A lightly colored Blanc de Noirs beautifully fruity with a nice acidity as well as frankness and minerality from the sandy soils of the terroirs of Ecueil.
In Festigny on the Vallée de la Marne terroirs, Christophe Mignon is adjusting to nature and his terroirs, being attentive to details and respecting what nature give him. His method is alternative, choosing the best approach for the balance for his vineyard and his soils.
The first vin clair was Rondeau 2017 : a 100% Pinot Meunier aged in enamelled steel vats without malolactic fermentation or filtration. A mineral, frank and balanced Blanc de Noirs, still discreet for now but showing a great potential. The second still wine was La Brousse 2017 : a 100% Meunier saignée vin clair with a 36h of maceration aged in enamelled steel vats without malolactic fermentation or filtration. A frank wine with a beautiful vinosity, minerality and fruitiness as well as redcurrant aromas.
Back on the Montagne de Reims soils with Arnaud Margaine from Villers-Marmery who interprets what his terroir gives him with a great passion for his work and sensitivity.
The winegrower was pouring Les Grands Arbres : a 100% Chardonnay still wine from Villers-Marmery vinified in tanks. It offers freshness, frankness and minerality as well as pear and smoky notes. Still discreet, the vin clair already shows a beautiful potential for the future cuvée.
Julie and Xavier Gonet Medeville are coming from Bisseuil in the Côte des Blancs and Côte des Noirs Bisseuil. Together, they craft wines reflecting the elements of nature and following high quality level of requirement,
The vin clair for the event was Champ d’Alouette au Mesnil sur Oger : a 100% Chardonnay without malolactic fermentation and the vinification done in oak barrels. The wine is generous with a beautiful maturity and roundness from the ripeness of the fruits during the harvest. The finish brings an elegant freshness.
A prestigious guest from California : Cruse Wine Company
Every year, the group has the pleasure to invite a prestigious winegrower guest for the tasting. A way to allow the visitors to discover wines from other wine regions anywhere in the world. This edition, it was a trip to California that was offered to the wine professionals with Cruse Wine Company and Michael Cruse who was presenting his wines.
Michael Cruse looks after a small winery in Petaluma in Northern California. As the majority of the Californian producers turned to the “grande marque style”, Michael chose the artisanal approach and a terroir-driven philosophy. Minimalist but methodical methods to craft emotional wines… Winemaking practices he always admired from winegrowers in Champagne who creates with talents highly individual wines following a natural process.
His sparkling called pétillant naturel on the other is purely Californian style expressing exuberantly the ripeness of the fruit from California and the minerality of its soils whereas Ultramarine – a single vineyard, single vintage sparkling – is made following the traditional method using classic champagne approach : the process is oxidative rather than reductive using indigenous yeast. The wine is aged in oak but neither filtered nor stabilized. Both the bottling and the riddling – on champagne riddling racks – are done by hand as well as the disgorgement which is done with almost no dosage in order to respect the minerality from the sandy Goldridge loam terroirs.
2017 vin clair of Ultramarine Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Heitz vineyard (an awesome site for the grape) – chalky, well-balanced with fresh fruit notes, crisp acidity. great finesse, lemon and mandarin
2012 Ultramarine Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Heitz vineyard (an awesome site for the grape), Dosage is 2 grams per liter – mineral, floral, Bright, focused and nicely sculpted, with plenty of lemon peel, chalk, savory herb and mint overtones… Even so, the flavors are bright, vivid and striking in their purity. vinous. rich, showing brioche on the nose, the ’12 feels leaner on the palate than the ’11: Still evoking saltwater, the wine tastes stony and intensely mineral — less lemon curd, more lemon.
2010 Ultramarine Blanc de Blancs late disgorged – 100% Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Heitz vineyard (an awesome site for the grape) Bottled with no dosage- complex, balanced with rose, strawberry, litchee, rich and tense, creamy. Bright, sculpted and dripping with energy, citrus peel, crushed rock, white pepper and floral notes, super-expressive Blanc de Blancs
2016 Rancho Chimiles Valdiguié Pétillant naturel – Valdiguié (formerly called Napa Gamay) from Terry Wilson’s Rancho Chimiles vineyard in Wooden Valley, Napa Valley AVA. Vines are 40+ years old.ancestral-method sparkling wines, made by simply bottling the wine mid-fermentation to trap carbon dioxide, Harvested a few weeks earlier than it’s still counterpart. The grapes, after a few days of carbonic maceration, were gently pressed, fermented in a concrete egg, then finished fermentation in bottle. The bottles were then riddled, disgorged, topped up, and sealed by hand. This is pure fermented grape juice without any addition of sulfites, acids, sugar, or yeast, Pleasanton loam soils – tanique, profond, fresh and stewed fruit notes. light, fruity, intensely floral with good acidity and a tannic backbone, ripe austere, generousstructure
Let it sparkles
To continue the tasting, each members of the association is presenting champagnes from their range. The opportunity to understand even more the philosophy of each winemakers and to taste the results of their work and their passion.
Champagne Dehours & Fils
Mareuil le Port – Lieu-dit Brisefer 2008 – 100% Chardonnay from old vines (1947-1992), fermentation and ageing in barrels of 200 and 300L, blocked malolactic fermentation, dosage of 2.3g/L – is the expression of the terroir : a beautiful and elegant Blanc de Blancs with ripe yellow fruit aromas and light woody notes. Oeil de Perdrix Extra-Brut – blend mainly of Pinot Meunier with Chardonnay aged in oak barrels, no dosage – is precise, generous and round with fresh fruit and floral aromas as well as subtle notes of eucalyptus. Grande Réserve Brut – Pinot Meunier (57%)Chardonnay (10%)Pinot Noir (3%) ,high proportion of Reserve Wine (1/3) from a Solera started in 1998, fully aged on lees, dosage of 4.5 g/L – is fresh, refined and elegant with white heady flower, white pepper notes and honey aromas.
Vendémiaire – 100% Chardonnay, blend of 3 years with a base of 2012, vinification partly in barrels (40%), dosage 4g/L – is frank, mineral and expressive with fresh butter and apple notes. Révolution – 100% Chardonnay, blend of 3 years with a base of 2011, vinification partially in barrels (50%), dosage of 0.6g/L – is taut, mineral and saline with brioche and dried fruit aromas. Blanc de Blancs 2009 – 100% Chardonnay exclusively from 2009 vinified in oak barrels, dosage of 0.6g/L – is toasty, complex and profound but also fresh and vinous with white flower notes.
Mont des Chrétiens 2014 – 100% Chardonnay from the terroir of Ecueil, no malolactic, dosage of 3g/L – fresh crips fruit – lemon – is mineral, frank and generous with a beautiful freshness and vinosity. Mont Benoit 2014 – 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Chardonnay co-planted from the terroir of Villers aux Noeuds, no malolactif, 2g/L – offers complexity but also a lightly buttered side (fresh butter) and yellow fruit notes. This vintage still presents a great freshness and tautness. Expression 2014 – 100% Pinot Noir from 5 plots in Ecueil with old vines (60 à 70 ans), ageing in barrels, no dosage, limons and clay – is a full-bodied wine offering maturity, freshness with grip from the clayey soil, pure minerality as well as red fruit notes.
Champagne Christophe Mignon
Extra-Brut Pur Meunier – 100% Meunier blend of 2013/2014 harvest, 5 plots from Festigny and Le Breuil, 27 month on lees, 2g/L – brings structure, vinosity, complexity, and freshness with jasmin and chalky notes. Brut Nature 2013 Pur Meunier – 100% Meunier Les Varennes 2013, 42 to 60 months on lees, 0g/L – is floral and aromatic with saline, iodic and fresh fruit notes on the palate.
Champagne Pierre Paillard, Antoine and Quentin
Les Maillerettes 2012 – Pinot Noir from Bouzy, 2g/L – is both intense and delicate with elegant saline and floral notes as well as brioche aromas. Les Mottelettes 2012 – Chardonnay from Bouzy 2g/L – offers generosity, minerality and harmony with citrus and white flower aromas. Les Terres Rose 13 – 35% Pinot Noir and 65% Chardonnay from Bouzy, 3g/L – is mineral, fresh and floral with saline, grapefruit and red-berries notes.
Champagne A. Margaine,
Cuvée Traditionnelle “Le Brut” – 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir – is generous, vinous, fresh and elegant with apple and crisp citrus aromas. Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut – 100% Chardonnay, blend of 25% of 2013 and 75% of 2014 – is mineral, smoky and frank with floral and saline notes. Le caractère M – 95% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Noir from a Soléra 2002 to 2012 – is complex, buttered and structured with mandarin and iodic notes.
Champagne Vilmart, Laurent Champs
Grand Cellier – 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, 100% in foudres and without malolactic fermentation – is balanced, frank and crisp with ripe lemon and brioche notes. Grand Cellier d’Or 2013 vintage – 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from old vines, 100% in barrels and without malolactic fermentation – is intense, structured and fresh with candied fruit and lemon aromas. Coeur de Cuvée 2010 vintage – 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from old vines, 100% in barrels without malolactic fermentation – is persistent and elegant with herbaceous and yellow fruit aromas.
Champagne Nicolas Maillart
Extra-Brut 1er cru – 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay from Villers-Allerand (70%), Ecueil (20%) and Bouzy (10%), agin in barrels, 1g/L – is fresh, balanced and vinous with ripe fruit and roasted notes. 2012 1er Cru vintage – 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay from Bouzy (60%), Ecueil (40%), aging in barrels, 4g/L – is rich, complex and elegant with dried fruit and butter notes. Franc de pied 2012 1er Cru vintage – 100% Pinot Noir from a ungrafted plot in Ecueil (sandy terroir), vinification and aging in oak, no malolactic and no dosage – offers minerality, finesse and elegance with woody and saline notes.
Champagne Lancelot Pienne, Gilles Lancelot
Marie Lancelot 2012 vintage – 100% Chardonnay from Cramant, 3,5g/L – is generous, spicy and chalky with walnut notes. Table Ronde – 100% Chardonnay from Cramant, Chouilly and Avize, base 2013 and perpetual reserve, 3,5g/L – is mineral, complex and taut with pastry and dried fruit notes. Accord Majeur – 70% Pinot Meunier, 15% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir, base 2013 and perpetual reserve, 5g/L – brings generous yellow flower and ripe fruit aromas as well as woody and vanilla notes.
Champagne Alfred de Gratien, Nicolas Jaeger
Brut sans année – base 2012, aging in oak barrels – is fresh, frank and complex with elegant biscuit and white flower aromas. 2005 vintage – aging in oak barrels, bottling under cork – is aromatic, powerful and savorous with candied fruit and apricot notes. Paradis brut 2009 cuvée – aging in oak barrels, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir exclusively from Premiers and Grands crus – is pure, elegant and harmonious with mineral and brioche notes .
Champagne Hébrart, Jean-Paul
Spécial Club 2013 – 40% Chardonnay from Chouilly and Mareuil-sur-Ay and 50% Pinot Noir from Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay – is complex, fresh and toasted with bread notes and hints of vanilla. Noces de craie 2012 Ay Grand Cru Extra-Brut – Blanc de Noirs from terroirs of Ay – is intense, chalky and complex with vibrant pear and lemon aromas. Rive Gauche Rive Droite 2012 Grand Cru – 50% Chardonnay from Oiry, Chouilly and Avize and 50% Pinot Noirs from Ay, vinification in oak barrels, 4g/L – is fresh, complex and balanced with aromas of fresh grapes and stone fruits whereas Rive Gauche Rive Droite 2006 – 50% Chardonnay from Oiry, Chouilly and Avize and 50% Pinot Noirs from Ay, vinification in oak barrels- offers freshness and elegance with butter and saline notes. Coteaux Blanc – Chardonnay from the terroirs of Dizy and Ay, 6 months on lees – is mineral, fruity and fresh with elegant iodic notes.
Champagne Huré frères, Pierre and François
Invitation – 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, 6g/L – is subtle, fresh and fruity with fresh yeast and hazelnuts aromas. Mémoire – Solera of reserve wines in foudre from 1982 to 2013 – is crispy, saline and vinous with acacia and lemon notes. 4 elements Pinot Noir 2013 – single plot cuvée from a parcel called “La Perthe” in Ludes, vinification in demi-muid and bottling under cork – is elegant, complex and rich with almond and ripe berry fruit aromas.
Champagne Gonet Médeville
Tradition 1er Cru – 70% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier, no malolactic fermentation, vinification in tanks, 6g/L – is light, fruity and complex with an elegant bitterness and saline notes. Blanc de Noirs 1er Cru – 100% Pinot Noir, no malolactic, 50% vinification in tanks 50% in barrels, 5g/L – offers salinity, frankness as well as complexity thanks to the barrels aging and develops white fruit aromas. “Champ d’Alouette” 2004 Le Mensil sur Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay, no malolactic, vinification in barrels, 2g/L – is chalky, mineral and frank with vanilla and fresh aromas of Chardonnay.
Champagne Pierre Péters, Rodolphe
L’Esprit 2013 vintage – 100% Chardonnay, blend of 4 different Grand Cru, partial malolactic, 5g/L – is mineral, taut and floral with ripe green apple and toast notes. Réserve Oubliée – 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru, partial malolactic fermentation, bottling under cork, 4g/L – is complex, mineral and expressive with white flowers and vanilla aromas. Etonnant Monsieur Victor MK. 11 – 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru, blend of perpetual reserve from 1988, partial malolactic, bottling under cork, 4g/L – is frank, elegant and mineral with generous plum and spicy notes.
Champagne Pierre Gerbais, Pascal and Aurélien
Grains de Celles – 50% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Blanc Vrai, 3g/L – is both generous, elegant with floral and juicy fruit notes. L’Originale – 100% Pinot Blanc Vrai, 3g/L – is generous, fresh and atypical with saline, exotic and mineral notes whereas L’Audace – 100% Pinot Noir, no dosage – is precise, pure and elegant with white flower notes.
Champagne Fleury, Jean-Sébastien Fleury
Fleur de l’Europe Brut Nature – 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, no dosage – is expressive, generous and frank with delicate honey and fresh almond aromas. Sonate 2011 vintage – 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, no added sulfure, 45% aging in oak, 1,7g/L – is fresh, complex and elegant with stewed apple and brioche notes. Finally, Bolero 2006 – 100% Pinot Noir, 50% aging in oak, 2,6g/L – offers freshness, generosity and harmony with spicy, dried fruit and pear notes.
The professionals were not disappointed with this new edition of Artisans du Champagne. A lot of discovery and high-quality wines.