April 13, 2019 – Let’s hit the road of Champagne, in the direction of Ambonnay on the king terroir of Pinot Noirs for an off event of the Printemps des Champagnes. It is there, on the hills of the Montagne de Reims in this Grand Cru village that a selection of wine professionals from all over the world has “rendez vous” with Benoît Marguet, an atypical but big-hearted winegrower who crafts wines with a lot of serenity and a certain shamanic philosophy. No doubt when you pass the doors of the estate where a graceful buddha statue in the middle of the courtyard welcomes you, that you are surrounded by a plenitude feeling…
Champagne Benoît Marguet
If for some his sphere might seems odd, for me who spent more than a year in Asia, I rediscovered a certain feeling and serenity that I had when entering some of the buddhist temples there. When entering the winery, no other choice than facing a Buddha. Suddenly, this natural impression and desire to whisper in order to avoid to disrupt the quiet atmosphere and of course the wines which are calmly resting in the cellar.
Located in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, Champagne Marguet is a family estate founded in 1870. Today, Benoît – 5th generation of winegrower – is looking after the 8 hectares of the Domain mainly located on the terroir of Ambonnay with 7.30 hectares divided into 6 Lieux-dits, completed by 0.70 hectares on the lands of Bouzy village spread into two different Lieux-dits. After taking over the family estate, Benoît decided to undertook big changes in the way to do thing. He converted entirely the 8 hectares to the biodynamic approach with the use of farming employing phytotherapy – infusion and decoction of medicinal plants – and aromatherapy farming since 2009. A philosophy where the well-being of his soil, the natural balance of things and favoring of life are a priority. Since 2010, all the vineyard is exclusively ploughed with his two draft horses – Titan and Urban – and the estate is Demeter certified since 2013. Regarding the vinification, everything is done in order to respect the work carried out in the vineyard, to highlight the individuality of the terroir and to take care of the wines without rushing them : the work is done by gravity and the fermentation is done plot by plot, no sugar is added and the sulfites are used exceptionally and in very lows levels. As for the wooden vats and barrels for the aging on lees, Benoît chose wood from highly selected and sustainable forest. From this approach, which is perceived as a meditation for the winegrower and everyone who enters his philosophy, Benoît crafts wines that soar and enthralled…
Tasting – Shamann, single Crus and single plots
When entering the winery – after passing the peace keeper buddha -, calm, soft and pleasant light purple colors surround the visitors as well as a relaxing and peaceful music lulling the wines. A zen and meditation atmosphere, just like in a temple. It is on a white table, facing the barrels room that the bottles are aligned, awaiting the wine professionals for an atypical tasting with quiescence…
Ambonnay 2014 Rosé Grand Cru
The tasting starts with the expression of the singular style and the signature of the estate : the cuvée Ambonnay 2014 – rosé version. This wine symbolizes perfectly the philosophy of Champagne Marguet as well as the consciousness of the winegrower. This signature cuvée is a blend of 57% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir for a perfect match between the two varieties without any dosage or added sulfites in order to let the naturality of this wine express itself. This Rosé cuvée offers a pink salmon orange color. The nose is expressive, fresh and precise with ripe red fruits, tea and blood orange notes as well as bergamot, verbena and floral aromas enlightening perfectly the minerality of the wine. The palate is ample and brings a generous freshness, salinity and chalkiness with elegant wild strawberry, pomegranate, rose petals and brioche notes as well as cherry and redcurrant aromas. An harmonious, vibrant wine and a perfect introduction to what was following : a Cru by Cru tasting.
Brut Nature Single Crus
Bouzy 2014 • A blended cuvée with 77% Pinot Noir and 23% Chardonnay exclusively from the chalky terroir of Bouzy. The wine is fresh, frank and taut with a great balance. It offers delicate vanilla notes with a crisp acidity and a floral bouquet. A precise and elegant wine with a umami spirit.
Ay 2014 • A blend of 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay. The champagne is highly iodic, sapid and saline with a great and structure. A sharp persistent and mineral expression of Aÿ.
Chouilly 2014 • A Blanc de Blancs exclusively from the Côte des Blancs village. The limestone and chalky notes are well present and offer a silky texture. The wine is pure and extremely mineral with fresh bread and citrus aromas. A generous frank and saline character highlited by a nice acidity and a dry finish.
Avize and Cramant 2014 • A 100% Chardonnay champagne but a blend of grapes coming from Avize and Cramant. A Blanc de Blancs with a lot of balance. The vinous character and the light buttery creamy and brioche notes are enhanced with a nice saltiness on the finish which last…
Cramant 2014 • Only one Cru this time and a new release. This 100% Chardonnay and brut nature cuvée is highly mineral with a lot of purity. It develops white flower, greengage and crisp granny apple notes as well as smokey, chalky notes. A sapid and taut wine.
Trépail 2014 • This last single Cru from Trépail is made exclusively of 100% Chardonnay. It brings vanilla and vegetal notes. A complex and frank cuvée with a great structure.
Plot by plot
A range of authentic, vibrant, pure and expressive wines, naturally balanced by their terroir without exuberance.
Le Parc 2014 • A 100% Chardonnay with no dosage and 0gr/ml sulfites. The results is a very saline cuvée with a generous chalkiness as well as black fruit. The finish is juicy and elegant.
Les Bermonts 2014 • This Blanc de Blancs with no dosage and 0gr/ml sulfites, is chiseled, delicate, earthy and floral offering a great freshness with generous fruit notes and a long elegant sapidity.
Les Saint Remys 2014 • A cuvée exclusively made from Pinot Noir and without dosage to let the purity of its terroir express itself. This wine is frank, taut with yellow fruit notes and the power of the Pinot Noir highlited by the vibrant minerality.
Les Crayères 2014 • A Blanc de Noirs exclusively made from Pinot Noir grapes and with no dosage and 0gr/ml sulfites. Very elegant, this wine brings the power of the Pinot Noirs and the delicateness of the terroir. A champagne with a lot of finesse and a salty chalkiness enhanced by white cherry, brioche and bitter almonds in the after taste. A crisp and creamy cuvée.
Sapience Vertical tasting
After this first part of the tasting, the visitors discover eyes wide open a vertical of the prestigious and very rare Sapience cuvée. A wine which is the symbol of the balance and harmony between the nature and men… From organic certified grapes and vinified totally with natural methods Sapience is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier. Profound, intense, its tasting is a fully fledged experience with subtil energy…
2015 • Full, vibrant, energetic and saline, this wine is bone dry and persistent with delicate vegetal bread, fresh levain and dried fruits notes. Once again the finesse. vibration, and salinity is well present.
2014 • A fresh, frank and sapid cuvée with a great saline tautness. A creamy champagne with a crisp dry finish and good energy.
2013 • The finesse and elegance of this wine is impressive. It offers an elegant discretion with a delicate freshness on the finish. An harmonious vintage with hints of dried fruit and oak.
2012 • A buttered but lightly iodic wine with a refined structure. The tasting brings delicate and elegant hazelnut notes.
2011 • Refined and generous at the same time, this 2011 vintage develops ample aromas and vegetal notes. A wine full of complexity.
2010 • Balanced, frank and elegant, this wine unveils vanilla, white flowers and brioche notes as well as an elegant full-bodied structure. A complex champagne that lasts…
2009 • Last but not least, the 2009 vintage demonstrates pure elegance, harmony and complexity. It expresses chalky mineral and slight oxidative notes emphasized by beautiful bitter on the finish. A refined cuvée.
During the tasting, the harmony of the place, the serenity in which the wines are resting and all the dedication of the winegrower who even uses a quartz bowl to recenter the energy. The wine are mineral, fresh, cristalline and of course terroir-driven. When leaving the estate, the feeling of harmony and plenitude lasts for a while, souvenir of the philosophy of Benoît…