April 15, 2019 – Palais du Tau, 10 am sharp : the wine professionals from all over the world are heading to the historic monument of the Coronation City as they have a rendez-vous that wouldn’t miss : the annual tasting of Terres et Vins de Champagne. Let’s not forget that the group is the root of the Printemps des Champagnes.
Terres et Vins de Champagne, a name everyone knows in the professional area. The originators of the Printemps des Champagnes just celebrated last year their 10th year anniversary and for 2019, the adventure continues. With more than 30 different terroirs represented through highly precise and mineral wines the 11th edition was both the continuity of the what the group initially initiated but the beginning of a new era too… And the 19 winemakers are more than ever committed to their soils and their wines. Through their annual event, they continue to pass their passion and their approaches of the terroirs on to the visitors, reminding that champagne is a wine first. 11 years old… an age of maturity in the end but the opportunity to renew yourself – but without ever loosing the passion of the beginning.
Just like the other editions, the event starts with the vin clair tasting lifting the veil on the long awaited and beautiful vintage in perspective : 2018…
2018 vin clairs
Why this vin clair tasting ? First, it is an exercice : to taste this clear wines which have many years of ageing ahead of them and to try to have a good perception of the potential of the future champagnes. It is also a guarantee of transparency against the prescribers. So what about 2018 ?
2018 was a year with exceptional climate conditions that allow to harvest grapes with perfect sanitary condition.
Remember : the grape harvests began very early – from August 20 in the earliest sectors – and there were almost no sort to do thanks to ideal weather conditions : winter offered a usual abundant rainfall allowing the soils to accumulate water and stimulating the vine growth. This wet winter was followed by temperatures above the decadal average from April to June with sunny conditions, leading to an early flowering in early June and a beautiful maturation of the vine. Later, the amount of sunshine leaded to a very beautiful ripening of the grapes. The result at harvest time, therefore was numerous, round and fleshy bunches in perfect condition, with sugar and aromatic richness well above average.
Perhaps, the only doubt was about the acidity, this freshness so sought-after for the wines of champagne. However, the uncertainty quickly vanished after the first tastings. The 2018 vins clairs of Terres et Vins de Champagne were mineral, fresh and precise with a lot a finesse, offering a balance between the fruit, terroir and vinification expression.
However, lovers of morning effervescence still have itchy feet as the first bubbles are only going to make the glass bubble at 11:30…
The bell’s rung, the vins clairs tasting is over…
The group has a tradition and the 11th edition is no exception : the champagne bell. Like the school bell announcing the beginning of recreation, the dong is the signal for the winegrowers to let the corks pop…
Pascal from Champagne Agrapart located on the lands of Avize, assure the organic life of his terroirs thanks to different methods, including ploughing and the use of compost. The winegrower crafts champagnes of precision, minerality and finesse.
The champagnes served : Minéral 2013 – 100% Chardonnay from plots from Avize and Cramant : a fresh, saline and chalky Blanc de Blancs with brioche notes. Avizoise 2013 – 100% Chardonnay from Avize – : an elegant, rich, dense and aromatic wine with a lot of finesse.
Coming from Crouttes sur Marne, Françoise Bedel and Vincent Desaubeau from Champagne Françoise Bedel are one of the precursors of biodynamics in Champagne. Through their approach they highlight a place, a year always with elegance, generosity and expressiveness.
The champagnes served : Dis, Vin Secret 2010 – 90% Meunier, 5% Pinot Noir and 5% Chardonnay from silt soils – : a smoky, buttery, elegant and balanced champagne with a mineral finish. L’Âme de la Terre 2005 – 60% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir – : a complex, vinous and fine vintage with yellow fruit notes and a mineral finish.
For the two brothers, Raphael and Vincent from Champagne Bérêche & Fils located in Ludes, the devotion and the work to unveil the the subtlety of their terroirs and craft expressive wines with personality coming from the vine is essential.
The champagnes served : Le Cran Premier Cru 2011 – 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir from chalky terroir – ample, buttery, toasted bread and hazelnut notes. Mailly Champagne Grand Cru 2013 – 100% Pinot Noir from clay terroir – finesse, freshness and acidity with licorice notes.
On the terroirs of Faverolles-et-Coëmy, Delphine from Champagne Francis Boulard & Fille produces wines close to nature and without ever denaturing the grape varieties and the soils of her terroirs. She creates champagnes with suppleness, minerality and richness.
The champagnes served : Les Rachais 2011 – 100% Chardonnay – fresh, frank, mineral and complex with pastry notes. Pétraéa 2012 – 100% Pinot Noir, perpetual reserve – intense, power, finesse, elegance with spicy hints.
From Villers-aux-Noeuds, Emmanuel, winemaker of Champagne Emmanuel Brochet chose to turned to the organic farming with the aim to find the best possible balance for his soils and his wines, but also for the pleasure of the work. The cuvées of the estate offer vinosity, maturity and finesse.
The champagnes served : Mont Benoit – 35% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay – : a full-bodied wine offering generous white fruit and buttery notes enhanced by an elegant saline finish. Haut-Meunier 2012 – 100% Meunier vines planted in 1962, massale selection – : a smoky, complex, frank and taut cuvée with chalky expression.
When you take a look at the table of Alexandre from Champagne Chartogne-Taillet in Merfy, no doubt that he is a true passionate. For the winegrower, the essential is to let the terroir take back his right, to take pleasure through what he does and to share with others what nature allowed him to craft. The wines are as generous as the winegrower, and highly mineral.
The champagnes served : Chemin de Reims 2012 – 100% Chardonnay from a soil rich in iron, two versions : 9g/l and 4g/l. The lower dosage offers a saline, milky and spicy side whereas the Brut is more complex, ample with pastry notes. Les Orizeaux 2013 – 100% Pinot Noir, 5g/l – mineral, fine and delicate with gingerbread and coffee notes. Les Barres 2013 – 100% Meunier, 5g/L and 8g/L. The lower dosage is complex, expressive, frank and mineral with sourdough notes whereas the Brut is more discreet with citrus aromas and a mineral, saline finish.
From the terroirs of Buxeuil, Vincent from Champagne Vincent Couche is an attentive, passionate and sensitive winemaker who is always striving for excellence. His convictions allow him to create generous, elegant and fresh wines.
The champagnes served : Chardonnay de Montgueux – 100% Chardonnay, 30% vinified in oak – : a balanced and delicate champagne and lightly vinous on the finish. Sélection parcellaire – 2 plots selected, 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay – : a fresh, frank and expressive wine with elegant vinous and mineral notes.
At Champagne Marie-Courtin in the village of Polisot, Dominique Moreau chose to farm her unsegmented vineyard following an organic and biodynamic approach, never interfering with the natural mechanisms of nature. This way, she crafts electric and chiseled cuvées with elegance and precision.
The champagnes served : Efflorescence 2014 – 100% Pinot Noir from massale selection vines 45 years in age, planted in Kimeridgian soils – : a sunny, fine and delicate champagne with yellow fruit aromas. Le Blanc du Tremble – white still wines made from 100% Pinot Noir and aged in amphora – : an expressive, ample wine with wild strawberry, stony and slightly saline notes.
Coming from Vertus, Laure and Pascal from Champagne Pascal Doquet are resolutely turned towards the search for cultural practices in harmony with nature and the planet from the beginning. An approach allowing them to create mineral, frank, expressive champagnes with a chalky finish.
The champagnes served : Le Mesnil Coeur de Terroir 2008 – 100% Chardonnay from Mesnil sur Oger and its chalky terroir : an elegant, frank and expressive wine with salinity and minerality. Horizon Blanc de Blancs – 100% Chardonnay from Perthois – : an ample, generous and fresh cuvée with floral and fruity notes.
On the lands of Cumières, Jean-Baptiste from Champagne Geoffroy strive to preserve the balance of each of his plots. A search for harmony with nature, guided by his philosophy of respect for life and the environment. The cuvées of the estate offer a rich, fine and fresh style.
The champagnes served : Lieu dit “Les Tiersaudes” 2013 vintage – 100% Meunier from massale selection vines – : an ample wine with warm bread notes and crispbread notes. Cumières Rouge 2015 – 100% Pinot Noir still wine – is tannic, delicate and silky with generous aromas of Morello cherry.
For Marie and Olivier from Champagne Horiot in the famous village of Les Riceys, the single plot approach is essential to highlight the individuality of their terroir but also to respect the fruits of the year and to reveal each vintage as naturally as possible. Following the principles of biodynamics, the create pure, intense, bright and fine wines.
The champagnes served : Sève Blanc de Noirs 2012 – 100% Pinot Noir from red clay soils – offers round, elegant and delicate character with toasted and hazelnut notes. Soléra – a blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne and Petit Meslier from grey marl soils – : a saline, complex, ample and elegant wine with yellow fruit and almond notes.
At Champagne Jeanaux Robin in Talus Saint Prix, Cyril sticks to the tradition but brings practices close to organic approach at the same time. A philosophy that enable him to respect biodiversity and to produce mineral, subtle, vinous cuvées.
The champagnes served : Fil de Brume – 20 % Chardonnay and 80% Pinot Noir – : a fresh, elegant and fine wine with white flowers aromas. Instinct Meunier 2015 – 100% Meunier from clay with flint – : a fresh, elegant and ample champagne with generous smoky from the flint soils.
Valérie et Benoît from Champagne Benoît Lahaye on the chalky soils of Bouzy chose a biodynamic approach. Through their philosophy, they compose with the energy, emotions and identity of terroirs and nature, and look for the purity of the fruit expression. Their wines are pure, precise, fresh and mineral, imbued with limestone character.
The champagnes served : Les Monts de Tauxières 2008 vintage – 85% Pinot Noir et 15% Chardonnays cork – : a frank, mineral and balanced cuvée with intense honey and yellow fruit aromas. Les Juliennes maceration rosé 2016 Bouzy – 100% Pinot Noir vinification is 40% in terracotta jar and 60% in barrels – offers ripe plum, fresh date aromas. A frank and expressive, champagne.
From the village of Chavot, Aurélien and Thierry of the Champagne Laherte Frères estate, two sensitive winegrowers, adopted a wine-growing philosophy marked by traditions and a deep respect for their heritage and for nature. Their cuvées are rich, dense and complex at the same time highlighted by delicate freshness.
The champagnes served : Les Grandes Crayères 2014 – 100% Chardonnay from clayey silty soils – : a vinous, fresh, pure and elegant wine. Les Vignes d’Autrefois 2014 – 100% Meunier clayey soils – : a generous, round champagne with a nice frank, mineral and saline finish.
At Champagne Georges Laval in the village of Cumières, Vincent applies the organic approach since 1971. This way, the conscientious winegrower excluded any technique or product that may pose a risk to the environment and public health, or to alter the quality of the wine. The result is pure, complex cuvées with beautiful mineral length.
The champagnes served : Les Hautes Chèvres 2014 – 100% Meunier, natural vinification 8 months in oak barrels – : an ample, vinous, elegant wine with an impressive minerality and salinity. Les Longues Violes 2012 – 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Meunier, natural vinification 12 months in oak barrels – : an ample, complex, intense champagne with smoky and ripe pear notes.
Coming from the terroirs of Montagne de Reims, Olivier from Champagne Hubert Paulet takes care of a vineyard exclusively located on the lands of Rilly-la-Montagne. If the estate does not have the organic label, the winegrower uses a meticulous and conscientious approach tilling his soils and avoiding any weedkillers. The wines are delicate, suave and frank.
The champagnes served : Tradition Extra-Brut – 45% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and 32% Chardonnay – : a frank, balanced and vinous cuvée with fruity and crispy notes. Cuvée Risléus 2004 – 47% de Chardonnay, 20% de Pinot Noir and 33% de Pinot Meunier – : a generous, round, fine and precise wine with dried fruit and roasted notes.
For Fabrice of Champagne Pouillon in Mareuil sur Aÿ, the viticulture is done without compromise. The winegrower masters each stage, always keeping in mind that living wines can only come from living soils and natural winemaking. He crafts fresh, precise and pure cuvées with a lot ripeness.
The champagnes served : Les Blanchiens 2012 – 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay – : a balanced, pure, saline and frank wine with generous fruit notes. Les Valnons 2012 – 100% Chardonnay – : a wine with a lot of finesse, minerality ; a buttery, aromatic and vinous champagne.
Located on the white chalky lands of Cramant, Aurélien from Champagne Suenen knows the importance of patience in his work. He understand that observation is essential to comprehend, and being able to interpret terroirs. Thanks to this appreciation, he crafts wines with impressive minerality, precision and beautiful acidity.
The champagnes served : La Cocluette – 100% Chardonnay from 94 year-old vines planted in clay and silt soils, vinified in concrete egg and demi-muid – : a balanced, saline, milky and buttery wine with stone fruit notes and an impressive mineral finish. Les Robarts – 100% Chardonnay from Campanian chalky soils of Cramant – : a round, generous champagne with a beautiful structure and an elegant acidity.
Mélanie and Benoît, sister and brother, work hand in hand at Champagne Tarlant on the lands of Oeuilly. Their viticulture is demanding and perfectly adapted to the mosaic of soils and subsoils that they exploit : sands with flint, clays and limestones with pure chalk,… each individuality is enhanced. The wines offer volume, frankness and freshness.
The champagnes served : BAM – 25% Pinot Blanc, 25% Arbanne, 50% Petit Meslier – : an elegant, delicate, fine and fruity wine with light pepper and smoky notes. Cuvée Louis – 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, from 2002 and 2003 – : a generous, complex champagne with a fine, elegant and mineral finish.