Martin-Huguenot, the champagne you’ll never buy
How many times have we said: «I’ll never buy this champagne bottle!»?
Sometimes it’s our choice, other times it’s because the bottles we’re talking about are not available for sale.
That’s the case of Martin-Huguenot champagnes. They will never be put on the market.
Nothing mysterious about it. It’s not that the vigneron is too jealous of his creations, it’s just that the brand belongs to the Comité Champagne (CIVC). Used for ceremonies and official events, Martin-Huguenot champagnes are made with grapes cultivated in the experimental vineyard of Plumecoq in Chouilly.
The Interprofession champenoise’s R&D (recherche et développement) department has three experimental centers. Besides Plumecoq, there’s one in the Aube, in Essoyes, and another one outside the AOC Champagne region, in Gionges. In the latter they’re creating hybrid vine varieties, able to resist to oïdium and mildium diseases. According to researchers’ predictions, the first hybrid plants born from this project, the result of crossbreds with American grapevine, Chardonnay, Meunier, Pinot Noir and Gouais, with the 95% genetic heritage of vitis vinifera, could be available to vignerons between 2028 and 2032.
In the 10 hectares of Plumecoq experiments are being made on the management of the vineyard. Organic, biodynamic, different planting distances, tests on new methods for cover crops, new techniques for pruning and planting allogeneic vine varieties with characteristics adaptable to the champenois world. Finally, they start to vinify the outcome of all this hard work under the name Martin-Huguenot.
Two cuvées are currently being made this way, a Brut Sans Année and a Rosé de Macération.
The first one is a brut made with a quite canonical style. Fermented in steel, with a Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay assemblage with equal proportion, and a third of vin de réserve*. With a 7 grams dosage, it appears balanced, technically well-made but with no points of excellence.
On the other hand, the Rosé de Macération is quite different from a traditional rosé. Pure Pinot Noir, both its bouquet and flavor reveal a wooden note and a certain strength that mark its atypical character. And if pink is your favorite wine color, you’ll be happy to know that since December 2017 there’s a new vine variety of champenoise origin listed in the Catalogue officiel des variétés de vigne: the Pink Chardonnay.
We’ll find out in a few years when and if it will be actually authorized in the procedural guideline of champagne’s production.
*In our case the assemblage was based on vintage 2012