Le Printemps des Champagnes (part 2)
The two biggest exhibitions of the third day of Champagne Week were Terres et Vins de Champagne and Des Pieds et Des Vins. The first one celebrated its 10th birthday with vintages 2008, music and meals from three-starred Michelin chef Arnaud Lallement at his restaurant L’Assiette Champenoise.
Terres et Vins was founded in 2009 by a group of vignerons whose aim is to safeguard and represent terroir diversity through their production philosophy. It was the first exhibition to put together different vignerons and its success over the years led to the creation of the Champagne Week. Till 2014 the big event was hosted in Castel de Jeanson in Ay, but the growing success suggested a change so since 2015 it’s been hosted at Palais de Tau in Reims.
The day was full of interesting tastings. Starting from the samples of vin clair 2017, especially considering that this year has been quite difficult in terms of quantities because of the weather conditions. In terms of quality, however, it could turn out to be a pretty good year: the overall impression is a nice expressivity and recognizability, both for the terroir and the vine variety.
Speaking of new Champagne bottles, we enjoyed the sweetness of Agrapart’s Vénus 2012; the clarity of Boulard’s Rachais 2011; the assemblage and the six years of Solera method of the future Pétraéa which promises to be memorable; the elegance of Chartogne-Taillet’s Chemin de Reims 2012; Marie Courtin’s latest creation, Présence, 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot blanc; Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy also did a great job (the Terre Extra Brut 2006 was exquisite); the quivering notes of Argilité; the new Tarlant’s cuvée vinified in amphoras. But if we had to just pick three, we would choose Laval’s Les Longues Violes 2012, Benoît Lahaye’s Violaine 2013 and Emmanuel Brochet’s Les Hauts Chardonnay 2010.
Des Pieds et Des Vins was as great as always and we were glad to have them in Rome in October 2017. They can count on some of the youngest vignerons in Champagne as the average age is 30. Their first public appearance was in 2015. They are all different but they share the same desire to make champagne strictly linked to the land with vinification and often labels linked to single parcels, safeguarding as much as possible the terroir and the vineyards.
This year there’s been a new addition to the team: Jerôme Bourgeois-Diaz.
We had the chance to sample some remarkable champagnes, both new vintages of cuvées we already knew and completely new ones. Among the first kind, we really liked the original Barbichon’s Saignée; Sergent’s strong Chemin de Chappes vintage 2016; Calsac’s Clos de Maladries vintage 2014; the perfect combination of fruit and structure of the solera in Mouzon-Leroux’s L’Ascendant; the strong character of Strobel’s Triptyque. Among the new ones, still unfinished but with a great substance, especially for the integration with the wood, we loved Barrat-Masson’s Les Volies; the rich and pleasant Les Bacchantes 2009 by Corbon; Remi Leroy’s convincing Saignée Les Crots 2013; Aurélien Lurquin’s Les Crayères du Levant 2015, sadly only 400 bottles of pure Chardonnay; finally, L’Arpent Rouge, the last creation by Nowack, 50% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Meunier and a minimum part of Pinot Noir, dosed with jus de meunier (we love it). We’ll talk about it when it will be released later this year.
Lastly, Passion Chardonnay. The association includes ten producers whose reference point for production are white grape varieties. We appreciated the work of two vignerons in Cramant: the first, Philippe Glavier, proved himself again with his latest creation, Emotion, vintage 2012, sharp as a sword; the second is someone we already met during past trips, Richard Forquet, from Guiborat maison, who introduced us to two new excellent cuvées realized without malolactic fermentation: Prisme 2013, rich in acid tension and the Millésime 2011, fruity and soft.