A new grower in Hermonville – north of Reims in Massif Saint Thierry. This area is the most northerly part of the Champagne region and has had an interesting history. Ravaged by phylloxera and the world wars, many vineyards were replanted in the mid sixties. Frederic and Rodolph look after 8 hectares of vines mainly in Hermonville. 4.5ha Meunier, 2ha Chardonnay and 1.5ha Pinot. Average vineyard age is 45 years. Traditionally they sold all their grapes to the big houses, but in 2005 they decided to start there own business. Frederic spent some time with Anselme Selosse and no doubt this has had a lasting effect on his philosophy towards wine making. All the wines are fermented and aged in barrel with battonage, and malo-lactic fermentation is blocked for all the cuvees. About 70% of barrels are 5 years or older.
Rodolph and Frederic have some interesting terroirs to work with. The upper hills are covered in sand-loam soil while the lower areas are loam, clay and sand. These well-draining soils contain high levels of minerals. Also there are numerous parcels of very old ungrafted vines. All parcels have prestigious south to south-east exposure. Four cuvees are currently available with a fifth, the vintage ‘2008 Symbiose’ for release in 2017. Current production is about 15,000 bottles per year and slowly increasing. Vinification and selection is very much parcel by parcel and then barrel by barrel. We tasted some amazing wines out of barrel. The influence of the different types and age of oak can be quite significant and Frederic uses this to blend the best he can to express the terroir.
So from year to year the blends and selections can be very different. Such is the nature of parcel and barrel viticulture.
These are a stunning range of individual hand crafted wines. Frederic and Rodolph’s journey has just begun. They could have easily decided to bottle their entire 8ha production from the outset, but they have chosen to slowly discover the intricacies of their differing terroirs and expand this by applying precise vinification. They understand that making a ‘no-malo’ wine requires long cellar aging to allow the components to integrate and harmonize. Too often we see ‘young’ no malo wines being released far too early, leaving them virtually undrinkable upon release, and often tricked up with a high dosage to make them approachable. The Miniere viticulture is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Preserving the biodiversity is paramount. The back labels are a joy! Everything is revealed!
Les Fauvagnes Parcels of Meunier. Origin 1968 and 1969.Ungrafted Meunier 1962
Les Rosières Parcels of ungrafted Meunier and Pinot Noir 1974.Chardonnay 1963
Les Grands Blancs Parcels of Chardonnay 1964, Ungrafted Chardonnay 1965
Les Moineaux Parcels of Meunier 1963, 1969, 1971, Pinot Noir 1981, Chardonnay 1963
Les Fosselles Parcels of Pinot Noir 1975 Chardonnay 2003
Les Voirmissa Parcels of Meunier 1949, 1967 Pinot Noir 1968 Chardonnay 1972
La Couturelle Parcels of Meunier 1986,1987,1988,1989,1990,1992,1993 Pinot Noir 2002
Four cuvees are currently with the vintage 2008 Symbiose for release in 2017.
Influence – Blend : 30% Pinot Noir, 40% Meunier, 15% Chardonnay, 15% reserve wines.
Blanc Absolu -Blend : 100% Chardonnay (including 20% reserve wines).
Brut Zero – Blend : Assemblage 30% pinot noir, 30% Meunier, 25% chardonnay,15% vin de réserve.
Influence Rose – Blend : 20% Pinot Noir, 40% Meunier, 20% Chardonnay, 20% reserve wines.
Symbiose – Vintage – 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.