Champagne André Heucq – Cuisles
Arriving in November we will have some inspirational Champagnes from a ‘meunier specialist’ grower who I have known for a number of years. I have always liked the wines, but now with their certified conversion to biodynamic viticulture and restructuring of their cuvées to focus on terroir and low dosages, the range has jumped to a new level of quality. They have been using biodynamic techniques for a number of years and now have decided to fully ratify their passion by formal certification. Subtle oak, partial malolactic with long time on lees, single parcel viticulture, all lift the range into the super class. André Heucq in Cuisles specialises in mineral meunier from their unique green clay Illite soils which gives acidity and minerality to produce complex age worthy meunier with elegance, vivacity, energy and tension.
Cuisles is a tiny village of only 150 people and 33 hectares of vineyards mainly meunier. It is a tricky village to find, tucked away from the Marne Valley, with east to south-east facing vineyards and much lower rainfall than Marne Valley vineyards. The soils are interesting. The first layer is sandy soils, second layer is green clay Illite and third layer is chalky clay. The Illite clay retains water better than the chalky-clay and is rich in nutrients. If you were to cut a cross section through the vineyard you’d find that most of the roots of the vines are concentrated in this layer of green clay. That’s why this kind of soil needs less water.The neighbouring villages of Jonquery and Olizy have similar soils and aspect.
The Heucq family consists of André and Patricia with their children, Alex and Fanny. Fanny is the brains behind one of the most iconic Paris Champagne Boutiques – Dilettantes in the 6th arrondisement. Selling and promoting the best big houses and growers – like Eric Rodez, Vazart Coquart and many others.
It was a pleasure to visit the Heucq family during the 2018 harvest and understand more about their passion and dedication. They are one of the very few vignerons who house, feed and transport all their pickers. Their new cuverie in Cuisles has been purposely designed to look after all the pickers during harvest. They are all trained to diagnose and discard any inferior bunches and only pick the best. A slow process, but quality is guaranteed, and the Heucq family is serious about grape quality. And they are cousins of the other good vignerons in Cuisles, the Moussé family.
Champagne André Heucq Héritage Blanc de Meunier Brut Nature
100% Meunier from Cuisles, Chatillon sur Marne, Serzy and Mareuil le Port. Soils are Illite clay. Based on 60% 2013 with 40% 2012 reserve wines. Classic fermentation in stainless steel. This was the wine that convinced me to re-discover the Heucq range. Pure and long, hints of mineral and hay, lovely balance. Also arriving is a little of the Extra Brut version of this at 4gm dosage. My preference is marginally for the Brut Nature. Both dosages work well and are very transparent, but I found the Nature to be a little more linear, complex, saline and an extra dose of tension. You can mix and match a few into an order.
Champagne André Heucq Héritage Assemblage
40% Chardonnay, 30% meunier and 30% pinot, based on majority 2012 with reserve wines. From Cuisles and Baslieux sous Chatillon. Dosage is Extra Brut. 70% stainless steel and 30% oak with partial malo-lactic fermentation. A beautifully crafted blended wine. 60 months on lees adds huge complexity, which is difficult to find at this price point. Pepper and herb overtones with candied fruit and minerals. A low dosage of 6g/L is in perfect balance, leaving the palate fresh and crisp.
Champagne André Heucq Héritage Millésime 2012
50% Chardonnay, 20% meunier and 30% pinot. Dosage is Extra Brut of 4g/L. From two limestone and Illite clay vineyard parcels in Cuisles. 50% stainless steel and 50% oak with partial malo-lactic fermentation. Aromas of dried flowers and cashews,carrying on to a creamy long palate with minerals and toast overtones. A beautiful example of Cuisles terroir from a great vintage. Only just released and very limited.
Champagne André Heucq Héritage Rosé de Meunier – Phase 1
100% 2014 meunier from a single vineyard parcel in Cuisles – le Bout de la Ville. Dosage is Extra Brut at 6g/L. This is a 24 hours maceration saignée. No malolactic fermentation. A perfumed vinous style with huge minerality and savory overtones. This also was one of the spectacular cuvées which encouraged me to revisit the Heucq range of Champagnes. There are no reserve wines in the blend, so this is vintage 2014.
Champagne André Heucq Héritage Rosé de Meunier – Phase 2
30% Chardonnay, 70% meunier from single vineyard parcel in Cuisles all from 2014 harvest. Dosage Extra Brut 6g/L with no malolactic fermentation. From the same terroir as the Phase 1 – but an assemblage method rosé with the added red wine meunier in the blend. Less vinous but maybe more subtle and delicate than the Phase 1. Both are beautifully crafted rosés. There are no reserve wines in the blend so this is vintage 2014.
Champagne André Heucq Hommage Parcellaire La Sablonnière 2013 Pinot Noir
Champagne André Heucq Hommage Parcellaire Les Roches 2013 Meunier
Champagne André Heucq Hommage Parcellaire Les Vignes Blanches 2013 Chardonnay
These three limited release Champagnes are all single vineyard parcels, fermented and aged in 100% oak with no malo-lactic fermentation all dosaged as Extra Brut of 0gm/litre. Only 700 bottles of each were produced. These are precise expressions of the grape variety and their Illite clay terroirs. The Pinot Noir from limestone and clay in Olizy, the Chardonnay from limestone and clay in Cuisles, and the Meunier from clay in Jonquery. These give one an insight into the terroir of the region and the sensational quality that we can expect. All three wines are precise examples of their grape variety. Minerality, precision, energy and tension. Only available as a pack of 3 bottles, 1 bottle of each.
An "H" written with a brush highlights the manual and artisanal work on our farm. By evoking a "4", we refer to the four elements (earth, fire, water and air). "Nature" and "Terroir" frame a moon and affirm what animates us on a daily basis: to be closer to our terroir while respecting nature. The moon marks our attention to the lunar calendar for our work in the vineyard as in the winery.