Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz – Crouttes-sur-Marne


6.5 ha of vines all now bio-dynamic. 3.5ha Pinot Meunier, 2ha Pinot Noir and 1ha Chardonnay across Crouttes-sur-Marne, Nanteuil-sur-Marne and Villiers-Saint-Denis – from south east facing vineyards. I first met Jérôme at a tasting in Chateau Pierry in 2014 and he only showed wines undergoing bio-dynamic conversion.  30 parcels spread across interesting terroirs. Amazing purity and complexity from vineyards way out west. Jérôme has received a huge amount of great press in the last few years and he is definitely the ‘new kid in town’.  His mother stopped selling grapes and started to produce her own Champagne.  After a number of years working selling industrial supplies, Jérôme returned to the family business and his first harvest was 2001. He met a number of Loire winemakers and was impressed by their work in organics and so decided to convert in 2009.  Bio-dynamic certification by Demeter happened in 2015.

No herbicides, no pesticides, no synthetic fertilisers, no chaptalisation, no synthetic sulfur. Vines on the extremities of his vineyards are of course affected by the viticultural practices of his neighbours. If herbicides and pesticides are used by his neighbours, Jerome picks these edge grapes separately and sells them to a big house. Natural sulfur is added at crush time only. To reduce the use of copper and sulphur in the vineyard, herbal teas and fermented plant extracts are used. Dosages are all between 0g and 4g per litre. Jérôme asserts the terroir imprint, and the wines show amazing finesse and purity, with ultra fine mousse. Oak integration is masterfully subtle. His wife Charlotte now works in the business on the marketing side.

Style: Since moving to bio-dynamic viticulture, Jérôme has added a layer of elegance and purity. Cuvées reflect their cepages, and the oak influence adds a masterful layer of complexity and elegance. Pinot Noir shows its red fruit qualities and Meunier shows its rounded smoky qualities.  Real depth and complexity are a hallmark of all the wines. The wines are different to those of Bedel in the same village – Jérôme’s being more mineral. And he is very good friends with Benoit Dehu in Fossoy. They share ideas, techniques and skills.

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée 3C   $96.00
Cuvée 3C, « 3 Cépages » is a blend of three grape varieties: 55 % Meunier, 17 % Chardonnay and 28 % Pinot Noir, with 35 % vinified in oak barrels. 60 % from 2014 and 40 % from 2013 harvest. Dosage: 2 g/l. This may be the entry level wine in the range but its complexity and subtle oak integration leaves me speechless. Minerality with smoky fruit Meunier all juxtaposed yet in perfect harmony. We get hints of rose petal, orange peel, grapefruit, pomegranate and  brioche all on the long palate. Crisp and fresh with vivacity, energy and length.

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée B     $125.00
Cuvée B « Blanc de Blancs » is a single-grape variety and single parcel cuvée. This wine is the expression of a single vineyard of 100% Chardonnay called “Le Temple” with an exceptional south easterly exposure and a soil from the middle Bartonien composed of calcareous marls. Harvest is 100% from 2014, 20 % from oak barrels. Dosage 0 g/l. This vineyard in Nanteuil-sur-Marne is the most westerly vineyard along the Marne. Subtle purity and minerality with hints of star fruit, citrus and spice. Huge length and amazing complexity. Different to Chardonnay from the Cotes des Blancs. More pure and less tropical. One of my standout favourite Champagnes of 2016. I was privileged to see this vineyard being harvested in 2015. It is steep, very steep with a perfect south east exposure.Coincidentally when taking the train from Epernay to Paris, you can get a glimpse of this vineyard before you go into a tunnel, and then – no more vineyards until the tiny demonstration plot in Paris at the top of the Champs Elysses.  VERY LIMITED

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée 3C Collection   $120.00
Cuvée 3C Collection, « 3 Cépages » is a blend of three grape varieties from only one harvest : 28 % Meunier, 37 % Chardonnay and 35 % Pinot Noir, 100 % vinified in oak barrels 100 % from 2012 harvest. Dosage 0 g/l. This ‘super 3C’ is blended from a stricter selection of base wines with a higher proportion of Chardonnay with longer lees aging and all oak vinified. Hugely complex with the oak perfectly integrated. I first tasted this during 2016 harvest. This came as a surprise to us all. Just as we were finishing our 2016 harvest visit, Jerome thrust this bottle into my hand.  Perfume and elegance, and reminds me of the best super grower prestige bio-dynamic cuvees. Vintage 2012 but not labelled as such.  All class.  The higher proportion of Chardonnay adds a lovely level of minerals and citrus. On the palate we see floral, rose petal overtones with a dash of smoke and lime zest. My other favourite 2016 Champagne. VERY LIMITED

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée N     $110.00

Cuvée N « Blanc de Noirs » is a blend of black grape varieties : 37% Meunier, 63% Pinot Noir, 45 % vinified in oak barrels. 2014 harvest. Dosage 0g/l. Pinot from “Les Biens Aimées” vineyard planted in the sixties in Nanteuil-sur-Marne and 63% Meunier from vineyards in Crouttes-sur-Marne. Beautifully structured with body and minerality. The N has classic red fruit body and muscle with the oak adding some precise minerality and spice. We recently tried an older 2011 base bottling of this wine. Still in perfect condition. Zippy and structured.

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée M     $125.00

Cuvée M « 100 % Meunier » is a blend of the best Meunier from the 2014 harvest. 35 % in oak barrels. Dosage 0 g/l. From a vineyard in Villiers-Saint-Denis planted in 1960 and from vineyards in Crouttes-sur-Marne with an average vine age of 40 years. All vineyards are planted on limestone-rich clay over limestone. Here we see a similar structure as the N, with some extra width and a hint of  fruit cake that I adore with Meunier. Classic. Meunier is no longer the poor cousin in the trilogy of grape varieties. With sensitive viticulture, and appropriate vineyard selection and yields, it can deliver breath-taking complexity, weight, minerality, acidity, finesse and elegance.

Champagne Bourgeois-Diaz Cuvée RS     $130.00
Cuvée RS « Rosé de Saignée » is a macerated rosé wine, 100 % Meunier all from harvest 2014, 75 % stainless steel tank, 25 % in oak. Dosage 0 g/l. Meunier from 2 vineyards in Crouttes-sur-Marne, one planted in 1960 and the other one in 1930 on silty clay over limestone. Smoky elegance, long and subtle. Red fruits and spice, a powerful maceration pink. Lovely with duck or pork. VERY LIMITED