Brothers Frédéric and Rodolphe look after 8 hectares of vines mainly in Hermonville. 4.5ha Meunier, 2ha Chardonnay and 1.5ha Pinot with average vineyard age of 50 years. The estate was founded by their great grand father in 1919 and traditionally sold all their grapes to the big houses, but in 2005 they decided to start there own business and were fully operational in 2007 when their father retired. They only keep the best 2 hectares for their F&R Miniere range of Champagnes. Frédéric (pictured above) spent some time with Anselme Selosse and no doubt this has had a profound impact on his philosophy towards champagne production. All the wines are fermented and aged in barrel with battonage, and malo-lactic fermentation is blocked for all the cuvées. About 70% of barrels are 5 years or older.
The brothers have some interesting terroirs to work with. The upper hills are covered in sandy-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. 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.
The brother’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 viticulture and 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 Minière viticulture is sustainable and environmentally friendly. Preserving biodiversity is paramount. The back labels are a joy! Everything is revealed!
Frédéric studied at the Lycee Avize and worked a number of stages at Selosse. It was this work with Selosse that reinforced his working methodology. The only vinification that could allow Frédéric to express old vine terroir intensity and personality was by using full oak vinification and maturation with the blocking of malo-lactic fermentation, followed by long term bottle aging.
Champagne Minière – Influence. LANDED $108.00
Blend of approximately equal portions Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay. Soils are sandy clay loam on limestone base. Dosage 4.5gm/litre. Based on majority 2018 with some 2017 reserve wines. The meunier component adds some complex aromatics and expands the flavor profile. Creamy and round with some smoky richness. Hints of yellow fruits, citrus and cocoa.
Champagne Minière – Blanc Absolu, LANDED $126.00
100% Chardonnay from a blend of two old vineyard parcels. Here we have sandy loam soils on limestone. Based on 2018 with some reserve wines. Dosage 3.5g/litre. Smoky oak and minerals with hints of citrus, tropical overtones, chalk and almonds. Pure, long, precise, elegant and very complex. The long palate finishes precise, with minerals and chalk. Luscious length and amazing fine grain complexity. Aged in oak for 8 months with battonage, with 40% of barrels being less than 4 years old. Very very limited.
Champagne Minière – Brut Zero. LANDED $120.00
Blend of 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Meunier, 34% Chardonnay. Based on 2017 with reserve wines. Here we see a subtle variation on the Influence cuvée with no dosage. The balance is perfect. Even with no dosage this wine has perfect balance and weight with the oak integration being perfect. The zero dosage appears to accentuate the floral white fruit aromas and salinity. It is interesting to compare the zero and the standard wine.
Champagne Minière – Influence Rose. LANDED $126.00
Blend of 28% Pinot Noir, 36% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay. Based on 2018 with reserve wines. 6% Pinot Noir as red wine addition. Dosage 4.5g/litre. From three separate vineyards. The 2018 component shows us the majestic power and complex ripeness of this vintage. Dried fruit and smoky strawberries, citrus and a fine saline spine gives us a food worthy style. The chardonnay component enhances the purity and linearity. Think crispy quail, seared tuna. The oak is subtle, yet adds a complex layer of acidity and spice.
Champagne Minière – Cuvee Symbiose 2013
50% Chardonnay from lieu dit les Moineaux and 50% Pinot Noir from lieu dit Les Voirmissa.Bottled in May 2014 with no malo. Dosage : 2.5 g/L. . Citrus, minerals, salinity and white fruits. Hugely complex with amazing length. The oak sits in perfect harmony and appears invisible. The acidity of 2013 is in perfect balance with the fruit intensity and maturity. Symbiose has received much press in the UK at some high profile trade tastings. Destined to be a classic. LIMITED