Champagne Alexis, Gaspard Brochet, Famille Delouvin, Remy Lequeux-Mercier. Aside from being great winemakers, what else do they have in common? Believe it or not, each of these brands is but a small side project that plays second fiddle to a larger, established family estate.
In order, the above are linked to: Xavier Leconte, Vincent Brochet, Delouvin-Nowack and Champagne Lequeux-Mercier.
Pay a visit to Gaspard Brochet and you'll actually be visiting a small cellar within the estate of Champagne Vincent Brochet (above).
Why work in this way?
In the case of all the examples above, the traditional brand brings in steady revenue through a long-standing reputation, but the style is quite traditional and classic (think three grape blends, vinified in steel with a slightly higher dosage). However, many of the younger generation of growers aren’t content to only produce the same wine their parents made. Instead, they want to look at isolating plots, working with single varietals and experimenting with vinification techniques and ageing.
The result is small-batch but truly original and innovative wines. If you’ve sampled any of the producers mentioned above, I'm sure you’ll agree!
The reason I'm telling you this is because we think we might have discovered the next big and exciting side project...
Champagne Marx-Coutelas & Fils… and Domaine des Tuileries
Back in 2017, Bryan Marx took over the reins at his family’s estate, Champagne Marx-Coutelas & Fils in Venteuil, whilst his parents retired to the sunny South of France. However, it wasn’t long before Bryan wanted to try something new, so starting in 2018 he began creating cuvées under the brand Domaine des Tuileries. The initial wine, Clos du Château, was pure Chardonnay vinified in oak. The following year he segregated a further ~1.5ha of prime plots from his family’s 7ha holdings and produced three new single varietal wines – Empreintes, his Pinot Noir vinified in oak; Acacia, his pure Meunier aged in Acacia wood barrels; and Les Crayeres, a blend of the three grapes from their respective barrels.
This selection of wines were subsequently released at the 2022 Champagne Week in Reims. They were unlabelled and disgorged à la volée, but they made a big impression!
As with many of the best new grower Champagnes, Bryan manages to bring abundant rich, unctuous fruit but creates brilliant balance through his judicious use of oak, which make his wines wonderfully layered and complex.
As per the likes of Gaspard Brochet Lion Tome I, Domain Vincey La Premiere 2014 and Oudiette Les Gras d’Huile, to name but a few 1st releases we have brought on over the past 3 years, how many of us would go back in time and buy more of these sensational wines if we could?
Whilst we can’t offer you a time machine, we can provide you the chance not to repeat the mistakes of the past and grab these bottles before word gets out!