Pinot Noir is the most widely planted grape variety in the whole of Champagne. It can be found in both the farthest northern reaches, 30 miles North of Reims, as well as the southern area bordering Chablis, known as the Aube. The main area for production though, is in the very heart of Champagne, the Montagne de Reims, home to legendary Grand Cru villages such as Bouzy, Verzy and Verzenay.
In this case we’ve traversed the region to capture the wonderful rich and opulent styles this noble grape is renowned for, and showcased what it’s capable of with four vintage and two non-vintage artisan cuvées.
We start our journey in the village of Ecueil, in the northwest of the region, just south of Reims. This blockbuster Pinot beautifully uses oak to link the juicy fruit with its complex and sweet mid palate. The structure is epic, yet it is the ease of delivery that is so mind-blowing. A delightful and expressive wine from the 2012 vintage.
We stay in the north for this incredible non vintage, which we totally fell in love with when we sampled it a few years ago. You sense the terroir and fruit sitting brilliantly together – oyster shell, blackcurrants and a lovely, generous, juicy delivery – there is so much going on! An incredible Pinot.
With this wine we head into Pinot country and the renowned village of Bouzy. It’s as classical as you can get, but the wine is anything but! And we have gone extra special with our selection of his cuvees too, the magical Les Hauts Clos. Made from a single vineyard sitting just above the famous Clos in the village, almost next to the forest. The wine is truly epic. Broad with immense structure, complexity and depth. This is the wine that will lift this very winemaker into the high echelons of Champagne making history. Taught, hugely complex, layered and, most importantly, delicious.
Heading further south into the Vallée de la Marne, this wine demonstrates what can be achieved beyond classic Pinot territory. A fantastic expression of the terroir, with notes of clay, honey and blackcurrant. It opens beautifully on the front end and connects brilliantly on the mid palate, creating this juicy, long finish. A pure 2013 that shows just how great Pinot Noir can be along the Marne.
With our 5th wine we head all the way to the Aube and the village of Avirey-Lingey. Juicy, luscious with an amazing toasty palate. You can't help but love the sugar and salinity on the finish. A stunning wine showing a more round, rich and opulent style of Pinot from the South.
With our final wine we head all the way back up North to the village of Villers aux Noeuds and the spectacular vineyard of Le Mont Benoit. This is Gaspard’s second release and with that a tighter more controlled expression of Pinot Noir. It still possesses a beautifully perfumed front end with loads of rich, smokey fruit, but it feels more tense and defined than its older sibling. Loads of Blackcurrant, dark cherry with a stunning saline texture. The mid palate is incredibly concentrated with a lovely smooth feel to it and links nicely to the sugar on the front end. Complex, deep and refined – a great way to round off this exceptional selection.