Pinot Noir Exploration
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 travel from just outside Reims all the way down to the Aube in order to capture the wonderful rich and opulent styles this noble grape is renowned for and showcase what it’s capable of with a selection of both non-vintage and vintage wines... and even a rosé!
Starting just south of Reims we visit the village of Les Mesneux and this incredible non vintage made from a perpetual reserve. You sense the terroir and fruit sitting brilliantly together – oyster shell, blackcurrants and a lovely, generous, juicy delivery – there is just so much going on!
Travelling a touch further south we find ourselves in ‘Brochet’ country and the village of Ecueil. 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. It’s not surprising that it took a medal at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Of course we couldn’t offer a Pinot Noir case without visiting the village of Bouzy and this is a truly stunning example of what a great winemaker can achieve from a challenging vintage. There is a lovely nose of cherries and buttered toast, a perfect front end with the appropriate acidity for the vintage and, as with all Didier’s wines, immense structure, finesse and length.
Heading out of the Montagne de Reims we enter the village of Cuchery in the Vallée de la Marne. This wine demonstrates the capabilities of Pinot Noir beyond its classic territory and offers a great 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.
Across the Marne river and through the Côte des Blancs we arrive at the village of Villenauxe la Grande in the Côte de Sezanne with a bit of a curveball – a pure Pinot Noir rosé! So juicy and what a beautiful colour. The palate is unbelievably sweet given the sugar level and there is a nice stalky texture. Black Jacks, Ribena and such a moreish mid-to-late. What’s not to like?
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.