Monoparcel Champagne

POSTED ON 16/06/2009

Narrow or Single-minded?

Anthony Rose introduces a tasting of
increasingly fashionable but still controversial and recherché
single-vineyard Champagnes, at which he was joined by
Essi Avellan MW and Michael Edwards

If the French belief in terroir is to be taken as gospel,
most Champagne should be considered not a vin de
terroir at all but a vin d’assemblage. The structure of the
Champagne vineyards, whose growers own 88 percent
of them, determines that the majority of négociant
and cooperative-produced Champagnes—Non-Vintage
especially—are the results of blending a multiplicity of
parcels across villages, districts, and subregions. Not
surprisingly, then, the concept of the single-vineyard
Champagne, with its implications for the significance of
terroir, is not one that’s universally embraced by the
Champenois, least of all by the marketing teams charged
with promotion of the brand.

Yet single-vineyard Champagne is a concept whose
time has come. Its currency has risen in stature, not to
mention value, since the 1990s, as much from the
Champagne growers’ terroir-based cri de coeur as from
a natural Champenois desire to expand the boundaries
of its accepted styles. Are Champagnes from a single
vineyard or village inherently superior to blends? It’s a
question that could more usefully be rephrased in terms
suggested by Michael Edwards: “Rather than seeking to
establish the superiority of blends or of single-village
[and single-vineyard] wines, we should be recognizing
more thoughtfully their respective strengths.”

In a region whose marginal climate and chalky
bedrock are the building blocks for sparkling wines,
the logic behind Champagne blending is based on the
producer’s need for consistency of house style. While
there is no question that with two thirds of shipments,
the financial muscle and critical mass of the best-known
global brands has given them a dominance in export
markets, the growing ability of the grower to add value
to the brand by making and marketing his or her own
Champagne has indubitably had a significant impact
on the credibility and growth of the single-vineyard
Champagne category.

As the market becomes more sophisticated and
willing to look upon Champagne as not just a drink of
celebration but a wine in its own right, an increasing
number of the region’s 15,000-odd growers has taken the
plunge into making wines from their own vineyards.
As Essi Avellan MW points out, “Grower Champagnes
are challenging the large houses with very different
marketing tools: hand-crafted wines with gôut de terroir.”
They may not have the global clout of Cristal or Dom
Pérignon, but the likes of Alain Robert, Pierre Péters,
Claude Cazals, and Anselme Selosse are among those
in the van of an expanding realm of Burgundy-style
connoisseurship based on individual domaines.

The phenomenon of the big houses making single vineyard
Champagnes began in 1935 with Philipponnat’s
Clos des Goisses, to be followed soon after by Cattier’s
2.2ha (5-acre) Clos du Moulin, purchased in 1951. The first
vintage of Krug’s Clos du Mesnil was 1979, followed by
a flurry of single-vineyard/-village Champagnes in the
1990s onward, with the likes of Leclerc-Briant Les
Authentiques, Billecart-Salmon’s Clos St-Hilaire, Diebolt-
Valois’s Fleur du Passion, Claude Cazal’s Clos Cazals,
Larmandier-Bernier’s Terre de Vertus, Egly-Ouriet’s Blanc
de Noirs Les Crayères Vieilles Vignes, Veuve Fourny’s Le
Clos Notre Dame, and Jean Milan’s Cuvée Terres de Noël
Brut. More recently, Taittinger launched its Les Folies de
la Marquetterie in 2006, and in 2008 the birth of Krug’s
expensive new blanc de noirs, Clos d’Ambonnay, was
announced to a fanfare of publicity.

Such single-vineyard (monoparcel) Champagnes
should be distinguished from single-village (monocru)
Champagnes, which tend to come from recognized
grand cru sites within the échelle des crus. This is
the classification of Champagne’s 34,500ha (85,250 acres)
of vineyards (32,700ha [80,800 acres] in production),
dating back to 1919, in which 319 villages were rated,
initially to establish grape prices, at between 80 and
100 percent. The first known vintage of Salon as a
monocru was 1911, and it has since maintained original
owner Eugène Aimé Salon’s tradition of buying the
best-known parcels in Le Mesnil to supplement his own
production. Whether from a desire to cash in on a
growing trend or an attempt to preempt, co-ops
and négociants such as Nicolas Feuillatte and Moët &
Chandon have embarked on monocru wines with mixed
success, Moët having recently ceased production of its
initially much-vaunted trio.

The single-vineyard category is based on three
principal groupings. The first is the traditional small
grower, whose wine is by definition single-vineyard
because production is from his or her own small parcel
of vines. Secondly, there is the grower who has specifically
set out to make his or her wine as a reflection of its
location. As Champagne specialist Richard Juhlin says,
“A lot of growers only have one plot. But it is not
interesting if it is just a plot. It takes a great terroir and
a good producer. They are able to reflect the serious side
of Champagne.” Finally there are the houses such as
Philipponnat, Jacquesson, Billecart-Salmon, and Krug,
whose single-vineyard wines are based on a combination
of a genuine belief in the superiority of location with a
desire for the ultimate in prestige. What marks the latter
two categories out in particular is that most such singlevineyard
Champagnes are prestige cuvées, in which the
significance of character, location, age of vine, length of
aging on lees, and limitation in quantity are stressed.

While villages such as Le Mesnil (not forgetting Oger,
Avize, and Cramant) account for the leading Chardonnaybased
single-vineyard Champagnes of Krug, Cazals,
and Robert, not all the great single-vineyard Champagnes
are necessarily from grand cru villages or, for that
matter, Chardonnay-based. Notable exceptions include
Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses (70 percent Pinot Noir;
99 percent premier cru), Billecart’s Clos St-Hilaire (100
percent Pinot Noir; 99 percent premier cru), and
Taittinger’s Les Folies de la Marquetterie (55 percent
Chardonnay; 90 percent premier cru), while Drappier’s
Pinot Noir-based Grande Sendrée for instance is way off
the grand cru beaten track in the Aube. At the same time,
not all single-vineyard Champagnes necessarily play the
luxury cuvée game. Those such as Larmandier-Bernier
and Egly-Ouriet—aimed more specifically at gastronomy,
for instance—can be relatively moderately priced.

If the Champagne houses have a certain inherent
difficulty in articulating the mystique of terroir, the
dictates of fashion and rebranding are helping them
overcome their scruples. Certainly at the high end there
doesn’t appear to be any conflict, since the association of
luxury with uniqueness and pedigree plays well with the
notion of terroir. Thanks to being able to fall back on
the general feelgood factor of brand Champagne,
vintage differences can also be made to become part
and parcel of the picture of authenticity. “For expert
consumers, relationship to place has value,” says Essi
Avellan, “because it made the wine a specific product of
its environment, representing potential for a unique
experience.” Production costs may be high, but so is
profitability. If it’s authentic, rare, and ultra-fashionable,
whether a product of terroir or not, at least the customer
has been given plenty of good reasons for forking out
for the privilege.

Flight 1: Côte des Blancs


Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus Blanc
de Blancs NV
Duval-Leroy Authentis Clos des Bouveries
Veuve Fourny & Fils Cuvée du Clos Notre
Dame 1999
Le Mesnil-sur-Oger
Pierre Péters Cuvée Spéciale (Les
Chétillons) 2000
Krug Clos du Mesnil 1998
Franck Bonville Belles Voyes NV
Jean Milan Les Terres de Noël 2002
Claude Cazals Clos Cazals 1998
Agrapart Vénus Brut Nature 2002
Corbon Avize Grand Cru Chardonnay
2000 (Les Maladreries du Nord)
Alain Thiénot La Vigne aux Gamins 1999
Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne de
Cramant 2004

ME: Quite illuminating… What is apparent
immediately is that Mesnil needs an awful
lot of time. The Vertus wines were very
attractive now, particularly the Veuve
Fourny. I thought that was a lovely wine.
EA: A really fascinating flight. I think I’m
going to enjoy and learn a lot from this
tasting! The Larmandier-Bernier was
perhaps the most disappointing of the
Vertus wines. It’s a true terroir wine in the
sense that it’s non-dosé and biodynamic. It
lacks charm and is very, very young but
great for friends of this purist, terroir
Champagne style. The Duval-Leroy was a
pleasant surprise, combining the elegant
Vertus terroir with the drinkability and
charm of the commercial house style, which
didn’t mask the terroir. I agree completely
with Michael that the Veuve-Fourny was a
really lovely wine.
ME: Yes...
EA: It was what you would expect from
these single-vineyard wines. Great
personality and typicity, not too polished—
AR: I thought the Mesnil wines slightly
overshadowed the Vertus wines, which is
perhaps only to be expected because they
are more structured and longer-lived. I
liked the Larmandier-Bernier, but I did find
it quite earthy and rustic. You could argue
that this is part of its terroir charm—it’s
part of the wine, I think. Not a great wine
but certainly interesting and certainly a
terroir wine. I found the Duval-Leroy a bit
tart. The combination of the high acidity
and aggressive spritz was a little bit
aggressive for my liking. I liked the balance
of the Veuve Fourny.
ME: So do I.
AR: The Mesnil wines showed their class
here. Pierre Péters was stylish and very
pungent, with an evolved nose, almost
white chocolate in aroma, a fine-textured
mousse that’s younger than the nose
suggests, fine, balancing, citrussy freshness,
excellent length of flavor, power, and
cleansing acidity—overall, a very stylish
and complete Champagne. Krug lived up to
its reputation: powerful and intense on the
nose, with oaky hints of toast and coffee,
while the spicy oak follows through on the
palate, which is rich yet fresh, intense,
mouth-filling, and savory. It is a stylish,
classic Champagne with superb vinosity
and backbone, so much so that it’s only
just starting to get into its stride but
should continue in this vein very nicely for
another decade.
ME: The Clos du Mesnil is very good, but it
is very backward and needs a lot of time. I
think it’s actually a triumph of winemaking
over terroir. It’s not the best site in Mesnil
by any means, but Krug are brilliant
winemakers. It has less terroir character
than the Péters, I think. I marked them
more or less the same, but they’re very
different wines.
EA: The Mesnil wines were as expected—
really classy and powerful. Cuvée Spéciale
was a pleasant surprise to me: clean,
mouth-fillingly rich, yet still with great
freshness. Perhaps recently disgorged.
Krug was also a happy surprise—happily
not much oak or oxidation impact. I agree
with you that it’s a made wine.
ME: In the best sense!
EA: Yes, absolutely. But it also had
good typicity of the vintage, an elegant
Champagne, a non-blockbuster Clos du
Mesnil like the 1996. A good set!
ME: I found the Franck Bonville wine quite
difficult to assess… There’s a lot there, but
there’s something lacking. For a start, the
dosage is a bit high. But it’s certainly a wine
of terroir—it’s quite chewy. It’s a very
individual wine, isn’t it? I can’t make up my
mind about it…
AR: I agree about the dosage, which is
slightly sweet and adds a slightly heavy,
doughnutty element, but it’s fresh on the
finish. On the nose it was odd: waxy like a
Hunter Semillon. Unusual and different, and
I wasn’t totally convinced by it.
ME: I think it would be improved by lower
EA: I didn’t find the dosage all that high. It’s
opening up nicely in the glass. Definitely a
terroir wine.
ME: I liked both the other Oger wines. Les
Terres de Noël is a little plot behind the
house, as these selected vineyards so often
are. It’s not on their best terroir, but it is a
very individual wine. The Milans talk about
a smell of Parmesan cheese, though I
don’t get it myself. There’s certainly a lot
of minerality there. It’s not overextracted
winemaking; it’s quite elegant. It’s made in
wood, but it’s not apparent. Clos Cazals is
also very good: beautifully balanced but
completely different. Oger is often rather
overshadowed by Mesnil, but in many ways
it’s just as fine, though different—it’s more
rounded and generous.
EA: All three of the Oger wines showed
their character very well. But it also showed
that having a good parcel is important,
because Clos Cazals was clearly the best
wine here. Better winemaking would take
away the rustic edge and turn it into a
fabulous wine.
AR: Clos Cazals was my favorite by at least
a mark. Superbly evolved, intense toast and
sourdough nose showing perfect evolution
and announcing itself ready for drinking,
which it is: a fine, stylish, mouth-filling,
full-flavored corn-chips Chardonnay, quite
vinous in body, and with excellent backbone
and stylish acidity, finishing elegantly dry.
Possibly it was flattered by being a bit
older than the other wines.
ME: Milan and Cazals probably have the
best sites in the village by far. With Avize,
terroir really comes into play. Agrapart is at
the lower end of the village, where there is
a lot of clay, so the wine had quite a lot of
punch. But he has a very light touch with
winemaking. Vénus is named after his
horse, incidentally! A successful wine but
not a great wine. Corbon is also down in
the bottom and makes wine for long aging.
The 2000 has lots of reserve and will keep
well. La Vigne aux Gamins is higher, on the
more chalky soils. Thiénot started off
with wood but abandoned it because it
masked the terroir. Larmandier-Bernier is a
great wine but much too young to drink.
Cramant has a reputation for feminine
and rather floral wine, but this vineyard is
very close to the Cuis border and is much
more structured.
AR: I found the Agrapart very pungent and
evolved on the nose for such a young
Champagne but more youthful on the
palate. Very Chardonnay, apparently oaked,
with vanilla and spice on the nose, too. The
palate is rich and dry and more youthful
than the nose suggests; a fine, rich,
honeycomb mousse, with good acidity, full
flavor, balance, and distinctive character.
Corbon I was less struck by. It starts a tad
shy on the nose, ditto on the palate, with
plenty of Chardonnay richness cut by
slightly aggressive, tart acidity, though the
wine improves on the palate with an
attractively rich mousse in a balanced style
overall, despite slight extremes of sweetness
and tang. I couldn’t work out the Alain
Thiénot at all… A little bit earthy and
peppery, almost Grüner Veltliner-like on
the nose. But I gave it a good mark for the
label on the bottle! I liked the Vieille Vigne
de Cramant. Quite Chardonnay/winey on
the palate, with greater appley vinosity
than Champagne mousse, but good
underlying fresh acidity and overall an
attractive drink that’s definitely making an
effort to show Côte des Blancs terroir.
EA: I liked the purity of the Agrapart
winemaking. A lovely if not truly fine wine
and a very good example of a pure grower
terroir wine. I liked the Corbon very much! I
loved the contrast of the acidity at the
back, refreshing with a lemony bite, and
that to me is what Avize should be: an iron
fist inside a velvet glove. I didn’t get Thiénot
at all, either, and even less after seeing the
label! A reductive nose that does not reveal
much fruit, and firm and tight on the palate,
lacking the pleasure factor and total
cleanliness. Very dry, earthy, and spicy. I
agree that the Vieille Vigne de Cramant
was better than the first Larmandier-
Bernier wine. But there’s a contradiction
between the ease of the nose and the
closed nature of the palate. Some 6–12months more in bottle or increased dosage
would help.

Flight 2: Vallée de la Marne

Leclerc-Briant Les Authentiques La
Ravinne NV
Dehours Lieu-Dit Brisefer 2002
Tarlant Cuvée La Vigne d’Antan 2000
(Les Sables)
Tarlant Cuvée La Vigne d’Or 1999 (Pierre
de Bellevue)
Tarlant Cuvée Louis Brut NV (Les
Leclerc-Briant Les Authentiques La
Croisette NV
Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie
Leclerc-Briant Les Authentiques Les
Chèvres Pierreuses NV
Leclerc-Briant Les Authentiques Les
Crayères NV
Jacquesson Corne Bautray 2000
Billecart-Salmon Clos St-Hilaire 1996
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses 1991

EA: Not so exciting, this flight… We have
moved to the Vallée de la Marne, so
obviously it’s a different style, and there
are fewer grand cru villages, which raises
the question about why make singlevineyard
wines in lesser villages? None of
the Leclerc-Briant wines was worth making,
in my opinion, though the Les Authentiques
La Ravinne was interesting as a 100 percent
Pinot Meunier. The La Croisette had a
slightly stewed fruit character, with lifted
volatile notes and a dusty, unpleasant
finish. My favorite was the Dehours Lieu-Dit
Brisefer—already deliciously toasty and
open, developing nose. The palate is more
restrained and lacks great intensity but is
still broad and charming with good length.
Very enjoyable and drinkable Champagne.
Quite tight on the palate, though. I had
some problems with the Tarlants, too. The
Vigne d’Antan was corked. The Cuvée La
Vigne d’Or was also 100 percent Pinot
Meunier, and it had more personality than
the Leclerc-Briant La Ravinne. The Cuvée
Louis Brut was a step up in quality, muscular
on the palate.
ME: The Leclerc-Briant La Ravinne was
interesting for being Pinot Meunier, but it
was pretty bog standard… There are much
better exponents of it, I think. I quite liked
the Dehours Brisefer—racy and persistently
flavored, it has everything. I’ve always liked
Cuvée Louis and it is certainly a step up,
quite subtly done. Middling results overall,
I agree...
AR: I found the Leclerc-Briant La Ravinne
pleasant enough, but there’s not much to
say about it. The La Croisette was positively
unpleasant, with some underlying aldehydic
notes, which follow through to the palate
where the sweetness of dosage and rather
strange flavors contribute to the overall
lack of balance. My favorite was the
Dehours because it had that crafted
winemaking character—quite a lot of lees
stirring, almost like a Puligny-Champagne.
Quite a lot of winemaking rather than
terroir, but I liked it. Of the Tarlants, the
Vigne d’Or was slightly oxidative, so my
favorite was the Cuvée Louis, a youthful
Champagne with good intensity of flavor.
Not a great Champagne but I’d happily
drink it.
ME: Tarlant is a classic example of not
having great vineyards from which to
produce wines… The vineyards face north!
AR: There’s that tartness on the Cuvée
ME: The Taittinger surprised and delighted
me. It’s actually got quite a taste of terroir
to it. Quite a beefy palate—goût anglais—
lots of flavor and character, delightful. Not
much to say about Leclerc-Briant, I’m
afraid… Very young tasting. The Jacquesson
is an unusual and interesting wine,
fermented in oak. Corne Bautray is not a
great vineyard—it’s high up the hill by the
woods, and it’s not on chalk, so it’s quite a
strong wine. It has quite a big presence but
with a delicate, saline finish that raised it a
bit. The Clos St-Hilaire is magnificent,
though in a certain old-fashioned, deepflavored
Pinot style. They have greatly
improved on the first vintage in 1995, which
was zero dosage, but this has about
4 grams. They’ve injected some tension
and finesse into the wine. A great
gastronomic wine, with years ahead of it.
It’s a big, full-on wine and very different to
their more delicate house style. The power
and substance of what is a real wine is
relieved by a burgeoning finesse and
tension as it ages—a tribute to its great
winemaker, François Domi. Extremely long
and complex: the end flavors persist for
90 seconds. Magnificent expression of
Pinot Noir. Clos des Goisses is a completely
different style but equally lovely. A better
vineyard than Clos St-Hilaire—south-facing,
lots of sun, with chalk soil. They’re right to
blend it with a little bit of Chardonnay,
which gives it some lift. Great wine.
EA: I’ve always been a big fan of Les
Folies de la Marquetterie. It’s my house
Champagne, and I think I’ve opened more
bottles of it than anybody else outside
Taittinger! Really lovely, with lots of
personality, and very different from any
other wine made by Taittinger. It’s vinified
in foudres and is consequently richer
and rounder. They love to play around with
this wine—it’s very much a made wine—
but the vineyard has a great story to tell. I
agree about the Jacquesson: a little bit
of old-oak aroma but otherwise nicely dry
and vinous and a good gastronomic
Champagne. I last tasted the Clos St-Hilaire
in October, I think, when it was a monster,
and it has evolved really nicely. I had a little
bit of trouble with the Clos des Goisses’
nose—it had a weird, cheesy-biscuit, yeasty
edge to it. But the structure was great. This
1991 shows the potential of Clos des Goisses
in lesser vintages, but it’s not a great Clos
des Goisses.
AR: I found the Taittinger very enjoyable, quite youthful on the palate, distinctive
character, with plenty of toasty richness in
evidence and a finely textured mousse,
making for a well-crafted example of its
kind, even if hard to place the terroir. I
didn’t go for either of the Leclerc-Briant
wines, I’m afraid… I liked the toastiness of
the Jacquesson very much, and it had
minerality and length. Billecart-Salmon was
my highest mark of the tasting so far—
beautifully evolved nose of toast, grilled
nuts, and honey. The palate is still incredibly
fresh and intense, with a lightness of
touch in the mousse that belies the intensity
of flavor and power of this stylish,
concentrated, vinous Champagne, showing
all the class and length of vintage and
terroir. The Clos des Goisses is still youthful
in appearance but quite evolved on the
nose, with a slight cheese-rind character
and yet a lovely, seductively pungent
sweet-pea aroma. Very fresh and elegant
on the palate, but for me just beginning to
show its age and evolution, so it needs to
be drunk now.
ME: I tasted the 1991 Clos des Goisses about
three months ago, and it didn’t have that
cheesy nose.
EA: Yes. Last time I tasted it, the aromas
were not this strange. Probably some bottle

Flight 3: Montagne de Reims and Côte
des Bar

Jérôme Prévost Brut Nature La Closerie
Les Béguines NV
Vilmart & Cie Cuvée Creation 1998
Cattier Clos du Moulin NV
Marie-Noëlle Ledru Cuvée de Goulté
Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Les Crayères
Drappier Grande Sendrée 2002

AR: La Closerie Les Béguines had a yeasty,
almost beery, horseradishy nose, following
through with quite a rustic, beery-yeasty
Pinot Meunier palate but nice fresh acidity,
so overall rather yeast-dominated for the
lager and Champagne lovers of this world.
The Vilmart was comparatively youthful for
its age, with stylish overall balance, showing
the benefit of lees aging with lots of
autolysis-derived flavors. The Cattier was
relatively unformed, pale in color, and quite
shy. A little bit elemental, but I did like that
style. I found the acidity of the Ledru Cuvée
de Goulté slightly eye-watering. It had
some kirsch-like undertones, and I couldn’t
quite work it out, but perhaps we should
give it the benefit of the doubt—I think
it might develop into something nice.
Egly-Ouriet had a powerful structure and
good fresh acidity, belying the rather
one-dimensional, goût anglais aromatic
character. Not a great wine, but I do like it.
The Drappier I liked very much, a really
good wine. Very well made, and it should
repay keeping for a good 5–10 years.
ME: When I first tasted Prévost some years
ago, I was very much of Anthony’s opinion
today. But I think the wine has changed for
the better. I quite like the nose, actually—it
reminds me of brioche in the oven. It’s a
very broad wine, not a wine of great finesse.
Very distinctive, with good use of oak. I can
see the quality of the Vilmart, but in what is
supposedly a tasting of Champagnes de
terroirs, this one is marked by very skilled
winemaking rather than a sense of place...
When Cattier is on form, it can be very
good. It’s academic, because most people
drink Champagne as soon as it’s open, but
I find that if you keep it in the glass for ten
minutes, it does change quite a lot. I was
intrigued by Ledru. It was very young, but
it could develop quite well. Like Anthony, I
would like to reserve judgment on this. I
was disappointed by the Egly-Ouriet… The
Drappier is lovely, with every quality you
could want in a Champagne.
EA: A fascinating bunch. I have not liked
Prévost in previous tastings, but this was
the best sample I’ve had. Much more wine
than Champagne, in which the bubbles are
merely incidental. Either you like it or hate
it. To me, it’s not Champagne.
ME: That’s a very common reaction.
EA: The Vilmart I liked. In previous tastings
and vintages, I have found it too oaky,
but here it was less obvious and more
creamy and buttery—a wine rather than a
Champagne. Long and intense, but the
manufacturing is masking terroir. The
Cattier was beautifully balanced through
blending of the two vintages. Clearly a
definitive terroir expression. Marie-Noëlle
Ledru was so young—why is a 2004 being
released so soon? I loved the fruitiness in
it. Egly-Ouriet was oxidized and really
pungent, but that’s not surprising after 62
months on the lees… The Drappier was not
hugely fine but had a lot of personality.
AR: There seem to be all sorts of reasons
for making single-vineyard Champagnes—
from the obviously terroir, to the obviously
commercial. But there is no real consistency
of thought.
EA: It’s usually a combination of reasons. It
was fascinating to taste the wines in this
order, and we could see different things
from the different parts of Champagne.
Some of the wines clearly do not deserve
their single-vineyard status, but when they
are good, they’re really wonderful.
ME: You have to keep a sense of proportion
with single-vineyard Champagnes and not
talk of them as though they were Musigny
or something. The great thing about
Champagne is the mousse, which does
change the character of the wine a lot.
EA: They open up the possibility to
Champagne lovers of knowing what is
Ambonnay and what is Avize, in contrast to
the perfected blending.
ME: They show the real diversity and choice
of Champagne, I think.
AR: Champagne is the most successful
appellation because it is a blended, nonterroir
appellation. So, to see growers
trying to make wines that reflect what the
French swear by as the criterion of how we
should be judging their wines is a great
thing. There is a mixture here of wines that
do conform to the terroir message and
others that are disappointing failures, but
overall there is a positive message that
there is something new and different that
they’re trying to do. And overall it’s a good
thing, as long as it is not turned into another
prestige cuvée category and consumers
are priced out of the market.
EA: I don’t agree with the concept of
single-vineyard wines being the top wines
or luxury cuvées. It’s senseless, even if
rarity costs. But that’s not the point. It’s
really for Champagne lovers.
ME: Yes, quite. And think of the price
range within this tasting… But that’s
Champagne, non? ·

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