Unusually for the Montagne de Reims, Chardonnay makes up 85% of the blend, and only a very partial malolactic fermentation is employed. The remaining 15% of the two Pinots comes from two Premier Cru villages in the Vallée de la Marne: Avenay Val d’Or and Monbré, where the family purchased vineyards in recent years. The Brut Réserve stays long on the lees and the overall result is a wine with structure, citrusy notes and a delightful freshness from the Chardonnay, but with a mealy richness from the two Pinots. Interestingly and unusually, a part of the reserve wine comes from a solera system, which dates back to 2000. This Chardonnay solera is also significant in the production of the Brut Nature: bone-dry but with a brilliantly soft, creamy texture and a slightly lower pressure of fizz. In addition we have a Rosé, still essentially a Chardonnay blend, with 12 % Pinot Noir juice added to the
Chardonnay before fermentation. We also buy a little of a third exceptional white wine Art de Vigne. This is a single vintage wine made almost every year from 60% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. The wine ferments in 350 litre barrels, again with no “malo” but with a little bâtonnage until December. Clearly this is a totally different, more oxidative style of Champagne, with gentle vanillin, creamy notes, but with abundant fruit and citrus notes too. The imminent new vintage will be 2007 (4/20).