New Discoveries in Champagne

New Discoveries in Champagne

The wine world never stops. There is always an emerging wine region or a new generation of winemakers taking over from the old guard… At Best of Wines we are always on top of the latest developments in the world of wine. We do everything we can to continue to surprise our customers with exciting, but above all, high-quality wines. Luckily, this is one of the nicest aspects of our job: constantly looking for hidden gems to add to our range. A task that we enjoy doing for you every day!

Today we would like to introduce you to four Champagne houses that we are extremely enthusiastic about and that we have recently added to our portfolio. Four extraordinary, young winemakers who approach the profession in a slightly different way than their parents' generation, who still worked their vineyards in the traditional way. We are talking about Clément Perseval, Emilien Feneuil and Aurelien Lurquin and Delphine Brulez (Louise Brison). Their way of working is marked by a great respect for nature and biodiversity. Clément, Emilien and Aurelien, also known as the “Three Musketeers of Champagne”, are also good friends. Delphine, who is in charge at Champagne Louise Brison, is one of the young winemakers from the “Fa'Bulleuses de Champagne” collective.

Although each of these talented young winemakers maintains their own style, we definitely see the similarities in the characters of their wines: we are talking about pure, flawless champagnes, dripping with craftsmanship. Four houses to keep a close eye on. While stocks last ...

Champagne Clement Perseval

Clément Perseval has been bottling champagnes under his own name for several years, separately from the range of his father Gérard. He has arranged some 1er cru vineyards by height, specific terroir and the various cépages.

Clément produces remarkable wines from his 3 hectares in Chamery, on the north side of La Montagne. The long fermentations and aging of his 'vins clairs' in old barrels ensure complex and vinous champagnes. Together with befriended winemakers (and practically neighbors) Aurelien Lurquin and Emilien Feneuil, you can safely call them the three musketeers of the Montagne de Reims. Certainly when it comes to advanced biodynamic viticulture, of which they are great advocates, and which contrasts sharply with the mostly traditional winemaking that is still widely used in Champagne.

The top of his vineyards, where the soil is thinnest and the vines are close to the chalk, is planted with chardonnay. These grapes are bottled as 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs. Further down the slope, the ground becomes more sandy and the two pinots (meunier and noir) join the chardonnay to form the holy trinity of Champagne. These grapes are bottled as Chamery 1er Cru. Below the sand is an area of clay that is perfect for pinot noir. This cuvée is bottled as 1er Cru Blanc de Noirs. Clement’s champagnes are incredibly pure and precise and benefit from decantation.

Champagne Emilien Feneuil

The young winegrower Emilien Feneuil, from the village of Sermiers in the Montagne de Reims, has been practicing organic farming and biodynamic vinification since 2006. Emilien Feneuil now has organic certification, but he goes much further than that and also makes his own biodynamic preparations and encourages as much biodiversity as possible. He previously sold all his grapes to Champagne Leclerc-Briant. Only in 2015 did Emilien Feneuil start making his own champagnes. 2015 is his ‘maiden vintage’. He owns 6 acres of vineyard around Sermiers, in the Montagne de Reims. There are mainly classic grapes in his vineyards; pinot meunier, chardonnay and pinot noir, but also an almost forgotten local grape in the Champagne region: petit meslier!

He made his first vintage, 2015, in the cellars of befriended winemakers Aurelien Lurquin and Clement Perseval. After the 2020 harvest, he purchased his own wine press.
He presses his grapes - very slowly - with an old-fashioned press, lets the must ferment spontaneously and lets the wines rest for about a year before they are bottled for the second fermentation in the bottle. With as little sulphite as possible and low doses, Feneuil makes unique, exciting and expressive champagnes. His champagnes benefit from decantation and we recommend serving them in large wine glasses to let the wine come to its fullest potential.

Champagne Aurélien Lurquin

Aurélien was an apprentice in Burgundy with Luc Pavelot in Pernand-Vergelesses between 2002 and 2005. He then moved to Maule, Chile, for a short period, where he worked with horses in the vineyard every day. After finally returning to his old nest in Champagne, Aurélien started the transition to an organic way of wine growing in 2007. He settled in the village of Chamery, in the Montagne de Reims. In the same year, he bought his beautiful classic Coquart wine press (which can press 2000 kg).

Where he previously sold his grapes to the organically certified Champagne house Leclerc-Briant, just like his buddy Emilien Feneuil, he made his first natural Champagnes from 2013. Emilien followed in 2015, with his own 'maiden vintage'.

After pressing in the Coquart, the juice flows by gravity to the old traditional cellar. The cuvées and the tailles are normally separate but can also be mixed (3/4 cuvée and 1/4 of the taille is common). Aurélien strives for unspoiled freshness in his wines.

The fermentations run quite slowly in his cellar. Aurélien is experimenting with adding must from the upcoming vintage to the base wine, bringing his maturation on lees for the base wines to even more than a full year. For his Côteaux Champenois, a still red wine, he now rests the wine in barrels for up to 3 years. No concessions are made on the quality of the wine on this domaine and the yields are therefore very low. William Kelley's first reviews (for Robert Parker) were full of praise. On his first visit to Lurquin, he immediately awarded 95 PP to the Blanc de Blancs.

Champagne Louise Brison

Champagne Louise Brison is located in the village of Noé-les-Mallets in the Côte des Bar, the southernmost part of the Champagne region. The Burgundy region starts only 7 kilometers away, so we are closer to Chablis than to Reims.

Louise Brison is headed by the ambitious young winemaker Delphine Brulez. She proudly continuates the family business founded by her grandmother Louise. Delphine works with great respect for nature and the terroir and does everything in her power to pass on strong, healthy vines to the next generation. Delphine has been working organically since 2012 and in 2020 she received official organic certification for her 124 acres of vineyards in the Côte des Bar. The soils in this part of the Champagne are much older than further up north and contain - just like the soils in Chablis - a lot of marl and clay.

Delphine uses only pinot noir (70% of the crop) and chardonnay (30% of the crop) for her champagnes. She intervenes as little as possible in the vineyard and lets nature run its course as much as she can in order to create the greatest possible biodiversity in the vineyard. If the soil is full of life, it can give the vines everything they need and they will be less prone to disease, according to Delphine's philosophy.

In the cellar, too, Delphine interferes with the natural process as little as possible. Each vineyard plot is vinified separately to let the terroir speak as clearly as possible. Vinification takes place in used barrels that are on average 8 years old. The low degree of oxidation provides additional complexity, layering and also ripening potential. So, no reserve wines are blended with it. All Louise Brison wines are vintage champagnes and therefore a unique representation of the harvest. In Champagne, by law every home must release at least 1 non-vintage champagne. Obviously, this does not fit in Delphine's philosophy and that is why she mentions the vintage in small print on the back label of her rosé champagne bottle.
In all Louise Brison champagnes, the dosage is particularly low.

Best of Wines offers 3 different champagnes from this producer:

• A blend of 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir
• Cuvée Tendresse: a blanc de blancs of 100% chardonnay
• Rosé champagne: made from 100% pinot noir from the oldest plot of the family, still planted by her grandfather.

Delphine maintains an extra long bottle maturation period before releasing her champagnes. Her blanc de blancs, for example, undergoes no less than 7 years of bottle aging before disgorging. Delphine's champagnes are characterized on the one hand by a beautiful minerality and freshness that can also be found in good Chablis and on the other hand a deep, complex layering that ensures that the champagnes of Louise Brison can continue to develop in the bottle for years to come. In addition to all recent vintages, we also offer some library vintages of Louise Brison Champagne, such as the vintages 1997 and 1999 to 2004 of the classic blend and of the blanc de blancs 'Cuvée Tendresse' the vintages 2001 and 2003.

 

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