Wines from Aurore Casanova

Aurore Casanova

In the picturesque village of Mardeuil, just west of Epernay, lies the champagne house Aurore Casanova. The winery is run by Aurore Casanova together with her husband Jean-Baptiste Robinet. They are part of a young generation of winemakers currently counted among the greatest talents within Champagne.

Aurore grew up in Paris. After finishing high school, she was trained as a dancer at the Conservatoire de Paris (the Paris Conservatory). Having completed these studies, she becomes an internationally celebrated ballerina. For seven years, Aurore dances all over the world and performs on major stages. In 2011, she says goodbye to the Zurich Opera House to return to France where she plans to take a year's break from ballet. That year, she decides to help her mother in the vineyards.

Aurore's mother planted vineyards in Montagne de Reims in 1968. Although the family lives in Paris, her mother regularly drives back and forth to look after her vines. Naturally, Aurore has been visiting her mother's vineyards regularly since she was young. One day, while pruning the vines, Aurore hears the birds singing and finds peace. This is where she realises that she needs to say goodbye to the tumultuous life as a ballerina and start focusing on a new life in harmony with nature. She begins to study viticulture and oenology at the Viti Campus in Avize. It is during this study that she meets her future husband and business partner Jean-Baptiste.

Like Aurore, Jean-Baptiste comes from a winemaking family, unlike her he did grow up in the Champagne region. He also follows a different path to that of his family and becomes a prosthesis maker. Although he develops a revolutionary foot prosthesis made of carbon, he realises that just working inside is not for him. He returns to the Champagne region. Jean-Baptiste also studies viticulture and oenology in Avize and starts working at the champagne house Fabrice Pouillon at the same time. This is when he meets Aurore and they begin to dream about creating their own Champagne domain.

In 2013, Aurore's mother starts talking to her children about her vineyards because she wants to retire. Aurore takes over her brothers' shares in July that year, becoming the owner of her mother's beautiful plots. Jean-Baptiste also begins to rent some family vineyards from his uncles at this time (which they expand further in 2018). Together, they search for a place to start making the wines themselves. They end up at a historic farmhouse in the village of Mardeuil and the champagne house Aurore Casanova was born. Their first vintage seeing the light of day in 2016.

They start the champagne house from the philosophy of respecting the environment and all forms of life. They are certified organic, follow biodynamic principles and therefore avoid chemical pesticides. Aurore Casanova's vineyards are a living ecosystem with lots of biodiversity. On beautiful days, they even take their chickens into the vineyards where they can then enjoy scavenging in search of caterpillars. They have planted willows to provide cooling in the vineyard. They also grow herbs in the garden that serve as nutrition and protection for the vines.

Aurore and Jean-Baptiste own Grand Cru vineyards in Puisieulx (Montagne de Reims) where mostly Pinot Noir is grown, but where some of the Chardonnay also comes from. They farm a vineyard in Champvoisy (Vallee de la Marne) where their Meunier grapes grow. Furthermore, they own 19 different Grand Cru Chardonnay plots in Mesnil sur Oger (Cote des Blancs) where some of these vines were planted as early as 1928 and 1929. Because of this old age, they still produce beautiful fruit. The wine from the old vines is aged in a separate wooden barrel every year and can be found, for example, in the 2018 Coteaux. Finally, they have another vineyard in Epernay. It took several years for them to fully understand this vineyard, so the grapes from that plot have only recently been used in their Champagnes. In total, they have 3.8 hectares of vineyard at their disposal from which they produce some 15,000 bottles of Champagne on an annual basis.

Aurore and Jean-Baptiste are wine fanatics through and through. With the same precision and craftsmanship as in their previous careers, they express the wonderful diversity that the Champagne terroir has to offer in their wines. They visit Santorini to learn how old vines react to very dry periods or travel to Canada to understand how winemakers cope with late frosts in spring. There is plenty of experimentation in the cellars in a constant search for great quality. One of their new projects is making their own Ratafia, which they hope to bring to market in the future. Ideas are exchanged with befriended winemakers such as Anselme Selosse, but always with authenticity in mind and not to follow someone else's recipes. Jérôme Prevost can also be found in their cellars with some regularity. Not surprisingly, their Grand Cru wines are aged in old wooden barrels from Selosse, Egly-Ouriet and Tarlant.

Aurore Casanova's vineuse Champagnes are one of a kind. Very pure, full of minerals, elegant and made with as little intervention as possible. The Grand Crus express even more the terroir of Puisieulx and Mesnil sur Oger with spontaneous natural fermentation and "Sur Lie" ageing accentuating this. These beautiful gastronomic Champagnes are meant to be shared with friends, make people happy and, above all, celebrate life.

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