At the centre of the Côte des Blancs you find La Maison Cazals. This winery was founded in 1897 by Ernest Cazals. The philosophy of this house has always been to attain the truest expression of terroir from the region where Chardonnay reigns.
The most unique feature is that Claude Cazals, grandson to founder Ernest, purchased an enclosed plot of land for his sons, right in the middle of Oger. The enclosure created a mesoclimate, imbuing the grapes – planted in 1957 – with a consistent and particular character. Only when vintage 1995 was released did the then and current owner Delphine manage to have this plot approved as one of the 21 official Clos in Champagne. The Clos spans 3.7 hectare (9.1 acres), making it one of the largest Clos' in Champagne. The planting is 100% Chardonnay.
Following the high quality of the grapes from this Clos, an additional small part was planted around the little chapel in 1981. As these vines are younger than those in the Clos, they are therefore released under a different label, the Chapelle du Clos.
In addition to their Clos in Oger, Cazals also holds vineyards in Mesnil-sur-Oger, Oger, Villeneuve, Vertus, and they use Pinot Noir from Verzenay for their Rosé and Coteaux Champenois. Summed up, Cazals holds a total of 9 hectares (22 acres) spread over four areas in Côte des Blancs.
Yet another interesting feat is that Claude Cazals, whose name is still used by the Champagne house, is the inventor of the Gyropalette system. This invention has automated the remuage (or riddling) of the champagnes. Remuage used to be done by hand; by continually moving and ‘twisting’ the bottles, the residual yeast cell are coaxed to sediment in the neck. The introduction of the Gyropalette, of which Cazals still holds the patent, has made the production of champagne a lot less laborious.
The Champagnes from Cazals show an excellent expression of the Chardonnay from Côte des Blancs. The region is characterised by a rich calcite vein relatively close to the surface. This causes the grapes to be greatly influenced by the calcareous soil, resulting in a very rounded and mineral champagne. The methods used at Maison Cazals, a slow fermentation at a low temperature, and a long maturation of their top-level champagne, make for rich, layered, and powerful champagnes that are an absolute pleasure to drink.Read more