Over the course of our time working with Pascal Agraprt, we came to realize very quickly how truly masterful his winemaking and farming practices are. He is an absolute game changer in the Champagne region and its producers like Pascal and Anselme Selosse that walked so new growers could run.
Pascal took over the Agrapart Domaine, which dates back to the late 19th century, in 1984. It’s a ten hectare estate that comprises more than 60 small parcels predominantly in the Grand Cru villages of Avize, Cramant, Oiry, and Oger. The changes Pascal has made at the Domaine include working more naturally in the vineyard and cellar; he works the soil manually and has ceased using chemicals in the vineyards, though he has a disdain for certifications because he feels people react dogmatically instead of with respect for nature. In the cellar, all base wines are fermented with native yeast, which is painfully uncommon in Champagne. These are all choices he made decades ago while Champagne was a sea of the opposite thoughts.
The wines are chiseled and impeccably balanced with lots of minerality, dense Chardonnay fruit on the palate that tapers into a long and extremely chalky finish. You can taste the focus in these wines, that come from a lifetime of dedication. The next generation is starting to carve their own story, and we couldn’t be more excited to follow along.
Brut Reserve 750ml
Hidden away in the southern reaches of Champagne in the small village of Landreville, is the elusive Cedric Bouchard of Champagne Roses de Jeanne. There are few wineries in the world that somehow defy a region while simultaneously defining it. Producers like Raveneau, Selosse, DRC, and Rayas come to mind. For me, Cedric is also in this camp, floating on an island above his appellation just slightly out of reach. It’s hard to comprehend.
Somehow I’ve visited four times within a year, tasting verticals, horizontals, impossible to get cuvées from impossible to get vintages. All of which made you learn so much while realizing you know nothing. Wines of emotion, living in their own world. All of the wine was transcendental. But one cuvée that stood out amongst the bunch was “No. 1”. A new wine that is void of transparency, unlike all of his other wines. There is zero information, whatsoever about anything. A wine you can approach without any preconceived notions of what to expect, to only be able to feel what the wine makes you feel in the glass is truly special, especially at this extreme quality level. I know I’ve said a lot, but I’m still speechless.
Blanc de Blanc 750ml
Fleur de Passion 750ml
Frederic Savart is an incredibly interesting person, if you can pin him down. It took quite a few visits to Champagne, a few mutual friends, and a roll of the dice to finally be able to hang out with him and get to know him.
He is the third generation and arguably thew top producer in Ecueil, in the Montagne de Reims. He has been a rising star over the last 18 years to become one of the “great growers” in it’s current state. Producing primarily Pinot Noir of incredible power and concentration. The majority of his wines are fermented and aged in old oak barrels. When you taste his wines from barrel you can’t help but thinking they are complete and incredible as is.
All of his vineyards are densely planted, tended to organically, but the attention to detail in his farming leaves each plot cared for completely differently based on their individual needs. To the point where it is visually obvious. Something you rarely see in Champagne.
Next allocation Fall of 2023
Cuvee 745 750ml
Larmandier-Bernier, the Vertus Legends, are absolute pioneers of the current grower movement, isolating parcels, and pushing the boundaries of Champagne. In this area in the early 90’s it was pretty much only Agrapart, Jacques Selosse and Larmandier Bernier questioning the past to forge a future that has me completely enamoured with the current state of the region. All three produce completely different wines, with a common goal of great farming, and forging their own paths.
Visiting Larmandier-Bernier quite a few times now, I’ve had the privilege of tasting their wines going back to the mid 90’s. It is absolutely incredible seeing how they’ve grown, and how electric and expressive their terroirs are. From top to bottom the wines are so wildly different and so so beautiful. These are an absolute must in every serious Champagne collection.
Next Allocation: Spring 2023
‘Grains de Celles’ Extra Brut NV 750ml
Lieu Dit ‘Champ Viole’ Chardonnay Extra Brut NV 750ml
Lieu Dit ‘La Loge’ Pinot Blanc Extra Brut NV 750ml
Lieu Dit ‘La Loge’ Pinot Blanc Extra Brut NV 1500ml
Lieu Dit ‘Bochot’ Pinot Meunier Extra Brut NV 1500ml
Lieu Dit ‘Beauregard’ Rose de Saignée Extra Brut NV 750ml Coteaux Champenois Chardonnay 750ml
Next allocation: Fall 2023
Grand Cru Tradition 750ml
Next allocation: Fall 2023
Champagne Suenen is one of the all time greats not only in the Cote des Blancs, but in Champagne in general. We started working with Suenen in the earlier days, similar to Ulysse Collin and have just seen the quality and the demand skyrocket beyond belief. It’s a bittersweet situation when you see your favourite producers rise to godlike status and become near impossible to find.
The focus and dedication of Aurelien is incredible. We have had many visits to the domaine, spending time getting to know him, his processes both in the vineyard and the cellars. Every time, there is always an incredibly unique and new take away. It’s always the highlight of the trip because you know you will be unraveling a wealth of knowledge you can only get visiting minds like this. These are the minds that have brought Champagne into the future.
Olivier Collin is one of the most distracted, and most singularly focused people I’ve ever met. He can be pulled in the direction of the beauty of the moment with seemingly no forward thought, while being able to clearly see the future. It’s magical tasting, and exploring the vineyards and winery with him. He reminds me of visionary chefs like Ferran Adria of the legendary El Bulli, where there is always a childlike sense of wonder and amazement found in the most mundane things. Seeing the world through this lens is the difference between being incredible, and transcendent.
My biggest takeaway from the last visit was touring the vineyard he calls “Le Jardin d’Ulysse Collin”, which is a small plot attached to his winery. That really put into perspective the terroir of Congy and the Val du Petit Morin. Walking only as far as the first row of vines you could see the soil was visually different from the rest of Champagne. There were big chunks of what looked like white chalk or light clay but broken open to reveal a near black interior. The juxtaposition was enough to stop you in your tracks and realize that you were standing on a field of flint that is unique to this specific area in Champagne. The resulting wine blew me away, and holds the title of being one of the best bottles of wines I had last year, and I had an incredible year! This winery is on top of the world.
In 1863 Giacinto Brovia founded the Brovia estate in the village of Castiglione Falletto, in the heart of the Barolo district. The family has been continually engaged in the growing of grapes and the production of wine since that time. The phylloxera plague, economic upheaval and two wars interrupted production for almost 30 years but, in 1953, two brothers, Giacinto and Raffaele, grandchildren of the founder, resumed full-scale wine production. Giacinto, a trained enologist, was responsible for the production of the wine while Raffaele, a trained agronomist, supervised the vineyard work. Sadly, Raffaele passed away in 2011, and Giacinto in 2014, but Giacinto’s daughter Elena and her husband Alex Sanchez are now completely engaged as the fourth generation in the affairs of this family-run estate.
The Brovias, from generation to generation, have been conscientious buyers of some of the finest vineyard sites in this noble zone, concentrating their efforts in their home village of Castiglione Falletto and the neighboring Serralunga d’Alba. Brovia owns land in a variety of the best “cru” of Piedmont such as Rocche, Villero and Garblét Sue, all in Castiglione Falletto, as well as Brea in Serralunga.
The Brovias are extremely conscientious winegrowers and farm organically in every sense of that word (without being formally certified). Pruning is done to limit harvest levels and harvest is done entirely by hand.
The Brovia wines are vinified in the classic style. Grapes are lightly crushed before going into the fermentation tanks. The length of the fermentation period depends on the grape variety but the Nebbiolo for various Barolo cuvées can extend as long as a month or more at temperatures between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius. The Baroli are aged for at least two years in 30 hectoliter barrels of Slavonian and French oak. The wines are then bottled without filtration and released to the market after an additional 18 to 24 months of bottle-aging. The cuvées of Dolcetto and Barbera are handled differently, with the Dolcetto being aged exclusively in stainless steel tanks and the Barbera in stainless with a portion of the Serralunga-based wine in smaller barrels (more detail is provided below)., with a portion going into French oak barrels for 9 – 10 months. The wines are bottled without filtration.
The Brovia estate encompasses 19.2 hectares with 55% of the production dedicated to Barolo, 25% in Dolcetto, 10% to Barbera and the remaining 10% produced from Arneis, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Freisa.