A true Champagne, full of finesse and complexity. Crisp acidity and notes of pear, citrus and flowers
The grapes were hand harvested, then pressed using a pneumatic press, followed by a long “débourbage” or settling period. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks using their “pied de cuve”, which is a technique used in natural winemaking to employ natural yeasts. A small batch of must is used to start a spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeasts, once this has been deemed successful, this “pied de cuve” is then added to the remaining must to start the fermentation process. Following fermentation, this cuvée underwent natural malolactic fermentation and was bottled the following April. The wine spent four years ageing on its lees in bottle.
Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot is a boutique, organic grower based in Vrigny, a Premier Cru village situated in Montagne de Reims. The Lelarge family has been making wine since 1789 and Champagne since 1930. Today the estate is headed up by seventh generation Dominique Lelarge, along with his wife Dominique Pugeot and their children. The wines are dominated by Pinot Meunier due to the north eastern orientation of the vineyard. They believe in letting the grapes thrive as naturally as possible in order to express the pure essence of terroir. Biodynamic principles are practised in the vineyard and they were certified organic in 2013. Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot follows a philosophy of minimal intervention in the winery and their handcrafted wines are poised, elegant and a true reflection of the Vrigny terroir.
Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot Extra Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs is made from 100% Chardonnay. The vineyard is spread over 42 distinct parcels in and around the Premier Cru village of Vrigny and is farmed according to organic and biodynamic methods. The vineyard comprises eight hectares and the vines grow over gently rolling hills at altitudes of 150 metres above sea level. The grapes for this cuvée come from a blend of five parcels from Vrigny Premier Cru, where the soils are sandy loam and calcareous marls. The Chardonnay vines are pruned according to the Chablis method. The vineyard is ploughed by horse during the year, to prevent soil compaction, allowing the top layers of soil access to oxygen and boosting the overall health of the soil, vines and grapes. Grasses and plants are used between the vine rows to impart valuable nutrients to the soil. Harvested by hand.
Chardonnay is another native grape to Burgundy (France) and is solely responsible for "White Burgundy" wines. Chardonnay mania reached a peak in the late 1980s during that time it's plantings totaled around 247,000 acres. By 2010 that acreage increase to almost 500,000 acres. Winemakers love Chardonnay for it's malleability. It will respond to a much wider range of winemaking techniques than other white grapes and has the ability to age in the bottle, even when picked early.
Champagne encompasses a mosaic of micro-vineyards, each one bringing together a unique combination of climate, soil and topography. Making the most of their diversity is Champagne’s 15,000-strong team of highly skilled winegrowers. Champagne has a history of vine-growing that dates back to the dawn of Christianity, and its vineyard boundaries have been defined by France’s appellation system (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or AOC) since 1927. But despite its world-famous wines, the terroir at the heart of this region remains little known. With its northern location, rugged climate, distinctive soil type and hillside vineyards, the Champagne terroir is the only one of its kind – as original as the wine it produces.
Champagne has two major distinguishing geographic features: northerly latitude and a dual climate that is subject to oceanic and continental influences. A northerly location means a cold climate and harsh weather conditions for the vines. The oceanic influence, brings steady rainfall, with no significant variations in seasonal temperatures. The continental influence, ensures ideal levels of sunlight in summer – but also brings often-devastating winter frosts. The undulating to moderately steep terrain in Champagne creates ideal vineyard sites, combining good drainage with optimum exposure to the sun.
Tasting: Floral, ripe pear, citrus, crisp acidity, elegant lingering finish
Pairing: Pizza party