Tasting: Fruity, refreshing, elegant, expressive, very dry. Pairing: Savor on your own, with a party or buck tradition and drink with pizza.
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is the oldest form of Pinot. It is the red grape variety that is responsible for red Burgundy. Pinot noir general produces the best quality wine on calcareous soils and in relatively cool climates where this early-ripening vine will not rush towards maturity, losing aroma and acidity. Pinot noir is used significantly in Champagne where it is used as an ingredient in the production of sparkling wines. The grapes are pressed very gently and any remaining pigment from this red skinned grape, tends to dissipate as the yeast takes its course consuming sugars within the champagne making process.
Region: Champagne, France
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.
Vinification: This is a real-deal Champagne from Courteron, a village in the Aube department of Champagne, closer to Chablis than the city of Reims! Their methods are as Burgundian as their location. The assemblage of several Pinot Noir vines from different years results in a very expressive and intense Champagne. A pure Pinot Noir vinified according to the precepts of biodynamic agriculture composed of at least 25% of reserve wines that give to the final glass that typical and unmistakable domaine style. Fruity and delicate, this elegant and long-lasting Champagne is classic, smooth and quite rich in style. Mr. Fleury's obsession with quality shows through in the wine; it is the most exciting all-Pinot Noir blanc de noirs in our stock. The dosage is very low, one of the driest Champagnes we have, with a wonderful black-cherry-fruit quality that reminds us that it is all Pinot! It is long and refreshing and very well balanced. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer).
About the Winemaker: Champagne Fleury is a now famous, 4th generation biodynamic wine producer. Emile Fleury established the wine estate in 1895 after the crisis of the phylloxera.
Phylloxera are almost microscopic, pale yellow sap-sucking insects, related to aphids, that feed on the roots and leaves of grapevines. The resulting deformations on roots and secondary fungal infections can girdle roots, gradually cutting off the flow of nutrients and water to the vine. In the late 19th century the phylloxera epidemic destroyed most of the vineyards for wine grapes in Europe, most notably in France. Phylloxera was introduced to Europe when avid botanists in Victorian England collected specimens of American vines in the 1850s. Because phylloxera is native to North America, the native grape species are at least partially resistant. By contrast, the European wine grape Vitis vinifera is very susceptible to the insect. The epidemic devastated vineyards in Britain and then moved to the European mainland, destroying most of the European grape growing industry.
In 1905 he grafted Pinot Noir on his lands, which was ambitious (if not risky) considering hybridization of resistant vines was not possible at this point. and from that point forward, each generation made their contribution
In 1929 his son Robert was one of the first wine growers of the Côte des Bars to make Champagne with his harvest. In 1970, his grandson Jean-Pierre, 23, is invited by his father to help him at the domain. Follower of alternative medicine and nature conservation, the young man, loyal to his convictions, fights as soon as he arrives in the vineyard to stop the soil spoiling. His practices go far beyond reasoned viticulture used in the region. In 1989 he decides to leave a clean land for his six children … To succeed, he converts his entire vineyard, all 37+ acres, to biodynamic farming.
This was an impressive achievement in it's own right, but Jean-Pierre was a pioneer of this in the Champagne region, the very first.
Jean-Pierre nourishes the soil with natural compost as a fertilizer. And works the kimmeridgian soils, clay and limestone from the Côte des Bars, by aerating them and weeding them mechanically so that the roots of the plants plunge very deeply in the ground to extract the mineral salts, source of taste. Instead of chemical treatments, he uses natural teas, copper sulfates and rock dust for example. On the leaves, he sprays quartz silica to reinforce the photosynthesis and on the ground, preparations that favor the microbial life, in spring and in autumn, at specific cosmic moments determined by a planetary calendar. “This method, the Chairman confides, forces the wine grower to go every day in the vineyard, observe it, and smell the earth.” He now teaches this science of the living to young enthusiastic wine growers.
Innovative, Jean-Pierre Fleury, undoubtedly the prince of biodynamics, also remains much attached to tradition. At Fleury's, the Coquard press slowly turns to get the best expression of the ripe grape. The maturation of the reserve wines is done under wood in 60-hectoliter oak tuns to enrich them with vanilla flavors. All his vintage wines do not age in the cellar with a cap but with a cork and a metal clip from the bottle fermentation as the exchanges between the cork and the wine bring a great complexity.