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This Champagne comes from a rare, ungrafted vineyard of Pinot Meunier. Phylloxera has never touched this sandy parcel, and we passionately continue to preserve these vines. The limestone content is lower in this vineyard than in the surrounding ones, with only the primary root of the vine descending deep into the calcareous bedrock. This wine provokes strong emotions. Once the proper tasting temperature is reached and the wine sufficiently aerated (varying according to the vintage), it offers a wide range of flavors and aromas that reflect the history and origin of our terroir.
- Blend : 100% Pinot Meunier from ungrafted vines
- Dosage : No added sugar
- Vinification : Oak barrels (3 to 9 years old), natural yeasts, no filtration
- Vine age : 60 years old/li>
- Vintages : 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
- Soils : Thanetian sands, with a deep root system extending over two meters (over 6.5 feet)
Sometimes it is good to turn from the glamour of big champagne houses to the more earth-bound approach of a pragmatic peasant. Chartogne-Taillet in Merfy, which is located in the northern part of Montagne de Reims, is a paradigm of an enthusiastic and innovative farmer-producer. Working side by side with his father Philippe and mother Elisabeth, Alexandre Chartogne acquired his knowledge from the legendary Avize-based Anselme Selosse, and is open to new experiments and quality improvements. Talking with Alexandre, who is dedicated to cultivation and production, takes one deep into the mysteries of champagne production.
Most of the vineyards of Montagne de Reims can these days be found south of the city of Reims. The northern vineyards have given way to the expanding city, and, in addition to the damage done by Phylloxera, war has also complicated cultivation in the area. The hills of Montagne de Reims have a strategic view straight to the city of Reims, and this has turned them into battle fields more than once; the planted area in Merfy has decreased from 105 hectares to 45 as a result.
Despite its small size and rather unknown status, the south facing plots of Merfy are able to produce exceedingly interesting wines. Alexandre Chartogne characterises their style as stronger and richer in nuances than those of the wines of southern Montagne, but not quite as fruity.
Organic cultivation and the concentrated yield of old vines are key elements to the rich and strong style of Chartogne-Taillet. Their whole repertoire, from the non-vintage standard Sainte-Anne champagne to the prestige cuvée Fiacre, is first-rate, as is their rosé champagne. The most impressive experiences, I have to say, have been derived from the new Les Barres single-vineyard champagne.
A cold winter and springtime frosts laid the foundations for this vintage of abundant yields (12,997 kg/ha). Uneventful flowering was followed by exceptionally hot and sunny weather, which lasted until August. A dank August left producers fearful but fortunately warm, bright conditions in September redressed the balance. Harvest commenced on September 9th, producing grapes high in sugar level but notably low on acidity. The general health of the grapes was sufficient, producing wines which excel over the preceding 2005 vintage, another warm and ample year. The year's greatest wines are supple and expressive and despite the richness they escape being overly heavy. Overt and welcoming upon launch, the best come with excellent capacity for ageing. Winey, and richly fruity characters, most Champagnes regrettably miss some tension and finesse. Wines of the vintage include Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Krug Vintage and Dom Pérignon Rosé.