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Originally this cuvee has been a private reserve for the Dampierre family and released only in the best vintages. It always comes closed with a hemp thread of French origin. The Chardonnay grapes for this superb champagne come from Oger (50%), from Mesnil-sur-Oger (40%) and Cramant (10%). Family Reserve is a grand cru champagne and a “blanc de blancs”.
Traditional style tying: noblesse oblige
This craft-man’s work dates back to the XVIIIth century. Traditional tying symbolizes French luxury and sets off the elite vintages: Family Reserve and Cuvée Prestige.
A twine seal rather than a metal hood!
When de Dampierre ancestors started to sell their first bottles of great cuvees, they were sealing the corks onto the bottle by mean of a locally produced twine, made of hemp. This tradition had long ago become part of the Dampierre unique identity.
“Ficelage” is the ancestral method of tying the cork to the bottle with twine and is an ageold tradition that requires immense skill: concentration and finesse are essential in the art of tying as in many handicraft, time is here of the utmost importance.
Even an expert only completes 50 corks in an hour. The “ficeleur” ties intricate knots whilst the twine is still attached to the ball and then cuts both ends; this process is repeated twice, forming a cross on the top of the cork.
The 2005 vintage was a year of marked contrasts between seasons and regions. Following a fairly harsh winter, 2005 had a mild spring with relatively warm temperatures all year long. There was above average sunshine and a slight water deficit, as had been the case throughout the dry cycle of 2005/2004 and 2003. The heat and humidity in July produced larger grapes and bunches, rather unusually for the Champagne region, while the cooler weather in August, followed by a very sunny month of September, led to favourable ripening in spite of heavy parasite pressure. The harvest dates were “typical” of those of the decade: September 12th for Chardonnays and the following day for Pinots Noirs.