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BY CHAMPAGNE DEVAUX & MICHEL CHAPOUTIER
The art of capturing the image of the vintage
The name: (from the classical Greek stenós, narrow, and opê, hole)
Small hole in a partition wall of a dark room, serving as a photographic lens. Very simple optical device used at the very beginning of photography to capture an image of reality.
The Genesis: Sometimes, two wine regions meet and they inspire one another. It all began with a meeting between Champagne and the Rhone Valley, around shared values of open-mindedness and respect for terroir. This encounter gave birth to a daring idea of creating a Champagne that is both rare and full of character: one that would portray the most trustworthy image of a single and unique year. This vision – capturing the very best portrait of a season – is the inspiration behind the name Sténopé.
The Approach: Always a vintage, Sténopé is the result of a precise and unique blend of black and white grapes: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two emblematic Champagne varieties.
The Cellar Master, Michel PARISOT carefully selects the grapes from his preferred vineyard plots. This same attention to detail is applied during the pressing of the grapes, and the vinification – most of which takes place in barrel, as well as during the delicate “prise de mousse” stage which is followed by a prolonged bottle ageing.
The Ambition: The challenge is, harvest upon harvest, to interpret a season, with all its unique characteristics that become apparent over time and, with one sip, to take each person on a journey of the senses, to the heart of that year.
What the heavens had in store for us…
Chaotic weather dominated this vintage.
Winter saw record cold temperatures, dropping to -23°C in December and staying cool and dry well into the Spring.
Temperatures did not rise until late June remaining warm until the unseasonable rain in August. But September brought salvation with a spell of fine weather ripening the grapes.
With careful selection and hard work in the winery we were able to make the most of a delicate year.
A demanding vintage…
After several years of consistency, here was a year of contrasts.
We were fortunate enough to see some of our finest terroirs spared the vagaries of frost. Along with hard work in the vineyard, this meant we have been able to make the most of this demanding vintage.
What have we found? A wine of elegance, precision and lift.
A wonderful surprise.
A very light, fine nose with aromas of toast, vanilla, lemon peel and freshly harvested pear.
A sensual taste, both fresh and unctuous, full-bodied, with aromas of praline, vanilla and ripened wheat.
An extended and slightly iodized finish, some notes of persimmon, freshly baked brioche and hints of dried fruits.
Sténopé 2010 truly results from a challenging year!