APRIL 2020 / GROWER CHAMPAGNE CLUB
FRANKLY MEUNIER, I DON’T GIVE A DRAM
Vincent Charlot / “Le Fruit de ma Passion” / Extra Brut
Pinot Meunier + Pinot Noir + Chardonnay
Mardeuil, Vallee de la Marne, Champagne, France 2014
Vincent Charlot is that fanatic brand of artisan-vigneron we just love discovering- and drinking. He farms just under 10 acres west of Epernay, and he literally sweats the details, doing all of his farming and winemaking by hand. He took over his family’s petite domaine in 2001 and converted to biodynamic farming, including using some homemade “homeopathic” practices, and he even gave up the plow. Charlot’s message is all about soil, and he believes that healthy living soil requires “no till” and a cover crop to directly transmit terroir to the vines. His 33 micro-parcels are all various mixes of chalk, clay and silex, and he vinifies everything separately in barrels, divvying up the lots by their soil and even their rootstocks; that’s a little wine in a lot of barrels. Charlot’s fervent curating and cultivating in his vineyards and in the cellar results in just 2500 cases annually. “The fruit of my passion,” cuvée (while it may be the corniest name ever) is a transparent testament to his love of the soil and the earthcrust crunchiness of the mighty Meunier.
Copper wire in color and effusively bubbly, the red fruit just crackles out of this glass. Meunier tosses on the cooking spice over loads and loads of ruby red grapefruit, crispy red delicious apple and even caraway seed, almost to the point of rye whiskey. Fresh and a little flirty, this is a showy fruit of passion.
55% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay from Vallée de la Marne from just 2.7 acres/ 1.1 ha. Dosage: 4.5 g/L. Indigenous yeast fermentation; no malolactic.
Pinot Noir + Pinot Meunier
Reims, Champagne, France NV
Guillaume definitely qualifies as one of the smallest micro-producers in Champagne’s vast sea. He farms his family’s tiny estate of 4 acres just west of Reims, but when he started making his own wine in 2008, he pulled from a meager 1.25 acres for himself. He’s a trained enologist and a 4th generation farmer with a geology degree and a sparkle in his eye for great rocks… in this case, fossilized seashells in sandy chalk. Guillaume is dedicated to organic farming (with some biodynamic sprinkled in) and he ploughs his fields by horse, of course. The two different Pinot pieces of the Chemin des Chappes are premier cru neighbors in Vrigny: Les Grands Chemins, planted in 1972, and Les Chappes planted in 1982. With total production on the Blanc de Noirs at just about 1,000 bottles, this wine is as rare as it is out-of-this-world.
This is a lively conversation between the Pinots, a back and forth of tart red raspberry and bright pomegranate with mouthwatering acidity and seaspray. River stone and petrichor percolate on the nose, and salted celery and underripe strawberries show the nerve and precision that blanc de noirs so rarely achieve.
50% Pinot Noir + 50% Pinot Meunier from just a 1.25 acre parcel in Vrigny. Dosage 1 g/L