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Intro: Aube

We came across the champagne of Jacques Lassaigne a few years ago now at Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. Lassaigne has just five hectares of chardonnay, in the isolated village of Montgueux to the west of Troyes. Here there is older strata of chalk than in the Côte des Blancs, and with south east facing vineyards, Lassaigne has no problem in attaining over 11% alcohol naturally for the first fermentation. There is a restless energy about Emmanuel – every year he pushes the bar a little higher, and makes life more difficult for himself, but the results are spectacular.
Bertrand Gautherot crafts exceptionally complex, thoughtful champagnes from five hectares near Bar-sur-Seine, nearer to Chablis than Reims. He has practiced bio-dynamic viticulture here since 1998, and with a couple of lovingly tended cows producing the essential for his compost, Bertrand lives in harmony with his terroirs. Viticulture is meticulous, yields are tiny, grapes are pressed by an old traditional wooden Coquard press, the wine isn’t pumped or fined and filtered, and all the wines are aged in new to eight year old barrels.

Cédric Bouchard has 2.50 hectares of 35yo vines in Celles-sur-Ource in the Aube. He determined to work along the Burgundy principle of one parcel, one cépage, one vintage and very low yields (averaging around 25hh when the average in the Champagne region is over100hh!), using natural yeasts, cuve ageing, low pressure (17g/l for his 2014 Val Vilaine) for the secondary fermentation and zero dosage. Now helped by his assistant Guillaume in the vines together with his wife Milly, Cédric’ champagnes are just sublime.

New to the list this year Emmanuel and Benedicte’s four hectare domaine Ruppert Leroy is one that we’ve followed closely for a number of years since they started off in 2010. They practice bio-dynamic viticulture in a selection of superb high altitude terroirs near Essoyes in the south of the Aube. All their champagnes reflect specific terroirs, are made from low yields of meticulously sorted grapes, vinified with natural yeasts, no fining or filtration, aged in older oak and disgorged with no dosage. From the 2013 vintage with which we start, they have also used no sulphur at any stage of the process. They are very pure, harmonious, well sculpted champagnes and as our allocation is tiny, I urge you to buy a bottle whilst available.

Organic & Bio-dynamic

See our list of organic and bio-dynamic growers.