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Intro: Côte des Blancs

The Agrapart family have been renowned for the quality of their blanc de blancs for many generations (although the brilliant UK hurdler named after the great man is still stealing some of the limelight!). They have 9.75 hectares of vineyards, and 50% of the vines are planted in the grand cru of Avize, where Selosse also has most of his vineyards. Pascal Agrapart works according to the natural rhythms in the vineyard. ‘The best treatments are sunshine, air and ploughing the vines. 75% of a wine’s quality come from the roots.  We have ploughed here for five generations and the vines are very deep rooted.  In hot vintages our wines always do well because the vines can find water and nutrients deep below. When I see earth turned over after ploughing, gently steaming in the cool early morning air, I find that beautiful.’ His champagnes are enhanced by an extremely well judged élevage – three of the five wines are aged in a mix of cuve and 5-10 year old 600 ltr demi-muids, Avizoise and Vénus are aged solely in demi-muids (and we also stock a vlq of a new cuvée, ’Complantée’ made from six different varities planted in the same vineyard La Fosse as Vénus). Stylistically the champagnes are of a naturally expressive and vinous character – there is no mistaking their inimitable class, style and capacity to age. They are mid-weight, in between Larmandier. Bernier’s rigour and tension, and Selosse’s concentration, power and complexity.

Aurélien Suenen, a tip from Pascal Agrapart, is based in Cramant, and has a clutch of parcels there and in the grand cru villages of Chouilly and Oiry. In total he has just over 3 hectares. He took over the estate upon his father’s death in 2007, and although his first commercial releases were in autumn 2012, already he has gained an appreciative worldwide clientele and sales are by allocation only.  He has just released his first champagnes from specific terroirs in the 2013 vintage and there is a notable step up in quality. His wines have a most attractive vinosity and purity and we predict a very big future indeed.

Run by Olivier Collin, Ulysse Collin produces champagnes from approximately three hectares from his finest holdings in Vert-la-Gravelle near Vertus.  Olivier was inspired to become a vigneron after a stage with Anselme Selosse in 2001.  His first wine (now called Pierrières) was produced in 2004 from a single parcel of 1.2h of chardonnay.  The style of champagne here is at the richer end of the spectrum, not surprisingly given the Selosse influence, and is deeply vinous with a firmly pronounced chalkiness. A second cuvée, Les Roises, is made from 60 year old chardonnay vines from an excellent, tiny parcel of 0.60 hectare in Congy . We also stock a few cases of Olivier’s pinot noir Les Maillons (please enquire about both these cuvees).

Organic & Bio-dynamic

See our list of organic and bio-dynamic growers.