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Pascal Agrapart

Pascal Agrapart

VigneronPascal Agrapart
LocationAvize (Marne)
Size of Domaine12 ha
TerroirContinental climate with Oceanic influence. Clay-limestone soil on chalk bedrock. Various aspects, gentles slopes. 100-200m altitude.
ViticulturePracticing organic
View Pascal Agrapart wines ↓

The Agraparts have been renowned for the quality of their blanc de blancs champagnes for many generations and even when the world queues outside his door trying to get an allocation, Pascal continues to be modest, reserved and down to earth, a true farmer and man of the earth. No website here, certainly no social media, no mixed metaphors, complex allusions or word games. Logic and experience guide him – his own and that of his family before him. Taking over the domaine in 1985 Pascal has quietly progressed to the point where he is a true master of his profession.

‘‘The best treatments are sunshine, air and ploughing the vines. 75% of a wine’s quality comes from the roots. We have ploughed here for five generations and the vines are very deep-rooted’’
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They have 12ha of vineyards, and 50% of the vines are planted in the grand cru of Avize, where Selosse also has most of his vineyards. When asked about the vineyard practices he explains, "My model is the pyramid. If the foundation is not solid, then nothing else works. I viewed the practices of previous generations as the base. If I had used herbicides, if I had not worked the soils then I would have undermined the foundations". Pascal 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 comes 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."

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Pascal has gradually evolved his range of champagnes organising his pressings and tanks according to soil type, and as exemplified by his fine vintage ‘Minéral’ is not afraid to blend the wines from two villages together. His champagnes are enhanced by an extremely well-judged élevage – three of the five wines are aged in a mix of cuve and 5–10yo 600ltr demi-muids, Avizoise and Vénus are aged solely in demi-muids (and we also stock a small amount of ‘Complantée’ made from six different varieties 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.

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Pascal. Nick and Michael Sager digging the rares

There are not many growers whose champagnes are pretty well guaranteed to age well, but Agrapart is one (Nick tried a 2004 Avizoise in perfect condition in 2018), with the perfect élevage for each champagne, patience applied during the champagnes ageing, ideal deep cellar and controlled temperature for the secondary fermentation, and an understanding of disgorging, dosage and quality of corks that reflect a grower at the top of his game. The only problem with Agrapart champagnes is that the demand for them is so high worldwide that prices have increased and will almost certainly continue to do so – it doesn't help that Anselme Selosse advised Pascal to move his prices up towards his level!

Pascal Agrapart Wines

Pascal Agrapart

LES 7 CRUS
90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This comes from vines in seven villages, including the Grands Crus of Avize and Cramant. Blended from the 2015 and 2016 vintages and given over two years sur lattes, the dosage of 7g/l is well judged, helping to emphasize its driving fruitiness and minerality. It is a perfect example of how a good non-vintage balances character and authenticity with sheer, delicious drinkability.

Pascal Agrapart

TERROIRS
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

A blend of the 2014 and 2015 vintages, made exclusively from 25-40yo vines in the Grands Crus of Avize (50%), Cramant, Oger and Oiry. Fabulous colour with more depth than Les 7 Crus. It is a much finer, more structured champagne aged for 35 months sur lattes. There are buttery and fresh almond notes on the palate with hints of menthol and liquorice too. It has a 5g/l dosage.

Pascal Agrapart

COMPLANTÉE (2016)
25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir,15% Pinot Meunier, 15% Pinot Blanc,15% Petit Meslier, 15% Arbanne (12% alc.)

Pascal co-planted 0.25ha of vines in 2003 in the lieu-dit of Fosse à Bull in Avize, and one of his aims was to show that the terroir dominates the grape varieties. Made from the 2016 vintage and aged in demi-muids and then given almost a couple of years in bottle, it received a 5g/l dosage in Jan 2018. Slightly peppery on the nose, with citrus fruits and nuts on the palate, with a subtle chalkiness and gentle bitters that adds to the intrigue of a long finish. As of today, Pascal doesn’t think that tasting clearly indicates the specific character of any of the varieties, it’s all about terroir. VLQ.

Pascal Agrapart

MINÉRAL 2012
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Made from two different parcels, Le Champ Bouton in Avize and Les Bionnes in Cramant, where the vines are very close to the chalky subsoil, Minéral has a beautiful pale gold colour and is taut and reticent on the nose with a pronounced chalky minerality cosseting the fruit. On the palate it is slightly salty with a hint of iodine (and becomes truffley with ageing), racy and stylish with a poise and fruit reminiscent of grand cru Chablis. It has a 3g/l dosage.

Pascal Agrapart

AVIZOISE 2010
Avize Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

This outstanding champagne comes from 50yo vines in the lieux-dits of Les Robarts and La Voie d’Epernay on the Avize hillside, where there is a thin layer of clay over the chalk. The fermentation in bottle is carried out under cork rather than capsule, with a minimum of five years on the lees. There is a notable step up in quality with Avizoise which has a dense, rich style and complex flavours. On the nose you can smell mangoes and exotic fruits, which follow through on the palate, where ripe peaches show, with toasty, grilled notes (typical of a champagne aged under cork) and hint of truffle and mushroom too. Dosage of 5g/l. VLQ.

Pascal Agrapart

VÉNUS 2010
Avize Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

The vines used for Vénus are planted on a lower slope in Avize called la Fosse. The soil here is light and airy, not compacted at all since no machines are used in this vineyard, just worked by foot and horse (Vénus), close to the chalk for the upper two thirds and then clay over chalk at the bottom. Like the Avizoise, this has been aged under cork for five years. By comparison, it is a tauter, purer style, with a crystalline precision. On the nose there are brioche and truffle notes, tethered by a chalky, iodine mineral quality. It is finely hued and harmonious on the palate with a silky texture and long finish. Zero dosage. VLQ.

Pascal Agrapart

EXP. 14
Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Half of the cuvée Experience is the Cramant portion of Minéral, while the other half comes from the Avizoise cuvée, both of which are aged in demi-muids; for the second fermentation, the liqueur de tirage is unfermented grape juice from the 2015 harvest, so as Pascal says Expérience is made 100% from grapes, with natural yeasts for both the first and second fermentations, zero dosage and lower sulphur than his other champagnes. Pascal started experimenting with Expérience in 2002, and the first commercial release was 2007 – it’s very tricky to make and is not produced in every vintage. It’s juicy and grapey, with a delicate mousse, flavours of pear, citrus fruits and sweet herbs, attractive bitters and marked salinity on the finish.

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