Aurélien Suenen

Aurélien Suenen

VigneronAurélien Suenen
LocationCramant (Marne)
Size of Domaine3.2 ha
TerroirContinental climate with Oceanic influence. Clay-limestone soil on chalk bedrock. Various aspects, gentles slopes. 100-200m altitude.
ViticultureCertified organic (Ecocert)
View Aurélien Suenen wines ↓

Although Aurélien Suenen is seen as one of the most promising young talents in Champagne, his first love was basketball. He used to be player as well as coach at semi-pro level and returned to the family’s domaine when his father fell ill in 2008. Dynamic and committed, he progressively learnt the ropes inspired by his illustrious neighbours Pascal Agrapart (who introduced us) and Anselme Selosse, regularly exchanging with them and embracing a similar philosophy.

The previous generations of Suenen acquired vines through the whole Marne region but, based in Cramant, Aurélien decided to focus on the Côte des Blancs and his clutch of parcels (3ha) scattered across the grand cru villages of Chouilly, Oiry and Cramant. The travel distances prevented him from working the northern plots (Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims) as diligently as he wanted so he sold them, with the exception of 0.2ha of ungrafted 60yo pinot meunier, a stunning terroir in the Vesle valley (Massif de Saint-Thierry).


Aurélien made his first wines in 2009 blending the different grapes and parcels, mostly in non-vintage bottlings, as per the family tradition. Moving towards a terroir-specific approach he produced the cuvées Oiry and C+C (Cramant + Chouilly), based at first on the 2013 harvest, and 2018/19 saw the official release of four single-vineyard millésimés: Cramant Les Robarts 2012, Chouilly Mont-Aigu 2013, Oiry La Cocluette 2013 and Montigny-sur-Vesle La Grande Vigne 2013. He works his vines tirelessly, assisted by one employee who’s been with the family for over 20 years. Willing to learn as much as possible about his different vineyards, he hired the services of Claude and Lydia Bourguignon (microbiologists and soil experts) to study and understand the specificities of his soils, so that he could work them accordingly, increase organic matter and help the rhizomes grow deep.

His thirst of knowledge extends to the cellar where he regularly experiments and takes risks. Sulphur is used at press only and malolactic may naturally occur, wild yeast fermentation and long ageing are done in a mixed of vessels (old pièces bourguignonnes, Stockinger barrels, oak foudres, cement eggs and enamel tanks), and extended ageing is allowed after bottling. He reduced the liqueur d’expédition from brut to extra-brut to allow the specificity of each parcel to shine through. And since dosage increases a champagne’s ageing potential, he adapts its level depending on release dates to market, with the second batch of the same cuvée slightly more ‘dosé’. The wines are textural and intensely mineral, they feel unforced with a real sense of purity and class. Their progress has been exponential and there is more to come, this is a very exciting time for Aurélien Suenen.

Cement eggs, Stockinger barrels, pièces bourguignonnes

Aurélien Suenen Wines

Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay (13% alc.)
(13% alc.)

Vines averaging 45yo planted in the chalky soils of Oiry (Grand Cru village). Vinified and aged in 'cuve inox' and 3-5yo barrels (with malos completed) this is based on 2019 with 45% reserve wines from 2013 to 2018. Given more than two years 'sur lattes' under cap, it has the purity and delicacy you would expect of fine blanc de blancs, a delicious expression of stone fruits and stewed Sicilian lemons with the limestone-dominant terroir impacting notable length and structure. Disgorged 03/23 - Dosage 4g/l.

Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay (13.5% alc.)
(13.5% alc.)

The second of Aurélien’s specific terroir NV champagnes comes from 40yo vines on north-west, west, and south-east facing hillsides in Cramant and Chouilly where the soils are deeper compared to Oiry with silty clay over chalk – this adds flesh to the wines. Based on the 2019 vintage with 50% of reserve wines from 2013 to 2018; it was bottled in summer 2020 for the second fermentation and ageing 'sur lattes'. This is a tightly wound champagne, with more pronounced structure and texture as well as a razor-like cut of acidity. Very attractive umami flavours on the finish. Disgorged 03/23 - Dosage 4g/l.

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

Suenen's vines, in the lieu-dit La Cocluette, were planted in 1925 on thin silty-clay soils over a Campanian limestone bedrock. Located towards the top of a gentle hill with 80% of the vines facing north and the other 20% facing south. Vinification and élevage take place in concrete eggs (55%) and demi-muids (45%), bottling occurred in summer 2017 before years of ageing 'sur lattes'. There’s a cool, intensely citric and 'aérien' feel running through the wine, a vertical backbone with pinpoint precision on the palate, and beautiful 'amers' driving the finish. Disgorged 06/22 - Dosage 2g/l.

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

Perched on a 'haut de coteau' at 168m, right on the border between Cramant and Avize – where the clay is richer and more compact than in Oiry – the vineyard sits on the ubiquitous chalky Campanian limestone. The vines are 40yo on average (planted from 1951 to 2005) and most of them face due south. Vinified in one 14hl foudre, the wine was then bottled in summer 2017 and spent almost 5 years resting on its lees before disgorgement. This is slightly larger and richer than the vertical Cocluette, with more breadth, a touch of 'gras', and a strong terroir imprint. Notable bitters and mineral salts are prominent on the finish, with an umami-rich salivation, the sign of an outstanding terroir (and a top vigneron!). Disgorged 06/22 - Dosage 3g/l.

Chouilly Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)
(12.5% alc.)

Le Mont-Aigu is a steep south-facing vineyard in Chouilly on poor chalky-white soils reflecting sunlight, a unique situation in this predominantly north-facing village that benefits from a warm micro-climate due to the proximity of the Marne river. Aurélien’s 0.25ha of 1978 vines are affected by cournoué (fan leaf disease), which doesn’t harm the vines but considerably reduces yields and emphasises further this site’s singular 'solaire' situation. Vinified and aged in one 600ltr demi-muid, it went through extensive ageing 'sur lattes' as per the other single vineyard bottlings. Exuberant and exotic, it’s rich on the attack with a touch of 'beurre noisette' and a nice pillowy mouthfeel, it has concentration and vibrancy at its core, balanced by racy acids and noble chalky bitters. Completely unique and a must-have for all champagne geeks out there. Disgorged 07/22 - Dosage 3g/l.

100% Pinot Meunier
100% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)
(12% alc.)

La Grande Vigne in the Vallée de La Vesle is a NW-facing 0.2ha plot of 60yo vines, a qualitative terroir in the Massif de Saint-Thierry where ungrafted pinot meunier grow on deep Thanetian sand – a type of soil often found in both the Marne and Vesle valleys and particularly well-suited to pinot meunier. Fermentation and 9 months ageing in one 500ltr pièce before bottling (neither fined nor filtered) for an extensive 'élevage sur lattes'. A round, subtle and vibrant mouthfeel with nuanced and complex aromatics, this is built around umami and salivating bitters with notable length of flavours on the finish – another stunning wine from Aurélien. Disgorged 01/21 - Dosage 1g/l.

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