Bérêche & Fils

Bérêche & Fils

VigneronRaphaël and Vincent Bérêche
LocationLudes (Marne)
Size of Domaine11 ha
TerroirContinental climate with Oceanic influence. Clay-limestone, sand, silt, marl, gravel on chalk bedrock. Various aspects, gentle slopes. 80-150m altitude.
ViticultureSustainable, soils are ploughed, no herbicide, insecticide or fungicide, organic fertilisation.
View Bérêche & Fils wines ↓

Bérêche has 11ha of old vines averaging 38yo in 21 parcels including three villages classed as premier cru and one as grand cru. The family now produces nine champagnes (including four single-vineyard champagnes) of which around two-thirds goes into their Brut Réserve. Their principal holdings are on the Montagne de Reims in the villages of Ludes, Chigny Les Roses and Trépail, and from Mareuil-le-Port and Festigny in the Vallée de la Marne (for essentially pinot meunier). There is a four-strong team at the helm, with sons Raphaël and Vincent, both in their thirties, working with their parents. Vincent is in charge of viticulture and aided by a team of eight people employed full-time the work is fastidious, restricting yields, working with no herbicides, ploughing both between the rows and vines and hand harvesting with a large team of pickers.

Vincent Bérêche

Work in the cellar is equally detailed and thoughtful with, for example, wines being aged in 350ltr barrels, the taille in 205lt barrels and reserve wines in 600ltr demi-muids for four months and then cuve. The malolactic fermentations have been blocked to help preserve finesse and ensure longevity. Increasingly Raphaël (who is in charge of vinifications) is ageing their champagnes for extended periods under oak, and all their top champagnes are now aged under cork (for additional complexity) as opposed to the more traditional capsule. As cork nuts, we have to compliment Raphaël for using such an incredible quality cork, selecting the highest grade called ‘Fleur’ but with an extra density and strength that ensure a much lower ‘chevillé’ (where the bottom of the cork turns in and there is a risk of a little oxygen ingression) incidence than the norm.

As well as letting nothing slip in the cave, Raphaël is one of the most passionate ambassadors for growers’ champagnes, a fervent believer that joining forces with other like-minded Champagne growers generates a more powerful message and much more interest. He is at the forefront of arranging many tastings around the world, such as the Terres et Vins group that he co-founded with Aurélien Laherte, La Fête du Champagne in New York, and was recently invited along as the guest grower to one of Spain’s most anticipated celebrations, Comando G’s Fiesta de la Floración. Raphaël’s effervescent personality and driving, relentless energy, and the brothers’ attention to the smallest details is producing stunning results.

10_Vine_Trail_Bereche_et_Fils_4_3 Raphaël Bérêche

In Oct 2013 Bérêche changed their status from RM to NM (Récoltant Manipulant - Négociant Manipulant), principally so that from the 2013 vintage they could buy 2ha of grapes from three trusted growers working along organic lines in Ludes, Mailly and Rilly for grapes that go into the Brut Réserve. At the same time, they decided to use their new status to launch a micro project designed to spotlight different 1er and Grand Cru terroirs and show the intricacies of terroir when given extended ageing in bottle. The ‘range’ (which changes every year) comprises tiny quantities (less than 10,000 bottles in total), under the Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche Crus Sélectionnés name. We would particularly draw your attention to an incredibly fine Avize 2005 Côte (bottle aged for 10.5 years!), and there are an Ambonnay Grand Cru and Aÿ Grand Cru in the pipeline for 2020. The bonus of producing more champagnes under both labels is that they have been able to re-invest, buy small parcels of vines such as the 0.40ha of Mailly Grand Cru, and help to bring even more depth to their already impressive range.

Raphaël Bérêche

Bérêche & Fils Wines

Bérêche & Fils

35% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir,35% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

Based on the 2016 vintage and with initial ageing in a mix of barrels and cuve, this champagne, which reflects all the terroirs of the domaine, has 35% reserve wine from the previous two vintages and a dosage of 6g/l (balanced by malos not taking place). It has superb balance, dense, clear-cut fruit, good texture and vinosity, with a touch of saline minerality. Per Galloni, “A model of finesse... it’s the wine’s exceptional balance and overall class that stand out most”.

Bérêche & Fils

100% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

4,205 bottles of this champagne are made from two lieux-dits of low-yielding 45yo vines planted in a mix of clay, sand and limestone soils on a north-facing slope in Mareuil-le-Port. Vinified in 350 and 600ltr barrels and aged for three years in bottle under cork, it already shows a subtle complexity, with soil-driven depths of aroma and citrusy acidity, buttressing the rich flavours of orchard and stone fruit. Dosage 3g/l. LQ.

Bérêche & Fils

Ludes 1er Cru
100% Chardonnay (12% alc.)

0.45ha of 50yo vines in the parcels of Beaux Regards and les Clos in Ludes 1er Cru, where the soil is a very fine-grained clay with limestone and flint, provide the source for this champagne. The racier, richer side of chardonnay comes through loud and clear in a wine built on density and creaminess. Lemon confit, apricot, wild flowers and spices are fused together in a deeply expressive champagne to enjoy over the next few years. The breadth and power of the Montagne de Reims give the wine much of its personality. Aged for three years sur latte under cork and disgorged in January 2019 with a 3g/l dosage. VLQ.

Bérêche & Fils

60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay,10% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

Raphaël vinified this exceptional quality rosé from old vines in the village of Ormes, with its delicate colour coming from the addition of 5% still Coteaux Champenois pinot noir. It was aged under cork for three years and disgorged in March last year with a dosage of 3g/l. It is fragrant and floral with succulent aromas of strawberry, raspberry and pomegranate, similar incisive flavours with a fresh, vital cut and saline minerality. VLQ.

Bérêche & Fils

LE CRAN 2011
Ludes 1er Cru
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

The brothers made this champagne from Les Hautes Plantes and St-Jean, two of the finest mid-slope parcels in Ludes, that were planted in 1969, one facing east and the other west. The soil is very chalky in both parcels here, and the grapes ripen fully but retain a naturally high acidity that is perfect for long ageing. Aged in recent 350ltr barrels and then given seven years bottle age under cork, it was disgorged in July 2018 with 3.5g/l dosage. It offers brioche, ripe citrus and honey notes with a depth and power behind that are quite out of the ordinary. In common with other Bérêche champagnes there is also a most attractive marrowy, protein note, a little touch of gras that acts as a beautiful counterpoint to the salinity and gentle bitters on the finish. VLQ.

Bérêche & Fils

30% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir,35% Pinot Meunier (12% alc.)

This is a very specialist champagne designed to show how complex reserve wines can become with age. Fermented in vats and fûts, in May 2014 the 2013 wine (from the domaine’s various terroirs) was introduced to a solera system (500 and 600ltr barrels) that was started in 1985 and two thirds was bottled off (then aged under cork for three years) leaving the balance to blend with the next wines into the solera. There is a crossover with wine from Jura here, the champagne offers incredible complexity with a note of umami, dried fruits, almonds, honey, and minerality. Disgorged in April 2018 with a 6g/l dosage. VLQ.

Bérêche & Fils

Grand Cru
100% Pinot Noir (12% alc.)

This is a new cuvée from Bérêche and their sole Grand Cru. It comes from a 0.40 ha plot of 60yo vines (from the lieu-dit Les Chalois) in a deep, dark brown soil made of clay and chalk. Fermented and aged in barrels, it was bottle aged for 4.5 years under cork before disgorging with 3.5g/l in October 2018. It’s a very harmonious champagne, with incisive red fruit flavours, floral and spicy notes with a hint of liquorice.

Bérèche Crus Sélectionnés

CÔTE 2005
Avize Grand Cru
100% Chardonnay (12.5% alc.)

From the superb 2005 vintage, this champagne was produced from prime mid-slope, old vines in Avize, was initially cuve aged for eight months, and then given 10.5 years (!!) of bottle age before disgorging with 4g/l dosage in December 2016. Restrained and elegant on the nose with floral hints, it has a silky fruit, with notes of fresh hazelnuts, is very pure and long on the finish. Excellent vfm for a wine of this pedigree. VLQ.

Previous Grower ← Pascal Agrapart