Here are a few words to sum up the beginning of the season: our vineyards need some sun.
In order to better understand what is every day guiding each of our gesture, we’re trying to describe our values : Larmandier-Bernier’s declaration of principles.
In order to keep on and share the rewarding experience of our group TRAIT-D-UNION, you can read an extract of the story from Jacky Rigaux. It is about the « Champagne from a place awakening »: how to move from the shout of the grape variety to the whisper of the terroir.
Enjoy your reading and have a nice summer!
Sum up of the beginning of the season
This year starts by a shift between warm days – very short – and cold days – very long!
The freeze of April has relatively spared us.
Some vines just nearly froze, others, including two vines in Cramant, are more seriously damaged.
The frost damages are more localized up the hill, strangely this is more like a winter frost instead of a spring frost.
The slow growing of the vines gave time to noctuid to make a feast of our tender baby buds. Yes, there is life in our vines…
In this early June, the vine is a week late compared to the average. The flower is expected around the 20th of June and the harvest for late September.
The north-east wind of Palm Sunday is supposed to bring us dry weather. So far, the adage is not verified!
We are waiting with eagerness this dry and sunny weather.
Declaration of principles
Grands crus and premiers crus in Champagne but not only…
Every vintage, we are trying to be closer to the pure expression of our terroirs. We’ve been farming with great care for 25 years now. This is a precious heritage of old vine stocks planted by our elders that we’re preserving from year to year.
Our methods are organic, biodynamic but not only…
At every stage, we’re searching for the balance of the plant and we’ve been learning to be patient to pick a fully ripe fruit.
In the cellar, every single act is inspired by our dedication to be true to the diversity of the land.
We are not imposing but simply placing our wines in the best conditions: we let them breathe in our barrels and our foudres chosen for their purity, then they mature slowly in our cellars dug out of the chalk. We’re giving them the time to grow towards the minerality drawn deep from our chalky soils.
The reward comes several years later, opening a bottle, letting the wine breathe again and enjoy this freshness, this frankness, this absence of façade of true wines.
The Champagne from a place awakening
Extract from the story of Jacky Rigaux about the TRAIT-D-UNION 2016 event (Free translating)
Fine wines and common wines
After the French Revolution, fine wines known to be those of aristocrats and religious elite, declined in the country to the benefit of « common wines » and industrial wines… The law about the Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in 1936 allowed the come back of fine wines after the terrible time of phylloxera.
The rising of the chemical vine growing and the rectifying oenology right after the second world war jeopardized this quality requirement and lead to a time of degradation of the concept of terroir. Everywhere in France and in the world the wines became more and more flavorless and had to be « fixed » by multiple oenological corrections….
The awakening of terroir
Hopefully, in the 80’s a movement of « terroir awakening » started in all the historical vineyards.
The incredible diversity of terroirs can then again delight the most demanding palates, with obviously an infinity of tastes inside each vineyards according to the exposures, the heights, the diversity of the substratums… Here the chalk dominates, there the clay or there again the sands.
The return to the understanding and the observation of a Nature with an enchantress diversity guides the spirit and the hand of the winegrower! And the interest for the place is guiding again amateurs’ palate eager to reconnect with sapid wines, with wines that are giving out the minerality of their birth place!
How to understand and rediscover this interest for the place identity and appreciate its expression in the glass?
The « géo-sensorielle » tasting method associates the awareness of the place to the art of tasting the wine born from this place. In all fine wines vineyards, from 12th century to French Revolution, this tasting method used to be mastered by the yesteryear gourmets in charge of checking the origins of the wines they were selling. This method was dropped and replaced by the sensory evaluation which is only focusing on its organic dimension.
In this way we are invited to give up the supremacy of the nose which is favoring the organic dimension of the wines to refocus on the touch of the mouth: consistency, suppleness, viscosity, vivacity, texture, length.
In the mouth, each place is generating an original texture, different from the place nearby!
By focusing on the touch of the mouth and on the mineral dimension of the wine which gave its sapidity, the taster is moving from the shout of the grape variety to the whisper of the terroir!
Organic and mineral dimensions of the wines
Mr. David Lefebvre explains the scientific bases which allow to distinguish the organic dimension of the wines from its mineral dimension.
Wine reveals first of all its organic dimension, enhanced eventually by chemical addition of interventionist oenology. Then the wine reveals its mineral dimension, on condition that the wines have been cultivated without chemical fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides or other fungicides… which keep the roots to grow deep in the soils to get, thanks to the germs around, the natural minerals!
Our chemical senses, smell and taste, are singular, deeply bound to our physiology, which makes that no one is exactly feeling the same things. However, our physical senses, hearing, sight and touch rally a consensus!
Sapidity and minerality are not expressing themselves by aroma but by the touch of the mouth they generate…
All the attendees thanks TRAIT-D-UNION winegrowers (Roger Coulon, Egly-Ouriet, Jacquesson, La Closerie, Larmandier-Bernier, Jacques Selosse) for giving them the opportunity to live such an experience: rebound with the aesthetics of the taste of the place!