, variously described as eccentric, obsessed, charismatic and messianic,depending on one's point of view, is one of the most fascinating vignerons at work in Champagne today. His philosophy is rigidly biodynamic in the vineyard, conspicuously Burgundian in the winery, where all of his 35 Chardonnay plots (in Avize, Cramant, Oger, Le Mesnil, Ay, Mareuil-sur- Ay and Ambonnay
) are vinified separately in small Burundian barrels that have been bought in from Domaine Leflaive
, no less.
Eschewing malolactic fermentation and keeping the dosage low are practices which find empirical antithesis in the ripeness of fruit which has been farmed as late as possible. Man and wine alike court strong opinion, in itself no bad thing in a region dominated by the power of the ur-Grandes Marques.
The range includes:
Initial - a blend of three vintages of Chardonnay grapes, aged for at least 2 years before disgorgement in a Brut style. Version Originale is also a blend of three vintages of Chardonnay, but aged longer in bottle (42 months) before disgorgment and has very little dosage (Extra Brut) style.
Millésime - a single vintage Blanc de Blancs from the grapes of two vineyards in Avize, Le Mont de Cramant and Les Chantereines. Substance is a Blanc de Blancs from a single vineyard in Avize. This Champagne is made in a unique solera system with the base grapes for this wine coming from the 1987 vintage, the blend is topped up with more recent vintages each year.
Contraste is a Blanc de Noirs, made from Pinot Noir grapes, from a single vineyard (La Côte Faron in the village of Aÿ), also made in a solera style with the base grapes from the 1994 vintage. Exquise is a Demi-Sec Blanc de Blancs champagne, with around 24g/l of dosage.