By champagnediscovery, Jun 29 2015 10:25AM
Terres et Vins de Champagne – Monday 20th April 2015
The venue for this tasting was the historic 10th century Palais du Tau in Reims, the Archbishop’s Palace and pre-coronation residence of Kings since 990. This association, in its 7th year comprises of twenty-two producers, from throughout the region and is certainly regarded as one of the most prestigious. As a result, it was extremely busy and there was more room in your average rugby scrum than around the producers tasting tables. The tasting books didn’t have any technical information so it was sometimes difficult to ascertain the full details of each and every wine.
We know and adore wines from three of the Terres et Vins producers: Francis Boulard, Laherte Frères and Benoît Lahaye, needless to say all of their cuvées were on song. Whilst we knew most of the remaining producers, we were less up to date with their champagnes so this was a good opportunity to get reacquainted and also sample some newer cuvées. Unfortunately there was little left from Alexandre Chartogne and Vincent Laval by the time we got to the front of the queue so we were unable to build a satisfactory knowledge of their wines. What we did get to taste was very good however.
Tricky choosing an outright favourite but we will plump for “La Matinale” 2003 by Champagne Tarlant, consisting of 45% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay and 27% Pinot Meunier from five plots, where the average age of the vines is 45 years. Alcoholic fermentation is spontaneous, malolatic fermentation is blocked and there is no dosage. Benoît chose the name "La Matinale" as 2003 was particularly difficult; requiring much morning work. From the April frosts to summer tasks in the vineyard and finally to harvest iteslf when picking only took place between 6am and 11am to ensure the freshest grapes, avoiding the hot sun. The result for all this endeavour is a beautifully rich, nutty, spicy and honeyed wine with dried fruits, and caramel.
Other wines that caught our attention were:
Cuvée Risléus 2002 from Champagne Hubert Paulet: Vinified in oak and consisting of 47% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Meunier and 20% Pinot Noir.
Quinte Essence from Champagne Franck Pascal: Consisting of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay.
L’Apôtre from Champagne David Lélapart: Consisting of 100% Chardonnay from a single plot of old vines aged in oak, extra-brut.
Le Mont Benoît 2011 from Emmanuel Brochet: 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay vinified in fûts.
AND Montgueux 2009 by Champagne Vincent Couche (not for sale?): 100% Chardonnay vinified in fûts without filtration.