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.

By champagnediscovery, May 27 2015 06:34PM

Les Mains du Terroir – Sunday 19th April 2015

This association comprises 17 producers, some of whose wines we know quite well. It was a great opportunity to catch-up with Janisson-Baradon, Jean-Marc Sélèque, Lacourte-Godbillon and Aspasie; all of whom we had visited during the 2014 harvest. The new version 2008 “Toulette” from Janisson-Baradon was really good as was “Les Solistes” the 100% Pinot Meunier from Jean-Marc set to be released later in the year. “Les Chaillots”, a 2012 Vin Clair from Lacourte-Godbillon, a 100% Pinot Noir single plot wine aged in oak from the woods adjacent to the vineyard in Éceuil is an exciting prospect.

Each producer presented two Vins Clairs, three champagnes and a “Freestyle” entry which could be anything the producer wanted to bring. No doubt the “Freestyle” that really grabbed our attention were the recently disgorged 1959 and 1964 (disgorged 1970) 100% Pinot Meunier champagnes from Michel Loriot. The 1959 was intense, rich with chocolate, coffee, vanilla and crème anglaise. The ’64 was very similar but in a much more restrained form, almost like a Moccha and a Latte. Sadly, neither are available to buy, then again, we would hate to think what the price tag would be if they were!

An added bonus was a cheese and champagne pairing which went down very well indeed!


Other than those mentioned above, we have decided to opt for wines/producers we do not know quite so well.

With so many cracking wines, picking any was tough but we found “Les Sens Boisés” by Champagne Coessens to be really interesting and exciting. Consisting of 100% Pinot Noir from the 2009 harvest whereby both the first and second fermentation takes place in burgundy fûts. The Largillier lieu-dit terroir is akin to that of Chablis with fossilised oyster shells in the soil. This wine is rich and spicy with vanilla, pâtisserie, brioche and zesty fruit.

Other wines that caught our attention were:

Cuvée Prestige Diane Claire from Champagne Penet-Chardonnet:

Brut Nature comprising 67%Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay with 2002 harvest as base.

Monodie 2007 from Champagne Michel Loriot:

An extra brut of 6gl, old vines 100% Pinot Meunier planted in 1942.

Terre de Sables from Champagne Perseval-Farge: Effectively a perpetual blend 50% Pinot Meunier, 45% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir.

Umami 2009 from Champagne De Sousa:

100% old vines Chardonnay vinified in fûts with the vineyards ploughed by horse.

By champagnediscovery, Oct 24 2012 02:05PM

Welcome to our website. My wife and I are Champagne enthusiasts who love both the wine and the region. We have been touring the area for the last sixteen years, as often as our funds have allowed! We are not professionals but ordinary, working people who have simply become immersed in our passion.

For the last ten years or so, we have been focusing our attention on the hidden gems, the artisans of Champagne. Those smaller, quality conscious producers and grower-producers (domaines) who create excellent, seductive wines that are full of character.

Like many people we are becoming more interested in the provenance of our food and drink and champagne is no exception. It is now quite commonplace to find producers who work organically and biodynamically.

We are always on the look-out for the next new houses and cuvées to excite our senses. This website will hopefully share some of our experiences and arduous tasting expeditions!

Regular contributors to the Champagne-Ardenne forum on Tripadvisor, we can be found hiding behind the moniker: PsychoWarthog.

We hope you enjoy the site and will follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also contact us via the ‘Contacts’ tab on the homepage. We will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible and are happy to answer any questions or help with trip ideas.


Lee and Gita

"Don't wait for that special occasion to drink champagne. Create that special occasion by drinking champagne".

Welcome to Champagne Discovery

Champagne Discovery
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