By champagnediscovery, Aug 5 2015 07:12AM

Les Artisans du Champagne – Tuesday 21st April 2015

The venue for this tasting was the beautiful hotel, Domaine Les Crayères in Reims. In its 5th year, this association comprises sixteen producers. This was another busy Salon but the addition of a fantastic cheese and charcuterie lunch ensured sufficient quieter periods to allow tasters chance to visit all of the tables.

There were some excellent producers and wines available so picking some favourites once again proved very difficult!


Wow, this took some pondering but after much deliberation we finally chose “Trio S” by Domaine Dehours et Fils. A perpertual blend consisting of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir; vinified both in fûts and stainless steel vats starting in 1998 and bottled in 2008 with a dosage of 7gl. A wonderfully deep golden colour; ripe and complex. Lasting long in the mouth it is rich with pâtisserie, vanilla and spice.

Other wines that caught our attention were:

Lieu-Dit “Les Maisoncelle” 2006 from Domaine Dehours et Fils: 100% Pinot Noir (including a little Pinot Meunier stock) with a dosage of 5gl. The parcel faces north-east at Mareuil-le-Port with silty-clay soil.

Clos de l’Abbaye from Champagne Doyard: 100% Chardonnay from a ½ hectare plot ploughed by horse and vinified in fûts with a dosage of 2gl.

Sonate No. 9 Opus 10 from Champagne Fleury: 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir from 2010, single parcel “Val Prune” (the domaine’s first to be converted biodynamic), no dosage and without sulphites.

L’Audace from Champagne Pierre Gerbais: 100% old vines Pinot Noir, predominantly from single plot of clay/limestone soil, vinified in stainless-steel vats with malolatic fermentation, without dosage and no sulphites.

4 Elements Chardonnay 2010 from Huré Frères: 100% Chardonnay, vinified in oak with a dosage of 3gl.

Les Francs de Pied 2008 from Champagne Nicolas Maillart: 100% ungrafted, old vines Pinot Noir planted in 1973 on sandy soil, south facing lieu-dit. Vinified in oak with a long maturation process. No malolatic fermentation and a dosage of 3gl.

Les Chétillons 2009 from Champagne Pierre Péters: 100% Chardonnay from three old Le Mesnil-sur-Oger lieux-dits, dosage 4-5gl.

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, 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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