The Young Master.

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When I arrived chez Bérèche for my appointment a week and a half ago, the winery was in a state of chaos. I found Raphaël wearing an apron and moving a mile a minute. He was racking the 2013 wines from barrel to stainless steel tank, and the winery floor was covered in plastic tubing and the occasional bucket of lees destined for the distillery. Outside, his brother, Vincent, rolled barrel after barrel out to the courtyard for cleaning and drying (we underestimate the amount of time winemakers spend cleaning). Clutching my notebook and scribbling as I chased Raphaël around the winery trying not to trip over tubes, I learned about the new négociant project he and his brother recently began. They tasted fifty wines, and found six they liked. Still in its infancy, the négociant project – Maison Bérèche – represents an opportunity to experiment with terroirs outside of their native habitat of Le Craon de Ludes (ten minutes from Reims in the north of Champagne). Today we have one Maison Bérèche wine to offer, a gorgeous 2002 from Cramant in the Côte des Blanc; we hope to see more down the road.

There is no end to the energy and quality of Bérèche’s wines, which seem to improve with each successive vintage as the vines benefit from Raphaël’s efforts in the vineyards and cellar. Raphaël took over the Domaine in 2004, when he discontinued the use of herbicides, and began to move in the direction of natural viticulture. He also increased the proportion of oak used in the cellar, and started to work with cork rather than capsule for the second fermentation of his top wines; both techniques allow long and slow exposure to oxygen during élèvage. More and more the wines bear the personal stamp of this talented young winemaker. With malolactic fermentation systematically avoided and dosages kept low (save for the elegant Brut Reserve, with a modest seven grams of dosage), these are intense and full-flavored wines, ripe and expressive with firm structure, and  impressive acidity and minerality. From the lineup of wines Bérèche makes from his own fruit, we draw your attention to the stunning 2010 Rive Gauche bottling of old vine Pinot Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. We venture to say this is the best release of this fine and complex Meunier to date. Santé! –Sophie    

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Maison Bérêche 2002 Champagne Côte des Blancs "Côte"

This wine comes from Cramant in the Côte des Blancs, and it's an excellent expression of toasty (and tasty) Chardonnay with some aging on lees in the bottle, and recently disgorged. From a superb, warm vintage in Champagne, it's a ripe wine with lightly oxidative, nutty, and earthy notes on the nose, also lemon curd, and sweet cream. The wine finishes very well with great length on the palate. It's a wine to accompany a meal (we think roast chicken ... ) When we learned that the Bereche brothers tasted fifty wines to find the six they selected for their négociant progect, we knew the bottle would be fabulous and we were not disappointed! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
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  • $119.99

Bérêche, Raphael NV (2010 Base) Champagne Extra Brut Rive Gauche

From old and low-yielding vines planted on poor soil near the village of Mareuil-le-Port in the Vallée de la Marne comes this expressive and complex Pinot Meunier. The nose offers notes of spice, earth, and a hint of dried fruit. The palate is dense with fruit, acid, and mineral. Dosed at 3.5 grams, the wine is exquisitely balanced with very fine texture from maturing under cork for the second fermentation. It's a lightly oxidative Champagne that is nonetheless clear as a bell. We think this is Raphaël's best Rive Gauche yet! MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
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  • $65.99

Bérêche, Raphael NV Champagne Brut Réserve OLD

The much loved Bérêche Brut Reserve is back! The previous iteration sold out early in the 2014 holiday season and we are downright giddy to stock this newly arrived instant classic, a 2/3rds blend of the 2012 vintage (equal parts pinot noir, chardonnay, and meunier) and 1/3rd reserve wine (pinot noir dominated). Disgorged in October 2014 and immaculately balanced at 7 grams of dosage, this is a nod to an era of bygone elegance.

Golden in faded and burnished tones with amber-pinkish edges, one could be forgiven for buying 2 bottles: one to enjoy immediately and one to marvel at in a coupe or lyre-shaped decanter. Immediately upon uncorking, there are fleeting aromas of fresh raspberries and fresh mint, followed by cinnamon, butterscotch, hazelnut, and wheat biscuits. The palate is rich and balanced for days with hints of lemon/lime zest, raspberries, and chocolate that crescendo to a biscuity finale. As an aperitif it’s a showstopper and paired with food, one’s thoughts turn to roasted poultry or game and their drippings! David Salinas

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
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  • no discount
  • $43.99

Bérêche, Raphael 2006 Champagne 1er Cru Ludes Le Cran 1.5 L

Equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this wine comes from parcels close to the Bérèche family home in Ludes. The wine has a deep, dark, slightly oxidative character that is reminiscent of Chardonnay from the Jura. Dosed at 2 grams, it is quite dry but with an intense richness on the palate that complements the wine's rather stately overall profile. 2005 was a difficult year in Champagne and this bottle shows remarkable cut and complexity for the vintage. It is open and drinking well right now. MSB

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
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  • no discount
  • $229.99

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  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $99.99

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99