Dominique Moreau prepares valerian flowers, according to biodynamic principles, to be added to the compost.

Great Aube Champagnes

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“Here we find people whose achievements will be snatched for the glory of others, whose sacrifices will be forgotten as detritus. The cleanest telling would draw one great person, in whom we could find a teachable narrative, an exemplar of what, should we give it our all, we could become. But those stories are myths.”   - Sam Shaw

 Champagne’s southernmost viticultural region, in the French department of the Aube, has typically, if not facilely, been presented as a region slighted, marginalized, and exploited by the more prestigious and powerful Champagne houses of the north. The truth, the full historical context, and the ultimate usefulness of this narrative are matters perhaps best settled among the Champenois. However, a few things are clear. The vineyards of the Aube are a historically important part of Champagne and they are one of its most dynamic corners.  These vineyards are cared for by an increasing number of good and worthy growers, who are succeeding in making memorable and distinct Champagnes, which should be celebrated, explored, and enjoyed for their own merits.

Two such growers are the husband and wife team of Roland Piollot of Champagne Piollot Père et Fils and Dominique Moreau of Champagne Marie-Courtin (pictured below).

 

Although their Champagnes are not always presented together, their organic and biodynamic vineyard work is often a collaborative effort.

Dominique add valerian flower prepartion to the compost prepared by Roland.

 

While teamwork abounds, Roland and Dominique have labored tirelessly to guide their respective estates. Champagne Marie-Courtin, named in honor of Dominique’s grandmother, began in 2005 with the specific goal of growing single-vineyard, single-vintage, dry Champagnes from biodynamically-farmed grapes. Today, Dominique tends 2.5 hectares of east/southeast facing, sloped vineyards, mostly planted with massale-selected Pinot Noir and a bit of Chardonnay in vineyards surrounding the village of Polisot.

The Resonance, Dominique’s leanest and raciest Pinot Noir cuvée is sourced from a single vineyard, rich in Kimmeridgian limestone. While a fuller, more exotic expression of Pinot Noir can be found in the Concordance, grown from the clay and Kimmeridgian limestone soils of a vineyard, located just outside of Polisot, and vinified in stainless steel tanks.

In contrast to the first two Blanc de Noirs, the Efflorescence hails from a more clay-heavy, lower-slope of the same vineyard as the Concordance and is vinified in aged barrels, which yields Dominique’s weightiest cuvée. Transitioning to Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay), the Éloquence is a fuller bodied Champagne that retains a fine minerality.

Finally, Dominique’s rosé de maceration, L'Indulgence, is a lithely beautiful Champagne. It is sourced from a 0.3-hectare plot of 50-year-old Pinot Noir, planted in sandy marl soils, laced with Kimmeridgian limestone. This is one of our most delicately elegant Champagnes.

Matching Dominique in dedication to the vines, the Champagnes of Roland Piollot (pictured below) are wonderfully vinous and distinctive.

 

 Roland is a 5th generation grower in the Champenois village of Polisot. Roland’s father, Robert Piollot, established a popular viticultural nursery, that provided rootstocks for many of the growers in the region. Today, Roland cares for 8.5 hectares of organically farmed vines, which are in their majority Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but include Pinot Blanc, Meunier and Arbanne.

We’re excited to offer many of Roland’s single-vineyard wines for the first time. Among these are the 100% Chardonnay, Champs Rayés Brut Nature, planted in striped marl soils and a customer favorite for it’s mouth-watering minerality at a recent store tasting. The Come des Tallants Brut Nature is a Blanc de Noirs (Pinot Noir) coaxed from a less than one-hectare parcel with full southern exposure. It is structured, finely detailed on the palate, and bone-dry. Finally, we were able to secure a few bottles of Roland’s rosé Champagne, Les Gravelées Brut Nature, a lighter styled and deliciously savory wine.  

For their devotion to their vineyards and for their singularly delicious Champagnes, Roland and Dominique have every reason to be proud. We’re delighted to offer a full and newly arrived range of their great Aube Champagnes!

- David Salinas

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Marie-Courtin NV Champagne Extra Brut "Résonance" R

For you lovers of bone-dry, acid and mineral driven wine, here is your next bottle of Champagne! Marie-Courtin, a small, biodynamically certified grower in the Cotes des Bars makes Pinot Noir based Champagne (this bottling is 100% Pinot Noir) with no dosage whatsoever. The grapes come from 35-40-year-old vines planted in clay and limestone soil. The wine is raised in stainless steel and everything about it is pure and laser-like. The nose is extremely stony, the palate bracing with citrusy acidity. Find some fresh, white fish such as halibut or trout, drench it in butter, and drink this wine... -msb

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  • white sparkling
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  • $59.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic

Marie-Courtin 2011 Champagne Concordance Sans Soufre

There are no two ways about it. This is a natural Champagne made from biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir and then vinified with native yeasts for both the alcoholic fermentation and the prise de mousse. Finally, the Concordance is free of any added sulfur. The Aube's warmer climate and Dominique's great farming have resulted in a Blanc de Noirs that will settle any doubts about the quality of the 2011 base vintage. Pale golden yellow in the glass and sporting a finely beaded mousse, the aromas of the Concordance are strikingly pure and vibrant with notes of ripe Cortland apples, red currants, fresh raspberries and a hint of brioche. The palate is pure with a fine minerality that carries aromas of cranberries and red plums through to a lengthy and savory finish. Beautiful Champagne! (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 1/2015). - David Salinas

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  • $99.99

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Marie-Courtin 2009 Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Efflorescence

In terms of Champagne houses or even vine growers, Dominique Moreau’s Champagne Marie-Courtin is a new comer — farming since 2001 and making wine since 2006.  Moreau works 2.5 ha biodynamically in the village of Polisot in the Côte des Bar in southern Champagne whose clay and Kimmeridgian soils are closer to Chablis in profile than than those of the rest the region. Efflorescence is made from 100% Pinot Noir from the bottom of the south-facing hillside which she believes produces wines with the most power and structure. Fermentation is with native yeasts in used barriques, the wine is aged sur-lie for 3 years, then bottled without dosage. The 2009 Efflorescence has a faintly copper hue, a soft mousse and lovely texture. The nose starts floral, spiced, and red-fruited evolving with air to  display ripe apricots, white peaches, shortbread, and almond notes. On the palate it is layered and expressive; despite the ripeness of the vintage and the richness that oak-aging lends, flinty minerality frames the lush fruit and suave texture. This is really lovely, though it should be noted it is opulent for an extra-brut, and those who prefer more austere Champagnes may find its fruit a tad overly-generous. -John McIlwain

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  • $79.99

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Marie-Courtin 2010 Champagne Extra Brut Blanc de Noirs Efflorescence

L'Efflorescence is the most full-bodied of Dominique's Blanc de Noirs. It doubles down on the natural higher ripeness of Pinot Noir, planted in clay-heavy soils at the foot of a sloping vineyard, by being vinified in second hand barrique for a richer, finely oxidative style. As with other Marie-Courtin wines, only native yeasts are employed and no dosage is added. It sits a burnished golden yellow in the glass with finely beaded mousse. The nose is expressive with touches of brioche, biscuits, hazelnuts, and ripe Jonagold apples. While the palate is full and powered by structure and minerality that only gives hints of brazil nuts, red currants, and mocha before a dry and admirably sustained finish. (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 4/2015).

- David Salinas

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  • $74.99

  • Organic
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Marie-Courtin 2011 Champagne Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

Drawn from a sliver of Chardonnay vines this version of L'Éloquence is a 50/50 blend of the 2010 and 2011 vintages. Pale golden color in the glass and offering a refined and delicate mousse, the nose is equally understated with aromas of almonds, ginger, lemon zest, and white flowers. The palate has great minerality and cut, but with a great concentration that carries notes of lemon sorbet, spearmint, and thyme that endure to a lip-smackingly saline finish. A Blanc de Blancs apart from other expressions in Champagne and not to be missed! (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 1/2015).

- David Salinas

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  • $84.99

Marie-Courtin 2011 Champagne Indulgence Extra Brut Rose

L'Indulgence is one of our most lithely elegant Champagnes, rosé or otherwise. Four days of maceration must have been masterfully handled to come away with such a pristine and effortlessly ephemeral wine. It is 100% Pinot Noir and another prime example of how there are fine Champagnes to be found and enjoyed in the 2011 vintage. Brilliantly violet pink in the glass with a discrete mousse, the nose offers aromas of brambleberries, wild strawberries, Rainier cherries, and verbena. The palate is harmonious, complex, yet so very drinkable with notes of    ripe raspberries, ripe strawberries, and sage before a zippy, deliciously tart finish. (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 4/2015).

- David Salinas

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Piollot NV Extra Brut Réserve Polisot

This is such a fresh and delicious value Champagne from Roland Piollot in Polisot (Côte des Bars). The blend is 50/40/10 Pinot/Chardonnay/Meunier, raised in stainless steel with native yeast and bottled Extra Brut. Of course for fans of the Marie-Courtin Champagnes, this is a natural fit, but it's a delicious bottle in its own right regardless of the relationship to Marie-Courtin (Dominique Moreau, winemaker at Marie-Courtin, is married to Roland Piollot and has a hand in the winemaking at Piollot). The nose offers delicate orchard fruits, pear, apple, etc... along with a hint of candied citrus peel and white flower. The palate is suave, finely textured, well-balanced, zesty but far from austere for an Extra Brut. Simply unbeatable... especially for the price. Take our advice and stock up on these fantastic value bubbles for the holidays. (Based on the 2009 and 2010 vintages; disgorged March 2013). MSB

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Piollot 2010 Extra Brut Val Colas Robin Pinot Blanc

Five generations of the Piollot family trace the modern development of Champagne. From Damase Piollot, who participated in the protest marches of the early 20th century, which ensured the inclusion of the historical vineyards of the Aube within the appellation of Champagne. To Robert Piollot, a master rootstock selector and grafter, who hand planted the single vineyard of Val Colas Robin with Pinot Blanc, now grown organically and biodynamically. Val Colas Robin is a sloping vineyard, near Polisot, that faces an upper portion of the Seine.  The eponymous cuvée shines with a fine bead and a bright golden, straw yellow hue. Fairly complex aromatics unfold into notes of apple blossom, lime, anise, ginger, spearmint, and green fig. Zippy is the palate password from beginning to end, seconded by flavors of lemon/lime zest. Val Colas is a singular expression of Champagne that is waiting to remake your next Thai meal. David Salinas

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  • $62.99

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Piollot 2010 Polisy Extra Brut Champs Rayes

Sourced in its majority from the striped marl soils of a vineyard in the village of Noé Les Mallets, the Champs Rayés sits a pale golden yellow in the glass and offers a generous mousse. The nose unfolds with aromas of lemon/lime sorbet, hazelnuts, laurel, and wisteria. The palate is on the broad and powerful end of the spectrum for a Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) and shows aromas of yellow apples, green apples, and yellow plums before a tart, lemon pith finish. (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 5/2014).

- David Salinas

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Piollot NV Extra-Brut Come des Tallants No Dosage

Sourced from less than a hectare parcel of old-vine Pinot Noir, the Come des Tallants is the jewel of Roland's range. Beginning with a crystalline clear and brilliant golden yellow in the glass and very finely beaded mousse, the nose shows aromas of Greengage, lillies, spearmint, toffee, guava, and some musky tones. The palate is finely chiseled with a nervy minerality, buoyed by a weighty concentration and a full aromatic range of wild flowers, which continues through to a finely pointed finish. A fantastic effort and Champagne from Roland Piollot! (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 7/2015). This beautiful Champagne is a superb value and a great way to start, or enjoy during your holiday feast!

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  • $41.99

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Piollot 2006 Gravelees Rose

This is a rosé with the concentration and the complexity of a fine Rosé des Riceys. Six years of lees aging have given a dark ruby color with shimmering edges and a micro-fine mousse. The nose is a parade of dark cherries, cranberries, brambleberries, and blood oranges. The palate has a steely minerality with undertones of strawberrries and mocha that glide to a strikingly tart finish. A Rosé Champagne for the adventurous! (Disgorged : 9/2013).

- David Salinas

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  • $63.99