Virtual trip to Champagne: family prestige

Wibrotte, Comité Champagne: «Our goal is sustainability». The production approach of Tarlant and Boizel

28-12-2020
A glass of Champagne in the vineyard: our virtua

A glass of Champagne in the vineyard: our virtual journey begins 

With imagination and technology you can travel too. For now, in this 2020, we must make do.

And this also applies to wine tours. But thanks to Comité Champagne d’Italia, directed by Domenico Avolio, we had the opportunity to have a short but pleasant trip to France, discovering two maisons of Champagne that represent this marvellous world of bubbles.

Philippe Wibrotte, public relations manager at Comité Champagne introduced this virtual trip and gave us some general information: «The production area of Champagne is made of 34'300 hectares of vineyards with 319 Cru, 16K growers, 140 cooperatives and 340 maisons. The production makes for 0.5% of the wine produced globally, which means 297.6 million bottles of which 52.4% is exported. The first market for Champagne is the UK». Italy is instead fifth: we get 2.8% of the total production of Champagne, which makes for 8.3 million bottles. 

The 2020 harvest brings high expectations for the future 

The 2020 harvest brings high expectations for the future 

In terms of grape varieties, Pinot Noir makes for 38%, Meunier and Chardonnay 31%, while only a minimal part, 0.3%, is made of other varietals. Philippe Wibrotte also mentioned the 2020 vintage: «It was the earliest harvest ever– he explained– we started as early as the 17th of August. But it was also a vintage of which we have high expectations: in 2021 we will taste the base wines and we will see if it really is a great millesime».

One of the main goals of Champagne is to become more and more sustainable, with the twofold goal of reducing the environmental impact and respond to climate change. Over the past 15 years we've already seen some results, thanks to the reduction of pesticides by 50%, with a dramatic decrease in polluting elements.

Mèlanie and Benoit Tarlant

Mèlanie and Benoit Tarlant

A dutiful introduction for the virtual trip that brought us to the wineries of Tarlant and Boizel, discovering two very different realities which share the same philosophy of excellence.

Mèlanie Tarlant, who works with her brother Benoit, presented their winery. «We're a family– she explains – that has been working in the vineyards for 12 generations. We have around 14 hectares of vineyards from which we make some 100K bottles each year. We're located in Oeuilly, on the left bank of the river Marne and our vineyards enjoy the protection of the forest on top of the hill. Our main feature is that we make the wine from each plot separately, and then have a long refining on the lees». Not just oak: the Tarlant family has been working with technical amphoras for some time: «Our intention is to highlight the terroir».

Benoit and Mèlanie Tarlant, with their vineyards behind them 

Benoit and Mèlanie Tarlant, with their vineyards behind them 

La Lutétienne, Champagne from the 2005 millesime is a proof of this. It's a tribute to the ancient Lutetia Parisiorum, that is to say Paris, and to the lands that are called “Lutetian” which are typical of the vineyards from which the grapes for this wine come. A cuvée of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir with almost 14 years of refining on the lees, with no dosage, and a production of 2800 bottles. A wine with an extremely complex nose, a pleasant citrusy scent that blends with the sweet notes of the spices and a light touch of honey. On the palate the sapidity and acidity are remarkable, with a long sip that offers a floral finish.

The Roques-Boizel family

The Roques-Boizel family

The story of the Boizel family is slightly different: «Our family has reached the 6th generation – Florent Roques-Boizel explains – We're one of the historic families in Epernay. With my brother Lionel we're trying to renew our maison. We're also trying to vinify each single village in small tanks: we use steel tanks for 95% of our production».

This applies to some 70 hectares of vineyards, a yearly production of around half a million bottles. «Our goal is to find a balance in our wines – Florent Roques-Boizel points out – This is why we always seek the best level of ripening, so that the grapes that arrive at the winery are in perfect conditions for the fermentation».

The Blanc de Noirs from Boizel

The Blanc de Noirs from Boizel

For this virtual trip, the Maison born in 1834 wanted to toast with a Blanc de Noirs, 100% Pinot Noir, which only spends 3 years on the lees and to which 30% comes from the reserve wines from one or two previous vintages. With a dosage of 8 grams per litre, the Champagne shows a great balance, with a rich bouquet and a pleasant acidity on the palate, with a note of cedar and herbs in the finish.

Unfortunately, this 2020 doesn't allow to travel to the production areas: we hope to return soon to a normal life, and so to visit these magical places.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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