The Côte des Blancs: an idea born in the land of the rising sun

  • Burch Family Wines

Written by Olivier Bonville

2011, I am in Japan for presenting our Champagne Franck Bonville. I explain our guests the way of blending and the specifities of the different Terroirs where we are located since the beginning of the 20th century: Mesnil: mineral, straight, fresh ; Avize: balanced, open ; Oger: round, ample.

During our conversation, the idea of creating unblended wines closer to each of those Terroirs came to my mind. Ideas are like grapes, they need time to ripen and like cuvées, they need time to get roundness. I thought about that for a long time and nature confirmed my opinion since 2011 was too particular, very warm with early harvests at the beginning of September. Such an experience cannot be done on an atypical year.

It will be for 2012: I choose in each village plots which are the most representative and press 8000 kg of each cru (one full press). There will be 2500 bottles from each village: alcoholic and malolactic fermentations, filtrations, bottling. For this occasion back to the tradition and in February 2013, we bottle the wine and use natural cork fixed with a staple. That explains the big square ring on the neck of the bottle. I do think that “a good quality cork gives the wine a better homogeneity”, this is not always the rule with a metal cap.

The 2012 wines will be released from September 2018. They will have a 5,5 year ageing on the lies in our cellars. Under the name “Pur Avize”, “Pur Mesnil” and “Pur Oger”, 2500 bottles of each terroir will be proposed to our customers. Only 1000 bottles of the further years (2013, 2014,2015, 2016…) will be sold.

With this Trilogy, my aim is to highlight the Côte des Blancs, this fabulous Grand Cru hill and above all explain and show the difference between the 3 villages in a pedagogic and fun way.

Terroirs are close to each other but Chardonnay reveals some nuances that can be sometimes large and this is interesting to understand. I let you have the pleasure to make your own opinion.

Enjoy the tasting, Olivier Bonville

For a “taste” of Olivier’s commitment to understanding his soils, take a look at his recent video profiling the 2012 Pur Terroir cuvées from Avize, Mesnil and Oger. Click here