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AttractionsChampagne Makers Tour

Dosnon & Lepage and Louis Roederer

By Carlo Pandian

N.V. Dosnon & Lepage Extra-Brut “Récolte Brute”

Champagne is often mistakenly used as the generic term for sparkling wine. However ‘Champagne’ is a name reserved only for sparkling wines that are made under the Appellation rules of the French Champagne region, most notably wines formed from a blend of the three primary grapes grown in the area, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. Strict rules in vineyard maintenance and wine production set the standard for the high quality wine, once reserved for royalty and the elite members of the community.

Situated amongst the picturesque scenes of Champagne in the small region of Avirey-Lingey, lies the artisanal champagne house Dosnon & Lepage. Relatively new to the champagne producing scene, this small boutique house is run by good friends Simon-Charles Lepage and Davy Dosnon, natives of the Avirey-Lingey village. The area is in the southern most region of Champagne, relatively close to Burgundy and offers a unique terroir rich in clay and limestone soils that add a certain spicy aroma to the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes of their vineyard. This exclusive terroir, together with the close proximity of Burgundy itself, directs their wine towards a more Burgundian approach and adds a distinctive element that helps Dosnon & Lepage stand out amongst the bigger names of the Champagne region.

The two grapes of their vineyard are blended with the fruits of five surrounding areas to produce around 50,000 bottles of luxury champagne each year. They diverge from the traditional ‘three grape blend’ and instead have opted to respect the purest expressions of the terroir in order to deliver an exclusive collection of Curvée Mono Cepage, a 100% blend of reserve wines from either the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. A fine example of this being the Récolte Blanche, a full bodied, elegant wine with subtle hints of orchard fruits and minerality and acidity resembling the fine terroir of the Cotes de Bar appellation. Fermentation occurs in vintage, fine oak barrels to give each wine a warm, slightly smokey richness. In addition, their wine isn’t filtered or fined, of which, this is most apparent in the Récolte Rosé, a delicate and fresh salmon pink blend of 100% Pinot Noir. The pure yet fragrant expressions of red berry aroma are set off amongst the rapid and continuous bubbles.

In addition to the smaller Champagne houses, the area also offers some well known names such as the Louis Roederer house, perhaps most famous for its Curvée Cristal, which can be found gracing the bars of the most exclusive members clubs the world over. Unlike many vineyards of this current day, the Roederer house was founded as, and has remained, a family run business since 1776. The current company executive, Frederick Heidsieck, follows in the footsteps of six successive generations, in creating and maintaining a reputation of premium champagne. The house first established a reputation of splendour when it began to target foreign markets in the mid-nineteenth century. By 1909, it had become a worldwide success and was most notably the house champagne of the Russian Imperial Court. The vineyards now cover a staggering 214 hectares which produce in the region of 3.2 million bottles a year. Their non-vintage Curvée’s are created with a 2:1 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown within the Roederer vineyards and finished with a splash of Pinot Meunier, sourced externally from local farmers. The extra dry Brut Premier N.V is an excellent example of this well balanced blend and delivers a rich complexity with a suitable full bodied taste giving the Roederer house the reputation it so rightly deserves.

Louis Roederer 2011, luxorium

Champagne Day
iPhone/iPad/iPod touch
By Yvonne Halling

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