“The Fruit of My Passion.” As the world opens up now that many of us are vaccinated, we can once again gather together. What better way to celebrate the “After Time” but with a glass of Champagne in a toast with loved ones? #ChampagneDay (held annually on the fourth Friday of October with the 12th annual global Champagne Day Friday, October 22) celebrates all things Champagne– the fruit of passion? Check out the Champagne Day website for virtual events or nearby ones.
For Sue and I, Champagne Day is a chance to remember and reflect on our amazing experience there in October of 2019 where we visited several biodynamic wineries, met winemakers, explored the city of Reims, and took drives through the vineyards under sunny skies and rainstorms too, thanks to author Caroline Henry. A highlight of our trip to France was our walk, talk, and tasting with Vincent Charlot (which I wrote about here). And I found a bottle of his 2013 wine in LA for us to feature today!
Instead of winemaker, Vincent Charlot describes himself as “the peasant of terroir” — and all of his plots are cultivated organic and biodynamic.
“When you work biodynamically,” said Vincent, “you work closely with the sun and moon. But that’s really just the beginning in biodynamics. When you believe about the sun and the moon, the rest is more simple.”
Charlot is considered a “grower-maker” (read more on this topic here). While previously the grapes were sold to others to make sparking wine, Charlot wanted to make his own from his family’s grapes and he decided he wanted to farm biodynamically, trusting the land to provide best for the grapes interns of cover crop and yeasts.
Charlot’s estate vineyard’s cover about 11 acres over 39 different plots in 6 villages: Mardeuil (where the cellar is located) Vauciennes, Epernay, Moussy, Pierry 1er Cru, Ay Grand Cru). He vilifies each separately to better know each plot and what it has to offer, meaning some lots are only one barrel.
Once the wines are bottled, secondary fermentation starts with grape must concentrated by evaporation, mixed with 5 neutral organic yeasts, never sugar. His wines spend several years on lees– from around four and up to eight. After disgorgement, they are topped up with the same champagne and dosed with no more than 4 grams per liter meaning they are in the Extra Brut category.
2013 Champagne Vincent Charlot “Le Fruit de ma Passion” Mardeuil
purchased at WineHouse LA
55% Pinot Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay
A roundness on the palate in this wine extra brut wine comes from the clay in the soil. Charlot adds a bit of organic must with a dosage of about 4g/L, nothing else.
With regards to tasting wine following the biodynamic calendar, Vincent says that it’s more important when a wine is younger; the calendar is less influential on an older wine like this one which is eight years old. When we were in France in 2019, we tasted a 2014 which has the new label.
This is Charlot’s “introductory wine” — and this vintage is the first one that was certified biodynamic.
Appearance: Golden, warm, buttery, lively delicate perlage.
Aroma: Green apples and brioche, apple danish, sea salt, hint of grass, fresh unroasted almonds.
Palate: Crisp tart fruit, sea foam, very foamy, lemon, Granny Smith apple, foamy mineral finish, lemon ocean, lemon lime on the finish, you can physically feel the bubbles on the finish, clean and refreshing, cleansing, complex layers of flavor.
Pairing: I really wanted fried chicken with this. Rich creamy brie and a bit of pate are fabulous as the crisp refreshing wine cleanses the rich flavors. The wine tames a creamy blue cheese leaving you wanting more. Sue felt that it would not work as well if the blue was not creamy. Nutty Comte is perfectly enhanced by the wine bringing out the almond brioche flavors. With an oyster it is a case of sea eating sea. I thought about having uni or caviar a top the oyster to further elevate the experience; avocado would be good, too. Very nice with the thresher shark topped with beurre blanc, lovely with the sweet sautéed shrimp over polenta. The texture of the polenta and the texture of the wine are such a stimulating fun combination.
Happy Champagne Day!
What is the fruit of your passion?