Ecosystemic viticulture - Champagne Roger Coulon
Dear readers, in the world of champagne, Chardonnay usually dominates the juice composition as the main ingredient of a French champagne, while both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, usually take a back seat as the complementing ingredients; although I am not a 100% champagne sommelier, being in Champagne region a couple of times during my Paris visit, and attended multiple champagne tasting events made me kind of curious to discover and further understand the character and performance of each type of grapes, and how they make each bottle of champagne, sometimes even vintages, are so unique and valuable. Personally, I am more a fan of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier when it comes to champagne, the gracefulness and fruity aroma of Pinot Noir, and, the delicate and elegance of Pinot Meunier, are very irresistible whenever I drank one with these grapes, and I always have a thought, how great will it be if there’s one champagne that made with solely (or mostly) in Pinot Meunier or Pinot Noir so that I can experience the genuine character of these grapes thoroughly! While champagne that was made predominantly by Pinot Meunier or Pinot Noir is relatively rare, given the factor from the available villages, soil, climate and so on, somehow my champagne fairy did lead me the way to a French champagne house which produces predominant-Pinot-Meunier champagne, and that’s how I get to know about Champagne Roger Coulon after one of the tasting event recently.
As one of the only six growers in the elite Trait d’Union, Champagne Roger Coulon is a family-run winery which their champagne making legacy can be traced back since 1806, the family owns 10.8ha estate based in Vrigny, rooted to their motto about cultivating their vine beautifully and with proud tradition, their agroforestry concept shows their dedication of preserving the ecosystem to the vines, as well as the environment as a whole, to enable their grapes and crops to be cultivated in the most desirable and natural condition, without the human intervention over the soil as much as possible, so that to produce the most qualitative and organic wine that reflects the essential wine style of the house.
I was completely intrigue by their "Heri-Hodie" premier cru NV, “Heri-Hodi” in old Latin means "Yesterday - Today", sounds like a bit of time travelling which I possibly believe it has the meaning of bring the bygone French champagne-making savoir faire to present days; made with 90% of Pinot Meunier, then 5% of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively, this champagne is literally up to my alley! The palette is in clear light golden yellow with rich and energetic fine bubbles, taste in the mouth is rich and sensational, I get the fruity bouquet and somehow nutty (chestnut I presume) and pastry taste, it’s the combination of the fruity aroma from white and yellow fruit such as pear, mango and apricot, pretty creamy in the mouth which makes this champagne relatively enjoyable, and it enables me to truly experience the beautiful character of Pinot Meunier! The Pinot Meunier from this champagne, actually comes from a perpetual reserve wine from 1995 aged in Solera system, I guess that’s probably the reason that makes this champagne such an unique and precious one.
Another one that I picked to try is “L’Hommée” premier cru, perhaps it is the name that insinuates certain masculinity in this champagne (the word “L’Hommée actually means “a magic word that links the man to its terroir and its past”) somehow it makes me think of a decent Frenchman in his well-cut tailoring and grooming, but based on the grape juice composition, it prone to be a more masculine champagne in my opinion, with 60% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir, the palette is in shiny gold with fine bubbles, to me this champagne certainly is a full-bodied one with rich taste and complexity, thanks to the Chardonnay perhaps, it’s a harmonious balance of powerfulness and elegance, rich in fruity and floral aroma such as orchard fruits, dry apricot, linden and spices, there’s a bit of saltiness, it’s intense and persistent at the same time, with such richness which makes it perfect to pair with seafood dishes and white meat, of course, drinking it alone is relatively enjoyable too.
For those of you who are also a fan of Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier champagne, do let me know your thought about these two champagnes; cheers!
Image courtesy of The Vintage Wine Club Hong Kong Limited / Champagne Roger Coulon