Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot is a boutique, organic grower based in Vrigny, a Premier Cru village situated in the north east of Montagne de Reims. The Lelarge family has been making wine since 1789 and Champagne since 1930. Today the estate is headed up by seventh generation Dominique Lelarge, along with his wife Dominique Pugeot and their children. The wines are dominated by Pinot Meunier due to the north eastern orientation of the vineyard. They believe in letting the grapes thrive as naturally as possible in order to express the pure essence of terroir. Biodynamic principles are practised in the vineyard and they were certified organic in 2013. Champagne LelargePugeot follows a philosophy of minimal intervention in the winery and their handcrafted wines are poised, elegant and a true reflection of the Vrigny terroir.
The vineyard is spread over 42 distinct parcels in and around the Premier Cru village of Vrigny and is farmed according to organic and biodynamic methods. The vineyard comprises eight hectares and the vines grow over gently rolling hills, at altitudes of 150 metres above sea level. The grapes for this cuvée come from a blend of 30 of the parcels from Vrigny, where the soils are sandy loam and calcareous marls. The Chardonnay vines are pruned according to the Chablis method, with the reds according to the Cordon method. The vineyard is ploughed by horse during the year, to prevent soil compaction, allowing the top layers of soil access to oxygen and boosting the overall health of the soil, vines and grapes. Grasses and plants are used between the vine rows to impart valuable nutrients to the soil. Harvested by hand.
The grapes were pressed using a pneumatic press, followed by a long “débourbage” or settling period. A small amount of sulphur was added prior to the fermentation. The alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks using their “pied de cuve”, which is a technique used in natural winemaking to employ natural yeasts. A small batch of must is used to start a spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeasts, once this has been deemed successful, this “pied de cuve” is then added to the remaining must to start the fermentation process. Following fermentation, this cuvée underwent natural malolactic conversion and was bottled the following April. The wine spent four years ageing on its lees in bottle.
Pale golden yellow with a persistent effervescence, this creamy wine offers a good depth of flavour. Ripe, rich fruits dominate, complemented by an abundance of fresh apple, apricots and a tangy hint of orange zest. Harmoniously balanced, the texture is tight with an inviting streak of minerality and a crisp finish.
Pinot Meunier 50%, Pinot Noir 40%, Chardonnay 10%.
• 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast, 2017