Grower Champagne Club – October 2011

2002 Jacques Picard, Art de Vigne, Brut
During World War I Berru, a small village in the upper corner of the Montagne de Reims, found itself at the front line, and by the end of the war most of its vineyards were entirely destroyed. It did not fare well during the second war either and, up until about 40 years ago, viticulture here was struggling to survive. But Roger Picard, and later his son Jacques, continued to grow and produce Champagne, and they are widely credited with bringing this area back from the brink. Today, they are the only grower-producer in Berru, but other houses have vineyards here, including Pol Roger, whose holdings abut those of Picard.

Although Montagne de Reims grows all three grapes, with the majority planted to the red grapes, the vineyards in the village of Berru are about two-thirds Chardonnay. Picard’s top cuvée, the Art de Vigne, is 60% Chardonnay, and 20% each Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. He makes about three to four thousand bottles of this single-vintage Champagne every year, to capture the unique characteristics of each vintage. Produced from older vines and aged in oak, this wine is rich and gorgeous, with complex notes of toast and biscuit. Those who’ve had it over the years say that the 2002 (an excellent vintage in Champagne) is his best Art de Vigne yet, and we can believe it! It’s hard to imagine an occasion this wouldn’t be perfect for, on it’s own, or paired with foie gras. Utterly elegant, deep, and profound, it is at the upper limit of the club budget, retailing at $90, but we were able to put it in the club at $80, plus tax, and we think you’ll love it as much as we do.