Grower Champagne Club – August 2012

Moutard Père et Fils, Cuvée 6 Cépages, 2004
The Moutard family has a long history in Champagne’s southern Côte des Bar region, dating back to the mid 17th century. And throughout those years, they have continued to grow all six of the authorized Champagne grapes. Yes, you read that right — historically, the three grapes that predominate in the region today were supplemented with three others, still permitted, but rarely grown: Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, and Arbane (aka Arbanne), of which there are just a few acres remaining in cultivation. The brief Wikipedia entries for both Arbane and Petit Meslier mention Moutard’s Cuvée Six Cépages as one of the very few Champagnes that continue to grow and vinify these often difficult grape varietals. But it is not merely out of curiosity that we selected this Champagne for the club. It is a truly delightful wine, made by a family with a long tradition of grape growing and wine production. Moutard is based in the commune of Buxeuil, and has vineyards there and in Polisy, just to the north. The local clay-limestone soil imparts rich, fruity aromas and stony minerality to the wines. Moutard ferments in second- and third-use Burgundy barrels, further adding to the complexity of their Champagnes. Their 2004 vintage Cuvée Six Cépages has wonderful depth, elegant bubbles, and aromas of fresh biscuits, with a long, nutty finish. It is $75, made in very limited quantity, and yes, a unique opportunity to discover what these rarer grapes can add to the mix. It is drinking beautifully now, or could age for up to ten years.