Grower Champagne Club – October 2012

Doyard, NV Cuvée Vendémiaire
The history of viticulture at Champagne Doyard dates back to 1677. After World War I, Maurice Doyard worked hard to bring the estate and its vineyards back from neglect and the devastation of the war. In addition to his job as a vigneron, he worked actively on behalf of the local Champagne grower-producers, serving as director of the Champagne Growers Union (Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne), which represented the growers and protected the appellation; and later as founding co-president of the Champagne Bureau (Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne), now an international organization. The Doyard name will always be closely tied to the history of the Champagne region. Maurice’s grandson, Yannick, now represents the eleventh generation to oversee the winery. They have one premier cru and four grand cru vineyards; in the village of Vertus, where they are located, and in Avize, Cramant, Oger, and Le Mesnil. Being in the Côte des Blancs it is, of course, all Chardonnay. Their vines average about 40 years in age, and they use only the best fruit for their own wines, selling off about half to négociants. Doyard has always bottled their wines at lower pressure than most, resulting in softer, more integrated bubbles. This is actually more like Champagnes of the past, which were fermented under cork rather than crown-cap. The name of this wine, Vendémiaire, comes from the French, vendange, or grape harvest, and refers to the first month of the French Republican calendar, which began on the day of the autumn equinox. This bottling is a blend of wine from three vintages. Some is vinified in oak barriques and it sees partial malolactic fermentation, which gives it its inviting richness and density. The reduced pressure helps bring out the nutty aromas of brioche and fresh baked bread for a very satisfying Champagne, to enjoy on its own, or with meals. It is $49.75