Grower Champagne Club – June 2013

2003 Jacques Picard, Art de Vigne, Brut
In October, 2011 we featured the 2002 vintage of this stunning wine. As we mentioned then, Champagne Jacques Picard is located in Berru, a small village in the northern reaches of the Montagne de Reims which found itself at the front line during World War I. By the end of the war, most of the local vineyards were in ruins, and a second world war only made things worse. But Roger Picard, and later his son Jacques, continued to grow and produce Champagne and are in no small part responsible for keeping Berru a thriving Champagne village. Today Picard is the only grower-producer in Berru, although a number of important negotiants source their fruit from local vineyards (Pol Roger’s are adjacent to those of Picard). The Montagne de Reims region grows all three Champagne grapes, with a focus on Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. But, interestingly, the vineyards around Berru are planted about two-thirds to Chardonnay and Picard’s Art de Vigne, his top Cuvée, is typically 60% Chardonnay, and 20% each Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, from vines averaging about 25 years in age. Picard makes about three to four thousand bottles of this single-vintage Champagne every year, with a goal of capturing the unique characteristics of each vintage. It is vinified in oak, which no doubt adds to its incredible complexity and richness. Although 2003 was a hot year, this vintage is once again, rich and gorgeous, with complex aromas of buttery toast and biscuits. A perfect accompaniment for Coquilles St.-Jacques or foie gras. Given the small production of this wine, it is very limited and retails at $90, but once again we were able to get enough and fit it in the club at $80.