Grower Champagne Club – January 2014

A. Margaine, Brut Rosé
In our September club write-up I talked about the first visit on my whirlwind one-day tour of four grower-producers in Champagne last summer (beginning at Gaston Chiquet, in Dizy). Our last stop of that day was back up in the Montagne de Reims village of Villers-Marmery at the home, literally, of A. Margaine. Once we finally found it—there was no sign out front, no indication it was a Champagne house, we actually had to look at a postcard in the mail box to confirm the name—we were greeted by the charming and welcoming Arnaud Margaine himself. He gave us a tour of his winery, the caves below, and the vineyards around his house happy, it seemed, to linger as long as we pleased, so much so that we barely got the rental car back in time! We even got to meet his wife and his teenage daughter—the future winemaker at A. Margaine? We’ve featured two of Margaine’s Special Club Champagnes in the past. And, as we’ve pointed out, the village of Villers-Marmery is unusual in that it is planted mostly to Chardonnay in a region dominated by Pinot Noir. Margaine’s small, roughly six-hectare estate is planted mostly to Chardonnay, with some Pinot Noir vines in the village of Verzy. These are wines importer Terry Theise calls “some of the most hauntingly beautiful and original Champagnes you can ever drink.” His Brut Rosé, about three quarters Chardonnay and one quarter Pinot Noir, was a huge hit at our December Champagne tasting: medium-bodied, with amazing fruit that reflects the local chalky, mineral-laden soil. Each sip takes you through a journey of flavors, most of which we’ve struggled to identify individually, but as a whole, it is powerful yet elegant, with richness and heft that would make it equally at home on its own, or on the dinner table. It is $58.