Grower Champagne Club – March 2014

Marie-Courtin, Éfflorescence, Extra Brut 2009
This Champagne was a huge hit at our grower Champagne tasting last December, despite the fact that it was one of the most expensive, at $71.50. It is just plain worth it! It comes from the Village of Pilisot in the southernmost part of the Champagne region, the Côte des Bars. As we’ve noted before, this region is closer to Chablis than it is to Reims, both in proximity and in terroir, with the same Kimmeridgian limestone subsoils as its Burgundian neighbor. It is also slightly warmer, and the stunning Pinot Noir fruit grown here is sought after by many large Champagne houses. Marie-Courtin is a young estate, created in 2005 by Dominique Moreau who named it after her grandmother whom she considered a “woman of the earth.” Her goal is to craft single-vineyard, single-varietal, single-vintage Champagnes from biodynamically-grown grapes, and she is already garnering much acclaim. Her vines are 35-40 years old and she maintains low yields which, combined with the limestone soils, produces wines that are both powerful and focussed, with a subtle brininess and fresh minerality. Dominique produces two Champagnes: the Résonance, fermented in stainless steel and this wine, her Éfflorescence, which is fermented and aged in used barriques. The grapes for this one, 100% Pinot Noir from the 2009 vintage, come from lower on the hillside which she feels gives the Champagne more power. As an extra-brut, no dosage is added after disgorgement, so it is definitely lean, but still balanced by warmth and texture. The name éfflorescence comes from her deep spiritual beliefs and refers to “something that evolves in perpetuity,” which is what her wines should do as they age in the bottle.