Grower Champagne Club – July 2014

Françoise Bedel et Fils, NV Brut, Cuvée Dis, “Vin Secret”
The estate of Françoise Bedel has been producing Champagne for three generations in the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne, on the westernmost edge of the Marne Valley. Françoise took over from her parents in 1979 and she has been assisted by her son Vincent since 2003. Their overriding goal is to produce Champagne that personifies its place of origin — that “tastes like where it came from.” And they firmly believe that the best way to achieve this is through strict biodynamic practices, which they began introducing in 1998. Today, all of their vineyards are certified biodynamic and Françoise is one of the biggest proponents of biodynamic farming in Champagne. (If you ever want to learn more about the process, much of their website is devoted to a detailed description of what they do and why). The vineyards, now managed by Vincent, lie along the banks of the Marne River in four sites and are planted mostly to Pinot Meunier, the predominate grape in all of their cuvées. Françoise ages all of her Champagnes much longer than most. This particular cuvée spent an astonishing six years on its lees, and was aged a total of seven years, some in oak, before release. It is over 90% Pinot Meunier, grown on their clay/limestone parcels and is mostly from the 2004 harvest. The result is a stunningly evolved and mature-tasting Champagne, full and round (despite the fact that it has little to no dosage), with flavors of fresh ripe fruit and a long, nutty finish. It is $71 and the winery suggests enjoying it on its own as an aperitif, or with a meal, such as oven baked (“not roasted”) fowl in a light sauce.