Grower Champagne Club – September 2016

Françoise Bedel, Entre Ciel et Terre, NV $80
The Bedel estate has been producing Champagne in the village of Crouttes-sur-Marne, at the western edge of the Marne Valley, for three generations. Françoise took over from her parents in 1979 and since 2003 she has been assisted by her son, Vincent. Their goal continues to be to craft Champagne that reflects its place of origin—that “tastes like where it came from.” They strongly believe that the only way to achieve this is by following strict biodynamic practices, which they began introducing in 1998. Today all of their vineyards are certified biodynamic and Françoise is one of the strongest proponents of biodynamics in the Champagne region. She explains the elaborate procedures they follow and the reasons why in great detail on their website. Their vineyards are located along the banks of the Marne River, spread over four areas: Crouttes-Sur-Marne, Nanteuil-Sur-Marne, Charly-Sur-Marne, and Villiers-Saint-Denis. They grow all three grapes with the majority planted to Pinot Meunier. We featured her Dis, “Vin Secret” several years ago. This month we present their Entre Ciel et Terre (“between heaven and earth”). It is 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier, from vines between 30 and 70 years in age grown on clay limestone soil. Fermented in both oak and enamel tank and aged six years in bottle before release, the wine has a beguiling nutty, floral nose, and is wonderfully effervescent, with fresh, fine bubbles. The low dosage allows the pure fruit flavors to shine through and this offering has a crisp fresh feel, while still being rich and generous in flavor and texture. It is $80 and drinking beautifully now. The winery suggests pairing it with seafood or fish in a tangy sauce.