Grower Champagne Club – November 2016

Roger Coulon, Réserve de L’Hommée Premier Cru, NV
Eric and Isabelle Coulon represent the eighth generation of Coulons to produce Champagne under their family label. Their vineyard holdings include over 70 parcels spread among five different villages in and around Vrigny, in the northwest corner of the Montagne de Reims. They grow all three grapes on the chalky, clay soil, with 40% planted to Pinot Meunier, 30% to Pinot Noir, and 30% to Chardonnay. The average age of their vines is around 40 years, a relative rarity in Champagne, and when they do need to replant, they propagate the new vines from healthy “mother vines” already in their vineyard, as opposed to using modern clones. All of this is more work, but they feel it preserves the integrity of their vineyard and retains the original character of the fruit. Also to this end, they use no herbicides, harvest manually, and use only natural, indigenous yeasts, which they feel brings out more subtlety and a purer expression of the terroir. This cuvée is an equal blend of the three grapes, sourced from vineyards in Vrigny and Pargny, aged for five years before disgorgement. Coulon ferments the juice from the red grapes in stainless steel and the Chardonnay in small neutral oak barrels which contributes to the complexity of this very expressive Champagne. It is toasty and rich, with lovely, refined texture and notes of brioche. The names comes from the ancient measure of vineyard work that could be performed by a single person in one day. Enjoy it with anything from seafood (especially shellfish) or poultry to Thai or Indian food. It is $60.