Grower Champagne Club – February 2019

2010 José Dhondt, Brut Blanc des Blancs, “Mes Vieilles Vignes” Grand Cru, $81
The Dhondt family has six hectares of vineyards spread across several parcels in the Côte des Blancs, planted to Chardonnay, and in the southern Côte de Sézanne, where they grow the Pinot Noir that goes into their Rosé. Like many small producers, José Dhondt was a longtime grower before he produced his first Champagne under his own label in 1974. (He still sells a small portion of his fruit to Möet and other large Champagne houses). While not certified organic, he avoids the use of chemicals as much as possible, keeps yields low, and presses his fruit in a traditional vertical wood press. Today he produces three Champanges: a non-vintage Rosé, a non-vintage Blanc de Blancs, and this, his old vine offering, sourced from a small parcel of vines over 50 years old planted by his grandfather on a slope near the village of Oger. “Mes Vieilles Vignes” (or “my old vines”) is always made from fruit from a single year, although he only labels it as such when he feels it has been a truly exceptional vintage. 2010 was such a vintage in Champagne. The Mes Vieilles Vignes from this year was aged six years on the lees, giving it beautiful richness and texture, which is balanced by its fresh, acidity and purity. With its notes of toasty brioche and white fruit, it’s a lovely Champagne to enjoy on its own or with lighter fare that allows the subtle complexity to shine through.