Grower Champagne Club – May 2019

Hugues Godmé, Millésime Brut Grand Cru, Verzenay, 2008, $78
The Godmé family has been growing grapes in the village of Verzenay, in the Montagne de Reims, since the 19th century. Just after World War II, Joseph Godmé began making his own Champagne and he soon became one of the first growers to bottle all of their fruit themselves, selling nothing to the large houses. Hugues Godmé, Joseph’s grandson, received his first vineyard from his grandfather in 1976, when he was still a student at enology school. In time, the younger generation took over the estate and for many years, Hugues and his sister Sabine jointly oversaw operations. But they had different sylistic ideas about Champagne, which prevented Hugues from crafting his wines exactly the way he wanted to. Eventually they decided to split up the family domain and create their own individual estates. Today Hugues is considered one of the best growers in Champagne. He is passionate, humble, and hard-working and produces pure, terroir-driven wines from his lovingly and impeccably grown fruit. He farms completely biodynamically and picks his fruit relatively early in order to achieve maximum freshness. In the winery he uses native yeasts, with no fining or filtration, ages his wines on the lees, and vinifies in neutral wood. “What I want to achieve for all of my wines,” he says, “is a certain lightness….I prefer sensuality and lace to something too overt.” We put his 2006 vintage in the club several years ago. His 2008 offering is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from Grand Cru vineyards in Verzenay. It was aged seven and a half years sur latte (in the bottle) and got three grams dosage, which is a bit on the low side for Brut, but the wine has beautiful richness and complexity. It is elegant, and expressive, with inviting yeasty, biscuity notes, and fresh, balancing acidity. Ready to drink anytime, on its own or with food.