Grower Champagne Club – August 2019

Roger Coulon, l’Hommée, Premier Cru, $60
Eric and Isabelle Coulon represent the eighth generation to produce Champagne under their family label. They are based in the Premier Cru village of Vrigny, in the northwest corner of the Montagne de Reims. Since their beginnings in 1806, the family slowly increased their vineyard holdings to their current level with over 70 parcels spread among five different villages in and around Vrigny. They grow all three grapes on the chalky, clay soil, with about 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. It’s more work, but they feel it preserves the integrity of their vineyards and maintains the original character of their fruit. They also use no herbicides, harvest manually, and use only indigenous yeasts, which they feel brings out more subtlety and a purer expression of their terroir. This cuvée is an equal blend of the three grapes, aged for five years before disgorgement. Juice from the red grapes is fermented in stainless steel and the Chardonnay in small, neutral oak barrels which adds to the complexity of this very elegant and expressive Champagne. It is toasty and rich, with lovely, refined texture and notes of yeasty brioche, balanced by stony minerality. Enjoy it with seafood, especially shellfish, blanquette de veau (veal ragout) or poultry. Fun fact: the name “l’Hommée” comes from an ancient measure of vineyard work that could be performed by a single person in one day.