Champagne Fresne-Ducret, Le Chemin du Chemin, 1er Cru, $57
The Fresne family tended grapevines in the village of Marfaux, in the Petite Montagne de Reims, for generations.
In the mid 1800s, 16-year-old Adolphe Fresne became the first in the family to set off on his own when he left to work vineyards in nearby Ville-Dommange. There he met and eventually married a woman who also came from a long line of vignerons and they began growing their own vines. After World War I, with the region in ruins, one of Adolphe’s sons returned to Ville-Dommange with his new wife, Marthe Ducret, and they set out to rebuild the family holdings. But it was their three sons who founded Champagne Fresne-Ducret in 1946, finally realizing their father’s dream of producing wines under his own label. Today Pierre Fresne is at the helm, along with his Canadian wife Daniella. Pierre carefully researched the composition of their different parcels and adapted his vineyards to the different soil types. He began converting to organic viticulture in 2018.
His Chemin du Chemin is a blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 25% Pinot Meunier from Premier Cru vineyards in Ville-Dommange and Jouy-les-Reims, planted on calcareous clay soils. The Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier go through malolactic fermentation and the wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks, then aged four years on the lees in their cellars. It gets five grams per liter dosage. They describe this wine as “a foray into the spirit of Champagne Fresne-Ducret.” It is soft and creamy, with aromas and flavors of orchard fruit and toasty biscuits, hints of hazelnuts, and fresh, balancing acidity. They suggest pairing it with rockfish, sea urchins, or razor clams.