Yann Alexandre, Brut Noir, $60
Yann Alexandre represents the eighth generation of his family to grow vines in the Montagne de Reims, and the third generation to produce Champagne from those vines.
Today he and his wife have 6.3 hectares of vines spread over 28 plots in nine villages. They are based in the small village of Courmas in the sub region known as the Petite Montagne de Reims, located on low hills southwest of Reims. Pinot Meunier is the predominant grape in the Petite Montagne, but Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are grown there as well. Yann has 14 parcels here (mostly planted to Meunier), as well as holdings in other villages to the north and south of Courmas. With varying types of soil including shallow calcareous clay, sandy, stony flint, and white marl, he is able to match his grapes to the different conditions of each parcel. Yann says he strives to make as natural a Champagne as possible. His Brut Noir is typically about 50% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Noir, sourced from about 20 different organically-farmed plots. It is fermented in stainless steel for about seven months, aged 4-5 years on the lees, and gets eight to nine grams dosage. It is soft and fresh, with notes of citrus and green apple, a hint of brioche, and good acidity, making it a great Champagne to enjoy with food, especially rich fish dishes, shellfish, or mild cheeses.