Champagne Week 2017 on jancisrobinson.com – “Tim Hall reports on the latest edition of this annual showtime for Champagne’s grower-producers and highlights three particularly impressive producers”, including AR Lenoble!

Champagne Week 2017 on jancisrobinson.com – “Tim Hall reports on the latest edition of this annual showtime for Champagne’s grower-producers and highlights three particularly impressive producers”, including AR Lenoble!

June 13, 2017, Christian Holthausen

Read Tim Hall’s entire report about Champagne Week 2017 here: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/champagne-week-2017-a-dark-star

Here’s what he has to say about AR Lenoble:

This established small house is based in Damery but its jewels out of a total of 18 ha are the 10 ha held in grand cru Chouilly. Its reputation as a high-quality boutique producer is already established. In the UK it has been the house pour at London’s Gavroche restaurant for about 20 years. It may seem strange to find Lenoble here in Champagne Week’s grower fest, but it illustrates an important point. Brother and sister Antoine and Anne Malassagne this year and last, ran a portes ouvertes (open door) in Damery for international visitors during the week and presented me, along with a group of European ‘champagne ambassadors’, with a memorable tasting and discussion. The tasting finished with a magnum of Grand Cru Chouilly 1973, all mocha, smoke, lemon confit and rather stunning. The house aligns itself enthusiastically with Champagne Week. Antoine said it represents an ‘evolution towards wines of better quality and a differentiation of Champagne’s authentic terroirs’. Champagne Week shows that producers are prepared to open themselves up to the world more and more. AR Lenoble think making better champagne is tied to fewer chemical inputs. The house was one of the first to obtain HVE certification (Haute Valeur Environnementale), a respected regime for sustainable viticulture, without being totally organic. Antoine clearly thinks more needs to be done and organics alone is not a complete answer: ‘Bear in mind that natural products used in organic viticulture can have a negative impact on biodiversity. Copper, a potent oxidant, is a good example, and the quantity of copper per hectare and per year is limited because of its toxicity. We must try to invent a viticulture that is truly sustainable.’ On the trend for zero-dosage champagnes among many growers, Antoine reminded me AR Lenoble first made theirs nearly 20 years ago. He’s concerned such wines should not be too austere and that they need ‘an ageing period on the lees sufficiently long to present the cuvée in all its fullness’. Their current Brut Nature, with zero added sugar, is based on the 2012 vintage with four years on lees, and complexity from 35% reserve wines and 18% fermented in wood.”