CHAMPAGNE PERTOIS-LEBRUN CRAMANT
It wasn’t predetermined from birth that brothers Clément and Antoine would be at the helm of the family business. In fact they grew up in Provence, far from the heritage of wine growing they carry on now. The brothers grandparents Paul Pertois and Françoise Lebrun were the third generation of the families to grow grapes but the first to start making wine in 1955. They passed their plots on to one of their three daughters, Odile who ran the estate for many years. The fifth generation offered only one possibility and in 2004 Clément joined his Aunt to begin his journey as a winemaker in Champagne. His brother Antoine joined in 2013 and since then they have been working side by side to continue the family heritage while imbuing it with their sensibilities and their passion to show the terroir of their plots.
The brothers have 44 individual plots spread over 9.5 hectares in five villages. Those villages are Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Chouilly, Oger and Oirly; all Grand Cru villages. All of their vines are planted to Chardonnay and their efforts in the vineyard and cellar are focused expressing the elegance and finesse of the grape all while showcasing the uniqueness of each plot. The vineyards are farmed organically and no chemical herbicides or pesticides are ever used. The priority is to maintain the microbiological composition of the soils and allow the vines to produce grapes that accurately express all the aromatic nuances and minimality of their terroirs of origin. This is accomplished by encouraging natural grasses and weeds to grow in the vineyards, using biological and naturally produced soil treatments and working the land to encourage the roots of the vines to penetrate deeper in to the sub soil to further extract its essence.
The work in the cellars is as meticulous as it is in th vineyard. The pressing of each plot is done separately and only the cuvee of each press is kept to ensure the best concentration of flavors, sugars and acids. The wines are matured for nine months on their fine lees with no fining or filtering. Afterwards a myriad of different vessel sizes and types hold the wines for further maturation allowing the wines to reveal their true personalities. After bottling each wine spends between four and eight years on their lees before being released to the world.
These wines are worth seeking out. They display all the precision that you would expect from Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs with more body, class and style than is typical of the region. The lower yields from the organic farming methods provide a higher concentration of aromatics that allow more than just a typical laser beam of Chardonnay. While all that structure is there it is robed in the aromatics that are more and more becoming associated with high quality non-conventional farmed vineyards in Champagne.