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CHAMPAGNE J.M. GANDON BRANSCOURT

Victor Gandon may be the poster boy for all that is new and exciting in Champagne. He is the son and grandson of winemakers and grape growers. He works a day job as director of Vinoforestry for a Grande Marque champagne house and in his 'spare' time he has resurrected his family vineyards to produce wines from them under his own label. 

Victor's great grandparents were farmers and first planted vines in Branscourt. His father, Jean-Marie, also tended the vines but never made a wine from his own grapes. It was only with this first vintage in 2020 that a wine has been made from this plot and been vinified on the family property. He has fully embraced his past and is creating something totally different. 

The vineyard he used for Les Pièces is a tiny plot called "L'Aubière" and is only 0.31ha in size. It is planted to 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Meunier. The meunier is planted closest to the small river that runs beside the plot as a protection against early spring frosts that plague the valley. The vineyard was planted in 1973 and 1974 in clayey sands that contain copious amounts of fossils of Turitella Communis and Venericardia Planicosta. The vines are east-west facing at an altitude of 140m in a small river valley. 

Victor describes his farming as, "thoughful viticulture that listens to nature and is adapted to the climactic constraints of the year." As so there is no tilling, no use of pesticides or any other synthetic product. The use of copper in the vineyard, an organic compound, is limited as well. 

In the cellar the wines are made with little intervention to respect the terroir. A Pneumatic press is used to gently press the grapes and all barrels and tanks are filled by gravity. The fermentation is spontaneous using natural yeasts and there is never any chaptalization or must corrections. Malolactic fermentation is neither encouraged or blocked. The wine ages 10 months on full lees and an additional 2 years in bottle before disgorgement. The wine has zero dosage or sulphur added. 

All of this to say it's lightning in a bottle. Our first experience with this wine was as vin clair, and every year since. The wines of the successive vintages only continue to get better as Victor becomes more familiar with his plots. There will be more wines in the future and they will all be made with the same precision and respect for nature. There couldn't be a faster rocketship coming out of Champagne and only 1,350 bottles were produced of this first vintage. 

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