Like many of the best of Champagne’s grower producers the Rousseaux's have been growing vines for more than a century in the Grand Cru village of Verzenay. A walk up and down the streets in the village will reveal to you the number of family members, cousins, aunts and uncles that are involved in making wine here. The family lineage to the vines that seems almost de rigueur these days is written in the family DNA but Adrien, a fourth generation winemaker, is anything but typical.
Adrien’s grandfather Paul bottled his first Champagne in the beginning of the 20th century and his father Denis created the current brand Rousseaux- Batteux in 1976. Adrien has been in charge of the estate since 2012. He manages 2.6ha of vines spread across Verzenay, Verzy, Louvois and Villers-Marmery. The plots are small and generally old, the average age of vines is over 50 years old. There is some new wood, around 10% on the wines but only to, ‘preserve a subtle sweetness and light exposure to oxygen’ to compliment the fruit from the vineyards. There are never any pesticides or herbicides used and the health of the vines is of the utmost importance.
Wine making is not prescriptive here, plots do not always go in to the same blend. One year an vineyard may get some new oak for fermentation and the next year not. Bottling happens one year in the spring because that is when there is time in the schedule to do so, the next year it may be the summer because the wine needs to sit a bit longer in barrel. There is an attention to detail that seems ad hoc, or that of a mad scientist but in reality it is exacting at an exciting level. Adrien follows his instincts and ‘what seems interesting’ to create wines that are contemplative, precise and ever expanding. Each plot, each wine, each vintage get the exact treatment they deserve. The philosophy is mutable creating in each bottle an expression of terroir that leaves you wanting more.