De Sousa ‘Tradition’ Champagne NV


Erick De Sousa farms 9.2 hectares of vines, but that is spread over 42 plots. Even in Champagne where that type of fractured ownership is par for the course, that is pretty insane to imagine. Moreover, the grand majority of those vineyard sites are old vines up 75 years old, not commonly found in Champagne . Then to top it all off, De Sousa is both Certified Organic and Demeter Certified Biodynamic which is, again, very rare (tragically.) His oldest vine parcels are in Avize, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Cramant, Oger and Chouilly, and he’s been farming them Organically since 1989. He plows the vineyards by horse, keeping them loose and nurturing positive insect diversity in their soils while driving the roots deep into the mineral rich soils. De Sousa Champagnes have a relatively rich body to them, and that is achieved by the ability of these very healthy and naturally low yielding old vines allowing for a later harvest than most Ericks neighbors would dare. 

Weighty floral nose with honeysuckle and orange blossom shining through. Ripe grapefruit with a zested rind and almost like having a fresh squeezed mimosa with salted and white pepper on the rim. The red fruit components patiently lurk in the background until the finish, showing shades of Rainier cherry with a touch of hibiscus. Wide and lingering flavors. Crisp where it needs to be, but the flavors appear in no rush to dissipate from your tongue.

50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier from his Grand Cru vineyards around Avize and from his Marne sites. Fermented in enamel-lined tanks and with full malolactic fermentation. 70% from 2016 + 30% from 2015. 2 years on lees and 7g/L dosage.

Dhondt-Grelet ‘Dans un Premier Temps’ Extra Brut Champagne NV


In 1986, Eric Dhondt and Edith Grellet began their own production with the fruit they’d previously been selling to their neighboring larger producers. Their young son Adrien has quickly embraced the approach of site specific wines. Focused primarily in the Cote des Blancs, Dhondt-Grellet boasts parcels in some of the most impressive growing sites in both Cuis and Cramant. Adrien’s goal is to showcase each unique expression of Chardonnay from their different terroirs in his wines. They farm both organically and biodynamically, though they have not gone through any efforts to seek certification. Dhondt-Grellet has been turning heads and blowing minds amidst all the acid hungry, small batch farmer fizz fans over the past couple of years and will continue to do so for years to come.

Opens with fragrant alpine strawberries and wild blueberries, wild flowers, and raw brioche dough. Don’t let those notes lull you into too cozy a spot though because, bam! Angular acidity with ample crunchy textured minerality that is not for the faint of heart. For those who love this style, this is referred to as ‘drinking diamonds.’ Throw in some Comice pears and marzipan, wrapped in a flaky pastry dough actually, and this complex concerto is truly a complete one. Completely delicious. Encore!

A cuvée of 50% Chardonnay from Sezanne, 30% Pinot Noir from Avenay Val d’Or and 20% old vine Pinot Meunier from Cuis. The base vintage makes up 70% and the remaining is a perpetually blended reserve dating back to 1986. 6g/L Dosage.