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11. okt. 2016
Champagne: The Tange-Gerard singles line
The basic idea is singularity. It may be a single cépage, a single plot, only "vieilles vignes" or something else. Always a single year.
Our aim is to draw any possible benefit from our tiny and very human size of domain which enables us to oversee a maximum of details ourselves.
The singles series come in very limited numbers. Maybe only once. Therefore, all bottles are manually numbered.
Our terroir is particular at the corner of the Côte des Blancs south of Épernay.
Here the chalky soils of Champagne (may) mix with layers of either clay or silt combined with organic material giving the vines harder times to develop and lowering yields naturally.
Furthermore, the altitude of our plots at some 200 meters above sea level allows our soils a different expression than the lower part of Côte des Blancs.
The outdoor sustainability
We have decided to apply our conviction in all aspects of our work. Thus we grow our vines in agreement with the rules of Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne. These contain a coherent set of environmentally respectful practises.
Currently, we use a maximum of organic agricultural inputs (for instance fertilizers and occasionally minerals). However, we still reserve ourselves the possibility to use non natural fungicides when necessary to secure a minimum yield.
We don't use any kind of insecticide whatever in the season because we want to favour the presence and multiplication of a fauna symbiotic with our work as well as seeing a development or preservation of natural habitat zones.
We grow the grapes for the singles series in our plots in Soulieres and in Loisy-en-Brie. The vines are rather old as these plots were planted between the early sixties and into the eighties.
Of course, such old vines produce less grapes. However, smaller yields award us with grapes of more concentrated aromas that we want to work into correspondingly expressive wines.
You will find both Chardonnays and Pinots in our soils though with a slight majority of the white grapes that have made the region famous and popular amongst wine lovers.
In the days before the grape harvest we measure the sugar of the different varieties in each plot carefully. Our aim is to pick grapes that will provide a level of alcohol around 10,5 %/vol.
Two samples combined with berry tasting enable us to decide for the start as well as the order of plots which will vary with the years. The decision must balance the possibility of better grapes with the risk of decline.
The grapes are hand picked and pressedimmediately in Coquard horizontal presses at our cooperative in Vertus, less than 10 kilometers from the vineyards.
The pressing is followed by a passage of up to 12 hours in small steel vats to allow solid stuff in the fresh must to sediment.
The vinification takes place in 60 hl steel vats.
Industrial yeast is added for the fermentation to ensure a smooth process. Healthy grapes are crucial.
The first alcoholic fermentation is usually achieved in 10 to 14 days. The young wine remains unstable during the following months. It makes sense to taste it the following spring only.
The singles line champagnes are not blended with reserve wines from other years. Instead these champagnes represent their year of origin as well as their plot.
The second alcoholic fermentation is performed with the same yeast mixed in some of the same wine and local sugar. The same sugar and wine will be used for the dosage later.
The bottles spend at least three years on the lees in the cave, possibly some more time before and after the disgorging, thus they have some years of age already before leaving our premises.
The packaging sustainability
The labelling and packaging of the singles champagnes are in line with sustainability as a global approach.
But since champagne is also a wine of celebration, we like it to look accordingly.
The star of our village combined with a color on natural fiber-based paper and water-based ink assures continuation with the look of our classic line.
Despite a rich tradition to present prestige champagnes with cutting edge packaging, we have decided to remain modest to keep our usage of materials low.
Instead we care to number each bottle manually on the back label to state that the singles champagnes are rare wines, that are conceived in very limited quantities.
A glass of champagne instantly transforms the moment into something nicer.
Take your time, taste the wine. Try again and allow yourself and your senses to follow the taste as it develops in your glass. The best way we know to allow a champagne to live and to live on is to experience it and share this with people we appreciate.
This range of champagnes can be enjoyed on their own or with treats that allow the wine to stay the leading part.
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