The first thing you’ll notice about Loïc Barrat, and his wife Aurélie Masson, is that they never stop smiling. And with good reason: they took a big leap in 2010 by leaving the local cooperative where both their families have deep roots to start their own production...and their bet has paid off. In 2013, they released their first bottles of Champagne from their certified organic vineyards on the border between the Aube and the Marne.
Loïc, a viticulteur by trade, works their seven hectares with a practical approach that blend traditional techniques with modern technology - he has adapted modern vineyard spraying equipment to be able to more effectively apply the organic treatments to the vines. In the cellar, Aurélie, the former head oenologist of the local cooperative, uses the same approach: they use a traditional ‘Coquard’ wooden basket press, but she has installed a computer to monitor the pressing times. Each plot is vinified separately to carefully monitor the variations in terroir, and provide the largest palette for the final blend.
With their first release, Loïc and Aurélie have produced Fleur de Craie, a Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay that’s easy to drink and expresses the full character of the region; the chalky soils on the border of the Aube and the Marne. Located only 100 km from Paris, we noted to Loic that his production is at the very edge of the Champagne appellation, the last vineyards before you leave the region. His response? “No, this is not the edge, it’s where Champagne begins.”
Champagne "Fleur de Craie" Brut
100% Chardonnay, grown on 5 hectares around the town of Béthon. Clay limestone soil, with an average vine age of 40 years. Grapes are pressed on a traditional wooden press, parcel by parcel. The champagne is made from the "coeur", or the first press. Unfiltered. Aged on fine lees in stainless steel and used oak barrels. Goes through partial malolactic fermentation. Disgorged by hand. Average production: 6,700 bottles/year.
Champagne Grain d’Argile
Grown on clay soils, Pinot Noir brings together its fruitiness with the freshness of Chardonnay. Grain d’Argile is a wine with a golden color, whose nose proves to be very expressive with persistent effervescence. A vinous Champagne, the mouth is rich with notes of dried fruits (almonds, hazelnut) mingled with berries (gooseberry). The mouth is wide and complex with notes of slightly roasted hazelnuts. This Champagne has beautiful aromatic depth and the Pinot Noir brings structure and maturity. Its remarkable freshness gives it excellent length on the palate.