The NV Brut Cuvée Ste.-Anne is an absolutely stunning Champagne for its complexity, value and soulfulness. Rich and creamy on the palate, with tons of resonance, the Cuvée Ste.-Anne is absolutely impeccable. Dried orchard fruit, spice, pastry, baked apple tart and lemon confit all infuse the Cuvée Ste.-Anne with striking complexity and depth. I can’t think of too many Champagnes that deliver this level of quality for the money. Not surprisingly, I have seen it offered by the glass in a number of top restaurants around the world. Alexandre Chartogne does a fabulous job with this cuvée. Don’t miss it.
– Antonio Galloni
**Chartogne-Taillet (MERFY) **
The vineyards of Merfy, seven kilometers north of Reims, lie on the southern slopes of the Massif de Saint-Thierry in the Montagne de Reims. These slopes were planted shortly after the arrival of the Romans and monks of the neighboring Abbey of Saint-Thierry expanded the vineyards in the 7th century. By the 9th century, the vines surrounding the abbey represented the single largest concentration of vines in Champagne and the wines from Merfy earned a great reputation and found their way to the Royal table.
Today, Chartogne-Taillet remains the only RM producer in the village and under Alexandre Chartogne’s guidance, the wines of Chartogne-Taillet are some of the most sought-after Champagnes being produced. Alexandre worked with Anslem Selosse, who he describes as “my wine father”, returning home in 2006. The first wine that he produced was the 2006 vintage of Les Barres, a very special parcel of ungrafted Meunier, planted in 1952. The soil in this parcel is sand for almost 3 meters before the roots reach the chalk bedrock, allowing the vines “to live in two environments”.
In 2007 Alexandre assumed control of the entire estate. In the early years, Alexandre experimented with lots of different vessels for fermentation and elevage, including amphorae and concrete eggs. Watching the wines, vineyards and Alexandre himself evolve over the last 10 years has been extraordinary.
“When I think back to my ancestors, I think that they knew what they were doing. There was nothing bad in the vineyards and the wines were made in oak. This is my direction after many years of seeing other things and watching the wines develop.” Says
In the vineyards, Alexandre does not follow any certifications; his goal is “to respect the soil populations as much as I can”. His work is followed by Claude and Lydia Bourguignon, the two foremost experts on soil microbiology. “I do not use chemicals, herbicides, insecticides … and plough half of my vineyards with my horses. Most of the work is made by hand, but … no certification.” Sheep and Chickens are used for fertilization and focus is put on the health of the soil as Chartogne believes that the transmission of terroir comes only though careful work in the vineyard. Horses are kept on the property and used for ploughing and a majority of the work in the vineyard is made by hand.