The A.O.C. Champagne, located in the northwest of France, is one of the most renowned wine-growing areas in the world. Its star product is sparkling wine, popularly known as champagne. We don’t need to say much more, do we?
However, this sparkling drink is only the tip of the iceberg, as this region, which began rising to fame in the 18th century, is much more complex than it seems at first. A simple bottle of champagne contains many more unique characteristics and nuances that are determined by the area, the climate and the soil.
At present, according to the Comité Champagne, the A.O.C. Champagne stretches over 34300 hectares divided into 10 zones: The Vallée de la Marne and the Vallée de L'ardre, Massif de St. Thierry, Montagne de Reims, Côte de Blancs, Côteaux du Morin, Montgueux, Côte des Bar, Vitryat and Côte de Sézzane. This latter area is home to Pierre Moncuit Hugues de Coulmet Demi-Sec, a sparkling wine made by Pierre Moncuit exclusively from grapes grown in this area.
The Moncuit family, who have been making sparkling wines for over a century, owns five hectares in this prestigious enclave, south of the Côte de Blancs, where they continue the family tradition and focus solely on Chardonnay. Nicole Montcuit and Valérie Charpentier, a mother and daughter team and the third and fourth generation of the family respectively, now run this winery and have set out to discover its nuances and profiles. A great deal of work lies ahead of them, starting in the vineyards, where they cultivate old vines that face southeast and are over 50 years old.
Equally important as the viticulture is the terroir, the combination of soil and climate that makes the grapes unique. In this case, the Cretaceous subsoil, which is much deeper and has a higher clay content, together with the dual oceanic climate (rainfall and mild temperatures) and continental climate (with many hours of sunshine), are the two factors that work together to create the perfect combination.
After the grapes are harvested and carefully selected, they go to the winery, where each plot is vinified separately. The facilities are new, the result of a recent major investment. After the first fermentation, which produces the base wine, Pierre Moncuit Hugues de Coulmet Demi-Sec is bottled. It then undergoes a second fermentation, after which it will be aged for 3 years in contact with the lees.