A remarkable Champagne tasting at The Remedy, London

This was a fun event at the Remedy wine bar in London. As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations. I was asked to lead a session focusing on some serious Champagnes, paired with oysters. These are my notes on the wines we drank.

Champagne Bereche & Fils Ludes 1er Cru Le Cran 2015
Vincent (vines) and Rapha (cellar) are the brothers behind Bereche, which is based in Ludes in the Montagne de Reims. In 2013 they switched from RM (to NM so they could buy grapes from 2 hectares for their Brut Reserve. This is 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir from two lieu dits in Ludes (Les Hautes Plantes and St Jean). Both are mid-slope with chalky soils, one facing east, the other west. Most base wines are oak aged. This wine spends over six years on lees and is Extra Brut (disgorged July 2022 with a dosage of 3 g/l). This is remarkable: subtle toast and spice on the nose with a savoury twist to the pear and citrus fruit with a touch of cherry and herbs. Really saline and intense: layered and complex notes of aniseed, cheese and some spicy warmth. Remarkable stuff. 97/100

Champagne Agrapart & Fils Avize Grand Cru Mineral 2016
Pascal Agrapart has been running this 12 hectare domaine since 1985. Based in Avize, half his holdings are in the Grand Cru. Mineral is 100% Chardonnay, half from Avize (Le Champ Bouton) and half from Cramant (Les Bionnes). Both are very chalky soils with little top soil. Elevage is a mix of stainless steel and barrels and dosage is 3 g/litre. Taut, lean and quite beautiful with great precision and focus to the lemony palate. Intense and fine, with potential for further development. 96/100

Champagne Vouette et Sorbee Blanc d’Argile 2019 (Magnum)
Based in the Côte des Bar, Bertrand and Helene Gautherot farm biodynamically and have 5.5 hectares of vines on Chablis-like soils, with Kimmeridgian and a bit of Portlandian limestone. They made their first wines in 2001. This Chardonnay comes from the lieu dit of Biaune, with Kimmeridgian limestone, planted with massal selections from Selosse and Vincent Dauvissat. Base wine is fermented in 400-600 litre barrels and there’s no dosage. Tight, round and pure with lovely presence. Taut and lemony with some mineral hints, showing great focus and freshness. There’s a hint of apple, and some salinity, but the note I keep coming back to is precision. 96/100

Champagne Emmanuel Brochet Rose de Saignée 2020
Emmanuel has 2.5 ha of vines in Villers-Aux-Noeuds in the Marne, and made his first wines in 2002. He farms organically. This wine is 100% Pinot Meunier from the lieu dit of La Motelle. It spends 24 h on skins and then is fermented and aged in wooden barrels for a year. Extra Brut. Full coloured, this is remarkably powerful with notes of cherry, redcurrant and fine spices. Linear with purity allied to depth. Dry, focused and fine with a core of red fruits. 95/100

Champagne Jérôme Prévost La Closerie Les Béguines 2020 
Based in Gueux in the Marne, Prévost started off with this 1.5 hectare plot, and started making his own wines in Selosse’s cellar in 1998, an arrangement he carried on until 2003. The soils are clay/sand/limestone and this is a blend of 90% Pinot Meunier with the remainder Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The wines are fermented for 10 months in barrel and then just 14-17 months on lees. Dosage is around 2 g/litre. Real complexity here with a fine, vinous quality, and notes of apple, pear and lemons. Quite delicate with great acidity and some notes of cherry. Hints of iodine and minerals on the nose. Layered and fine. 96/100

Champagne Guillaume Selosse L’Argillier NV
Guillaume is the son of Anselme Selosse, and began making his own Champagnes (in tiny quantities) in 2009. In 2012 he started making this wine, which comes from a 3.7 hectare monopole in the Aube, planted to Pinot Noir on Kimmeridgean limestone. The base wine is aged for two years in barrel, before being combined with a perpetual reserve and aged another year, and then bottled for tirage. Intense and powerful with notes of cherry, lime and apple. This is just so focused, with a salty edge to the superbly complex fruit. Chalky texture, finishing with a sour cherry edge. Quite special. 97/100