It was a good way to start the day when I drove from Reims to Tour-sur-Marne on a beautiful sunny morning. The stunning scenery of coloured fields on my way to visit the A. Chauvet house put a big smile on my face. 🙂
The aunt of Jacques greeted me when I arrived that Tuesday morning in October at the Chauvet establishment. She invited me inside to meet Jacques Paillard-Chauvet in the small office. This is a family owned business where Jacques is 5th. generation. Because of his passion about Champagne he left the finance sector in Paris. He can now pursue his passion together with his family. Shaking hands on the way through the office it seemed like most of the family was there and Jacques invited me to have a walk and talk about their Champagne wine making.
What is important for A. Chauvet?
Jacques told me about how the Chauvet family tries to give soul to the wine. The vineyards and grapes obviously have a lot to say about that – but the labour of the family and their workers also have to go into those bottles. When Jacques showed me the cellars I could see that there there were no new sparkeling press or gyro pallets. It is easy to see that the Chauvet family does a lot of work here by hand.
He also told me that they like to be as close as possible to the wine. And that they prefer that it should be made by man and not by machine. By having this human approach to their winemaking, they always have information on how things are progressing. And if necessary intervene or make decisions on how to proceed if the wine is developing in another way than is expected.
Jacques told me that the production is between 30.000 – 35.000 bottles per year depending on the yield. They always make the best Champagne with the grapes they have. It is important for them to make less varieties of bottles and keep the quality up.
Tasting the wines
The Cachet Vert is a blanc de blancs and was very delicate. I found that the aroma was light and refreshing. I also tasted a little sweetness to it as I don’t eat candy, so maybe my palette is more sensitive to sweetness in wine. It had a very subtle elegant roundness about it which I also liked.
After that we tasted the Carte Blanche which is a brut and representing the style of the house. This one is more floral in the aroma and more complex. It showed more body and complexity and the aftertaste stayed for longer. For me, it was a very harmonic wine which I could easily drink with food or just for the pleasure of it self.
The Grand Rosé made me go “uhhh” (which is not a bad thing) because of the intense fragrance of sweetness and red berries. Because of that I got deceived to think that the wine had a little sweetness to the taste. However the dosage of the Grand Rosé is a Brut. So I would have guessed wrong about the taste without that knowledge.
We talked about vintage wines and when the quality of the grapes is right for producing them. “We will not do a ‘technical vintage’ Champagne just to have a vintage every year,” said Jacques. (I like that a lot!) You could say that a ‘technical vintage’ is a wine, which is made even if the quality is not there. As a result of this they will not produce the wine if it’s not suited for a vintage. I did not taste the vintage as they were waiting to release the next.
We also spoke shortly about their red wine – they use it for a small number of bottles or for the rosé blend. They will only make the red wine in bottles if the quality of the wine is good enough. And if they don’t have to use it for the rosé.
The tasting room
On a final note
I visited Tour-sur-Marne for the first time this year but I’m sure it won’t be the last. I can definitely recommend to drive there just to enjoy the scenery on the way. The visit was a really good experience at Champagne A. Chauvet and I will definitely come back to visit them again.