It all began in 2003… this exceptionally sunny year, which was problematic for our northern vineyards, revealed—for the first time—certain vineyards with remarkable potential in the heart of the Louis Roederer estate.
Located on the calcareous clay soil hillsides of Cumières, Hautvillers, and Vertus – rich in hard, coarse sandstone – these parcels had no difficulty in resisting the heat and drought in the summer of 2003. In fact, the vineyards produced aromatic, intense, and balanced grapes. The resulting wines are characterised by an optimal aromatic maturity, a creamy texture, and a vibrant freshness. This encouraged us to carry out a series of bottling trials. The wines were fine-tuned in 2003, 2004, and 2005, which culminated in the selection of the 2006 vintage.
The collaboration between Frédéric Rouzaud and Philippe Starck encouraged us to be innovative, stimulating our creativity to such an extent that we pushed the whole process even further: the wine was developed through discussions, words that conjure up images, ideas, concepts… in a quest for the ideal champagne.
For the Brut Nature 2006, Lécaillon and his team drew inspiration from river wines from Cumières to create a medium-dry, terroir-based champagne. This south-facing calcareous clay terroir also benefits from the reflected light from the Marne River. This exceptional location produces precocious and sweet wines with slight Burgundian accents, and established the region’s reputation for fine wines well before the production of champagne became the regional speciality.
‘Elegance’ is reflected in the quest for optimal purity through a balanced proportion of around 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay with a small amount of Pinot Meunier for balance, an absence of malolactic fermentation, a soft and sensual effervescence, and no dosage. Developed with great care—the pressure does not exceed 5 kilos—, the bubbles blend into the fruit.
Every measure was taken to ensure optimal maturity on these south-facing parcels of Pinot Noir to obtain an excellent fruit that would require very minor corrective measures – as true an expression of the spirit of the terroir as possible. As it happened, in 2006, the Cumières Pinot Noir was exceptionally mature with great depth of flavour and texture. Because of the fruitiness and richness of the grapes, Lécaillon decided ‘to allow nature to take its course’ and, true to Starck’s vision, was not dosé.
2006 was unusual for several reasons. After a mild autumn in 2005, the winter weather became very cold in November. The temperature remained very low from January to April, which delayed the onset of spring and its beneficial effects on the vines. Spring began later than usual and the period was marked by several episodes of frost and long weeks of rain. The rain saturated the ground and enabled the vineyard to survive a blisteringly hot July, punctuated by violent storms; the Champagne region experienced some of the hottest weather on record. But this was followed in August by a series of exceptionally cool and rainy days followed by a sunny and dry climate in September. During the harvest period, this type of weather—alternating between contrasting temperatures and periods of rain and sun—during the key periods of the grapes’ maturity produced an exceptional and very promising harvest.
Golden colour and scent of golden fruits and smoky, yeasty notes. Although dry, has a creamy textured palate with great depth of flavours – ripe fruits, slightly toasted hazel nuts, hint of spice and finally a lovely mineral and citrus freshness lifting the finish.
Smoked salmon, Pata Negra jamon, creamy Mozzarella Burrata, foie gras and ripe pear.
Well chilled - 13C at the end of the afternoon as a refreshment, as an aperitif to whet the palate, or at the end of a meal, to truly appreciate its rich flavour.
Tom Stevenson: “Love it, love it, love it!” (29/09/14)
Wine Enthusiast: 92 Points