Emmanuel Brochet - Montagne de Reims

Emmanuel Brochet took over the family parcels in the 1er cru village of Villers-aux-Noeuds in 1997 when the last lease to the land had expired. The village once boasted 200 hectares of vines, but by the opening of the 20th Century, many of those vineyards became Emmanuel Brochetvictim to market forces given their proximity to Reims and were razed as the city expanded. The best hillside parcels however remained intact, including Le Mont Benoit. Brochet’s entire production comes from this single, east-facing hillside parcel, the oldest vines of which were planted by massale sélection in 1962. All three of the principal Champagne varietals are planted with the oldest section at the top of the slope planted uniquely to Meunier and Chardonnay.

Emmanuel began transitioning to organic farming soon after he took over in 1997 and by 2005 he stopped using all synthetic treatments. He sold his fruit to negociants until 2003, when he made his first wine under his own label. In 2008 he began the process of organic certification by Ecocert. While he doesn’t believe that organic viticulture will always necessarily result in better wine, he does it out of respect for the land. “The way I came to organic farming was not through any sort of militant philosophy, but through the pleasure of wine,” he says. “If you take pleasure in what you do, and if your environment gives you pleasure, your work will be better. It’s a question of harmony.”

In 2006 he acquired a unique, square 2000-kilogram vertical press, half the size of a standard traditional press and the minimum legally permitted in Champagne. The smaller press allows him greater latitude in separating as many lots as he desires within the parcel, according to Emmanuel Brochetage, varietal or location, and to press and vinify them separately. He uses only the cuvée or first press in his wines, and the second press or taille is distilled for use in his outstanding Ratafia. For his Champagnes. he gets the juice fermenting as quickly as possible, within 24 to 30 hours after the grapes have been picked. From the press, the juice goes into tank for a short débourbage (settling of the lees) and then into barrel for fermentation. Since 2013 he has been fermenting with native yeast exclusively and even been successful in cultivating yeast from his grapes for the prisse de mousse or secondary fermentation in bottle. Malos proceed according to the will of the wine and the vintage. The wines are generally bottled in the summer following the vintage.

Brochet currently produces three distinct wines from the single parcel: Le Mont Benoit, marrying all three varietals and made with 80% juice originating from the principal vintage and the balance coming from his reserve wine which constitutes the remaining 20% from each preceding vintage. Haut Chardonnay and Les Hauts Meunier are both vintage Champagnes and made exclusively from those varietals, coming from the oldest vines in the parcel, at the top of the hill.

In a relatively short period of time, Brochet has earned a distinguished international reputation alongside a new generation of growers in Champagne, creating wines from a single parcel, putting the spotlight on one of many unique but largely unrecognized terroirs to be found throughout the vast Champagne region.

Regions

France

Beaujolais
Burgundy
Champagne
Montagne de Reims Emmanuel Brochet Côte des Bars Domaine Marie Courtin Valleé de la Marne Flavien Nowack
Southwest
Côtes du Marmandais Élian Da Ros
Jura
Languedoc
Terrasses du Larzac Domaine du Pas de L’Escalette Saint Chinian Domaine Rimbert
Loire
Provence
Rhône
Domaine Marie Courtin

Le Mont BenoitIntensely aromatic and displaying a honeyed, chenin-like quality with white floral and ripe, yellow orchard fruit dominating the nose.

Haut ChardonnayThere’s a subtle, stony minerality that permeates the whole wine from beginning to end, adding to the overall impression of finesse, elegance and grace…

Les Hauts MeunierPlenty of deliciously ripe fruit here, enlivened by vibrant acidity, but in the end, this wine is really driven by its expression of place…