Joli Vin imports
Flavien Nowack - Vallée de la Marne
Things have been changing in Champagne and that is grand news for lovers of grower Champagne. Grower Champagne might still only represent a tiny fraction of the region's total output, but it holds more interest for those Champagne consumers who respond with more enthusiasm to diversity than to uniformity. There are a plethora of new names to keep track of and the Vallée de la Marne and the Aube regions, historically less highly regarding in the Champagne pecking order, are finally getting their moment in the limelight.
One such name, Flavien Nowack has recently created his own label and domaine, distinct from his family’s property which has been making traditional, blended champagnes in the Marne Valley since the early 20th century. Flavien began in 2011 and each year since, has taken over the farming and vinification of a different parcel from the family estate with the intention to explore the diversity of soils and unique expression of each parcel of his native Vandières by vinifying and releasing each separately, whether single varietal or co-planted, and adding another parcel to his catalog each year. The Marne Valley has some of the most diverse soils in Champagne, rich in clay, sand, limestone and chalk. Climate and soil here, west of Epernay, favor Pinot Meunier, which buds late and is thus less at risk to spring frost. Meunier accounts for two-thirds of the Nowack estate, followed by Chardonnay and just about 10% Pinot Noir.
At the same time wanting to explore the rich viticultural diversity in the Champagne region, he has created a second range in his portfolio, Cru d’Origine, taking advantage of a unique Champagne regulation which allows producers to purchase up to 5% of their total production in grapes, without the requirement of holding a separate négociant license. In this case, Flavien intends to purchase fruit from a single village each year, from colleagues who share his orientation toward organic viticulture. In 2013 he begins this oenologic exploration from a selection of parcels in his home village, Vandières, and then in each succeeding year focusing on a village successively further away.
With the desire that nothing obscure the purest expression of terroir and fruit, Flavien favors native yeasts fermentations starting with his 2013 wines. For secondary fermentations in bottle, or prise de mousse, he is using unfermented grape must from the succeeding harvest. This is not common in Champagne and entails greater risk than using a prepared yeast as sugar levels and strength of the native yeast in the must can vary and do not guarantee a precise outcome. As a result, these Champagnes are lower in pressure than is typical, 4.5 bars rather than the more common 6 and serves to underscore the vinous quality of these exceptionally soft and delicate wines.
La FontinetteApproximately 8 months of élevage. bottled in the spring following the vintage.
Les BauchetEach parcel, whether single varietal or co-planted, is a unique expression of the valley's mix of sanded clay, marl and limestone and it is the winemaker's passion to explore this rich geological diversity…
Cru d’Origine, VandièresPurchased fruit from a single village, a different village selected each year. So that he might capture the truest expression of each village, he strives to add nothing but the fruit from that village in the elabortion of each wine…