The Baron family has owned and cultivated land in Champagne since the 17th century. Upon his marriage in 1961 to Dolores Fuenté, Gabriel Baron was given by his father 1 hectare of vineyard. In 1967, as a symbol of their union, Gabriel and Dolores named their brand new company: Champagne Baron-Fuenté. The first bottles were produced and marketed directly to private customers and local restaurants. In 1982, their daughter Sophie joined the family business, followed ten years later by their son Ignace. After obtaining a diploma in oenology from Avize, a town located close to Epernay, Ignace is now the estate’s winemaker. He is in charge of fashioning the house style, and also acts as general manager. Trained by their father in the early nineties, Ignace and Sophie learned about the specificities of bringing out the best of the terroir of the western Marne valley, and the meticulous care needed to make exceptional Champagne.
Today, the domaine spreads over 38 hectares of vineyards near the village of Charly-sur-Marne, on the western side of the Marne river valley. The yearly production is 1.5 million bottles, with 4 million bottles maturing in the cellars at all time. 96% of the fruit comes from the estate vineyards, the remaining from producers with which the family has long term contracts, hence their NM status. The style of the Champagne is dominated by Pinot Meunier, bringing fruit and delicacy to the cuvées. Smaller proportions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir bring finesse and strength to the blend. The marl, clay and sandy soils of the valley provide the perfect home for Pinot Meunier. Baron Fuente’s philosophy is to:
– Hand pick the grapes, in order to select the best quality.
– Use as much Pinot Meunier as possible, to bring fruit to the Champagne.
– Use as little sulfite as possible, using very fresh grapes coming from close by vineyards. There is then a very short time between harvest and the start of fermentation in the vat.
– Keep the alcoholic fermentation at 16°C (60°F) in stainless steel vats, which brings freshness to the cuvées.
– Have the second fermentation in bottle last at least 36 months, which makes the Champagne rounder, with fine and delicate bubbles.
– Disgorge every 3 months – that way, the Champagne remains fresh, with aroma of brioche.