Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Brut – “Bulles de Craie”
100% Chardonnay from estate plots located in Villeneuve, Vertus, Oger and Mesnil-sur-Oger, with vines averaging 40 years old. The grapes are all hand-harvested. The wine is aged for 3 years and bottled with a 8g/l dosage. The “Bulles de Craie” offers floral and fruity notes dominated by citrus fruits. It is lively, with a hint of salinity reminiscent of oyster shell and a touch of the chalky terroir its name evokes. A lot of purity and grace in this bright cuvée. 12.5% alcohol.
About the Producer
The ebullient Delphine Cazals is the fourth generation to helm Champagne Claude Cazals; her house is attached to the winery, and Delphine’s mother lives in the château inside the Clos de Cazals. The estate was founded in 1897 by Ernest Cazals, a cooper from the Languedoc. He was Catalan, hence the name, same as the renowned cellist, Pablo Casals (pronounce the “s”). He moved to Champagne where he met his wife, and together they created a Champagne house in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. Three generations of winegrowers have led the house since, including Delphine’s father, Claude, who invented the gyropalette in 1969 (unfortunately, he never patented it; the original gyropalette is still in their cellar!). The house style of Cazals Champagnes is an intoxicating combination of delicacy, aromatic power and the capacity for long aging. This small, family estate has RM status and produces only around 5500 cases annually.
Delphine owns 10 ha of vineyards, all Biodynamically planted with Chardonnay, located in 4 of the most prestigious villages of the Côte des Blancs: Le Mesnil-surOger, Oger, Vertus, and Villeneuve; all of her wines are Premier Cru or Grand Cru. The top soil is bright white due to the high chalk content; below, is a layer of Jurassic marine fossils and Kimmeridgian limestone subsoil.
Their prize jewel is the Clos Cazals in Oger, one of only 21 clos in Champagne and the largest. Delphine’s grandfather, Olivier, purchased the 3.7ha walled Grand Cru vineyard from United Nations founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner Léon Bourgeois and planted it entirely with Chardonnay in 1957. The walls of the Clos reverberate the sun and allow the grapes to reach exceptional ripening: one full extra degree of potential alcohol compared to other plots. Delphine observed that this vineyard was consistently the best and was the first Cazals to craft a cuvée entirely from this distinct site. Delphine then petitioned the Comité to have the vineyard designated a Clos and won the right in 1995. She was especially proud of this achievement as nobody else in the family believed it could happen!
Farming practices: sustainable, certified HVE (High Environmental Value).
Champagne Claude Cazals
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