Brut Nature – “La Géande” – 7 Cépages Field Blend
Pinot Noir (sélection massale carried out by the estate) from vines planted in 1974; Chardonnay, Meunier, Pinot Blanc (locally called “Blanc Vrai”), Pinot Gris (locally called “Buret”), Arbane and Petit Meslier, all planted on the same plot, with varying pruning styles that include Chablis, cordon de Royat and single Guyot from a variety of limestone and marls from the Kimmeridgian Jurassic era. The vineyards enjoy the cool and sunny semi-continental climate of southern Champagne, and a moderate altitude of 250 m. The Pinot Blanc is pruned using the cordon de Royat technique, and is blended with single-Guyot pruned Chardonnay, with yields 20% lower than average in Champagne.
The grapes are manually harvested, through several passes in the vineyards and careful tri, for optimal ripeness. They are immediately brought to the winery and gently pressed (pneumatic pressing). Elimination of the “taille” must, static settling, addition of basic yeasts, natural malolactic fermentation, low addition of sulfites and light filtration after cold stabilisation. The wine is left at least 36 months on the lees and disgorged with a low dosage to preserve its purity. Complex nose of peach, pear, fresh quince, fig, apricot, plum and mandarin, floral notes (acacia, honeysuckle) with fresh almond and sweet spices. Opulent and powerful palate, with an elegant mineral backbone (chalk, granite). 12.5% alcohol. 4,449 bottles and 50 magnums produced.
Sustainability: Certified HVE (high environmental value) since 2015, with organic practices: no weedkillers, soil tilling, partial grassing, organic composts, reduced treatment frequency, no insecticides. Development of biodiversity through the planting of orchards, truffle oaks and honey plants, the mowing of grassy areas late in the year to protect pollination times, and the restoration of local heritage structures (small stone huts known as cadoles).
About the Producer
Domaine Alexandre Bonnet is a grower champagne in Les Riceys, considered the Grand Cru of the Côtes des Bar, a Champagne region that lies at the border with Burgundy. The Domaine is comprised of 47 hectares of very steep Kimmeridgian-limestone vineyards, mainly planted with Pinot Noir - 43 ha. It is HVE3 Certified. Winemaker Irvin Charpentier is defining the house style of minerality, power, and a pure expression of this superior terroir. Each Contrée (plot) is vinified separately and each cuvée is made with only the first press juice, creating wines with pure aromas and distinctive character. In keeping with low-interventionist practices, the Domaine does not block malolactic fermentation and exclusively does Zero or Extra-Brut dosages, as they feel this produces the clearest expression of their terroir. They have cut their use of sulfites to a minimum, about 75% less than is currently used in Champagne. These are minimal-intervention, terroir-driven Champagnes from gorgeous sites, elevating the quality of the Côtes des Bar.
The Domaine Alexandre Bonnet is also one of very few producers to grow all 7 traditional grapes and is today the only one to produce a 7 grapes Champagne that is all together single vineyard, single vintage and single vinification process of each grape. Alexandre Bonnet also produces the rare yet famous Rosé des Riceys, a traditional semi-carbonic 100% Pinot Noir Rosé still wine. These are minimal intervention Champagnes from gorgeous sites, redefining the quality of the Côtes des Bar.
Farming practices: the vineyards have been certified "Viticulture Durable en Champagne” and "Hautes Valeurs Environnementales,” two labels that reward excellency in sustainable practices - only about 30 houses boast that label, which is just one step away from organic farming. As the amount of rain that the area gets would require constantly renewed applications of bouillie bordelaise, the high level of copper would become more detrimental to the soil than a small amount of chemical fungicides not allowed by organic viticulture. For that reason Bonnet chose not to be organic. The rows are partially covered with grass, and hazelnut and rose trees are planted amongst them. The “ Cadoles,” typical sheds made of rocks that were used for protection in case of bad weather, have been renovated. The yields are kept low. Close monitoring of the weather, prophylactic methods and constant attention paid to the vineyards resulted in a drastic reduction of treatments. No insecticide is used, and most of the vineyard is herbicide-free.
Click here: Alexandre Bonnet
Winemaker Alain Pailley, General Manager François Lange, Vineyard Manager Didier Melé