Domaine Alexandre Bonnet is a grower Champagne, producing fine Champagne and still wines in Les Riceys, Côtes des Bar, at the border with Burgundy. The 47ha vineyard are HVE3 certified, promoting biodiversity and terroir, are mainly planted with Pinot Noir (43 ha), on very steep slopes of Kimmeridgian Limestone. With yields lower by 20 to 40% than the rest of Champagne, it delivers grapes of higher quality and concentration. Winemaker Irvin Charpentier is defining the house style of minerality, power and purity of character. Each Contrée (plot) is vinified separately to make sure to bring forth the pure aromas and distinctiveness of each plot. Each cuvée is made with only the first press juice. In keeping with low-interventionist practices, the Domaine exclusively does Zero or Extra-Brut dosages, as they feel this produces the best expression of their terroir without hiding the wines behind sugar. In the same optic, they have cut their use of sulfites to a minimum, about 75% less than is currently used in Champagne, and will let malolactic fermentation happen.
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 single vineyard, single vintage and single vinification process of each grape, Champagne. They also produce 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.
Winemaker Alain Pailley, General Manager François Lange, Vineyard Manager Didier Melé