Vincent Cuillier – Champagne
Vincent Cuillier is a driven, idealistic young man typical of the new generation of grower-producers in Champagne today. He bottles 3 single vineyard Champagnes from the far north of the region and makes a delicious Reserve-style family cuvée which is packed with character and complexity. These are exciting, terroir-driven Champagnes with great potential for the future.
Vincent and his wife Emeline De Sloovère vinify their Champagnes in an old farmhouse dating back to the 12thcentury. His aim is to make site-specific Champagnes which express their unique terroirs as purely as possible. His vineyards are based on the sandy slopes of the Massif de St.Thierry, to the north of the Montagne de Reims. 60% of his vines are planted to Pinot Noir, 20% to Chardonnay and 20% to Pinot Meunier. He works his vineyards biodynamically and vinifies his wines as naturally as possible, with zero addition of SO2.
His single vineyard wines undergo first fermentation in oak barrels using natural, wild yeast. They then spend around one year on their lees in barrel to gain in complexity, before being put into bottle for 2.5 years for their second fermentation. Importantly he adds no “dosage” before bottling, so his wines are bone dry and extremely pure – this is for him the most honest way to express his individual vineyard sites.
He also vinifies a “Grande Reserve” house Champagne which is part of his family’s winemaking history. He has adapted the style of this Reserve to his specific ideals, but adds a small amount of sugar (3-4gs) in the final dosage so that this Champagne is dry, but not mouthwateringly so. Key to this Champagne’s character is the high proportion (40%) of 10 year old reserve wine which is added to the base vintage blend before its second fermentation in bottle. The result is a rich, biscuity, slightly oxidative style, closer in character to a Bollinger or Charles Heidsieck Champagne than a Louis Roederer style.