When I visited the Champagne region two weeks ago I encountered Champagnes from a producer that in one way is new, but which has a familiar (sur)name: Raphaël & Vincent Bérêche. It’s the name Bérêche that’s familiar, and it belongs to a producer which I count as part of the new generation of small growers. Their actual name spelt out fully is Champagne Bérêche et Fils, and it is a domaine that producers Champagnes from their own grapes. Raphaël & Vincent Bérêche (or R&V Bérêche for short) is the name of their new négociant business, where they produce Champagnes from purchased grapes. The have chosen to run this business under a slightly different name in order to not have to change the status of their entire business from grower to négociant.
It was stated that the purpose of Bérêche with this négociant business wasn’t to produce more of each wine, which is common when successful small growers supplement their production with grapes or base wine purchased from their neighbours. Instead, the wanted to supplement their range with Champagnes from other villages and vineyards than their own.
These Champagnes carried a pure and minimalistic label with a short name, were sold with a surprisingly high age for being newly introduced and produced by a small grower, and were all produced in a quite dry style. They were presented in a wine shop in Epernay where there’s usally a tasting of this kind every Saturday, and they definitely were to my taste. The production volume is quite low, so they probably won’t be too easy to find in most markets, but they’re definitely worth grabbing if you come across them.
Chardonnay from Avize (grand cru) and Grauves (premier cru). 62 months on the lees, dosage 2 g/l. Regular price in this shop was € 41.
Fresh nose, green apple, some citrus and mineral. Fresh and very dry on the palate with green apple (Granny Smith), citrus, good concentration with a purity of aromas, and good acidity. Young, fresh and produced in a good and modern small grower style. 88 p.
Nose with green and yellow apple, some peach, some smoke, possibly a hint of oak barrel notes. Palate with yellow and green apple, definitely a good concentration, high acidity, fine creamy character, mineral and a green-apply aftertaste. Definitely a Cramant character, rather young, 90(+) p.
Nose with apple a hints of cider, spice, and some mineral. Very dry palate with quite pronounced mineral note of a “mineral water character” and with a stoniness, green apple, high acidity, and aftertaste with mineral. Young, 90 p.
Trépail is the Montagne de Reims village that stands out since it is dominated by Chardonnay rather than by Pinot Noir as on most of the Montagne. When we commented that the style was somewhat similar to that of Léclapart – although not quite as dominated by cider or apple core – the dealer commented that he believed that the grapes very well could come from David Léclapart. Apparently he had previously sold smaller amount to a small Champagne house that had disappeared (I’m afraid I didn’t catch the name of that house, although it was mentioned), and his guess was that these grapes had then been purchased by Bérêche.
Nose with red and yellow apples, some spice, a hint of honey and some development. Palate with powerful concentration, yellow and red apple, hints of winter apples, some peach, high acidity, and an aftertaste with some green apples. Rather fully developed, 91 p.
Swedish version here.